In the 41st episode of Human Rights Asia Weekly Roundup, AHRC TV brings news of the acquittal of Irom Sharmila. Also known as “the Iron Lady of Manipur”, Irom Sharmila, has been on hunger strike for 14 years in protest against the 50-year-old Armed Forces Special Powers Act in northeast India. The law gives security forces sweeping powers to shoot to kill with impunity. Sharmila has been imprisoned and force-fed during her 14 year long fast, accused of the crime of attempting suicide. However, in the verdict this week, a Sessions Court judge determined that Sharmila’s protest is a legitimate and peaceful political protest.
The remainder of the programme is a special report about the vulnerability of children in Asia, due to dysfunctional government institutions and shoddy law enforcement.
AHRC TV catches up with Hasina Kharbhih, in the Indian state of Meghalaya, who describes how trafficking of children is often done in collusion with local police.
Next, Catherine Scerri from Bahay Tuluyan talks to AHRC TV about what goes on within state institutions in the Philippines meant to protect children. According to her, what are supposed to safe havens for street children are de facto lock-ups, where severe mistreatment and torture takes place.
In Burma, police have failed to arrest the employers who tortured a teenage domestic worker. It has been five months since the girl’s mother lodged a complaint; the police are yet to act.
And, the young Pakistani boy, who lost both arms when a landlord forced them into a harvesting machine, is still awaiting justice. The family of the boy are poor and not able to purchase justice, the norm in Pakistan’s dysfunctional and corrupt justice system.
Finally, AHRC TV interviews Basil Fernando, Director of Policy and Programmes, Asian Human Rights Commission. Mr. Fernando speaks about how many Asian governments consistently fail to protect their children due to problems in, or lack of, the rule of law.
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