This week Just Asia begins with Nepal, where police fired five rounds of tear gas and baton-charged protesters in Kachanpur district. Two protesters were injured, while another two were arrested. The protests were against the arrest of Dilip Singh Bista on the rape and murder charge of 13-year-old Nirmala Pant. Kanchanpur residents claim that Dilip Singh is mentally disturbed and cannot be the murderer. They are demanding that the police catch the real culprit.
Next, India’s state of Kerala is experiencing one of the worst floods since 1924. Between June 1 to August 18, Kerala received 42% excess rainfall, with the hilly region of Idukki receiving 83% excess rainfall. This has caused unprecedented flooding, with the death toll nearing 400.
The Kerala government is spearheading relief efforts, with considerable effort by people across India to send supplies and money for the victims.
In Vietnam, a court sentenced a dissident writer and activist to 20 years in prison, on vague charges of trying to overthrow the government. Le Dinh Luong, a veteran of Vietnam’s 1979 border war with China, was arrested July 24 and accused of calling for a boycott of parliamentary elections in 2016 and of being a member of the U.S.-based Vietnamese opposition party Viet Tan, regarded by Vietnam as a terrorist organization. Amnesty International called for Luong’s immediate and unconditional release.
Kofi Annan, the first African to head the United Nations, passed away on Saturday, after a short illness. His wife and three children were by his side at the time, at a hospital in Bern, Switzerland. His home country of Ghana has declared a week of mourning. Annan served two terms as UN secretary general, from 1997 to 2006, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.
Moving to Indonesia, the Association of Victims and Family of Victims of Talangsari massacre jointly organized a workshop in Lampung province together with the Asian Human Rights Commission. The workshop discussed President Widodo’s administration’s unwillingness to resolve past human rights abuses, including the Talangsari massacre.
Nearly 250 persons were killed or disappeared in the Talangsari massacre, when the military attacked a village in Talangsari, Lampung in 1989.
Lastly, China has insisted there is no “arbitrary detention” and no “re-education centres” for its Uighur minority in western Xinjiang. Beijing was responding to concerns raised by a UN human rights committee last week, that more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs may be held in camps. While the Chinese delegate said this was ‘completey untrue’, he also said, “those who are deceived by religious extremism … shall be assisted through resettlement and education”.
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