Cambodia: UN Special Rapporteur calls for restoration of democracy and vibrant civil society


Cambodiaflag. GENEVA (11 December 2017) - As the world marked the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948, Cambodia should return to a path of multi-party democracy and ensure full freedom for civil society and journalists to operate, said Rhona Smith, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the country.

"I am particularly concerned about the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on 16 November, the banning of 118 CNRP members from political activity for five years and the reallocation of all the party's local and national seats to unelected members of the ruling and other parties," said the Special Rapporteur. Read more...

Values enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights under assault, must be defended – Zeid


TimorLestF “Human Rights Day falls on 10 December every year, the day when, back in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the world’s most widely translated* and possibly most influential document – was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, itself just three years old at the time.”

“Thanks to the Universal Declaration, the daily life of millions has been improved, untold human suffering has been prevented and the foundations for a more just world have been laid." Read more...

The inseparability of peace, security, development and human rights


TimorLestF GENEVA (8 December 2017) - On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its timing so close after the end of World War II was no coincidence. Rather, it reflected the conviction that human dignity is at the heart of our societies and that respect for human rights is essential to the prevention of conflict and the promotion of human development.

Sadly, the international community has often fallen short of its commitment to human rights. Several crises have shaken humanity in the last 70 years. Conflicts, poverty, corruption, inequality, violence, discrimination, exclusion and climate change continuously wreak havoc on individuals and societies throughout the world. Read more...

UN expert panel urges action from Timor Leste on torture and ill-treatment


TimorLestFGENEVA (5 December 2017) –The UN Committee against Torture makes detailed recommendations to Timor Leste on issues ranging from enforced disappearances and ill-treatment by the police, to gender-based violence against women and violence against the LGBTI community.

The Committee also follows up on gross human rights violations committed during the Indonesian occupation and post-referendum period (1975-1999). Learn more...

Myanmar: UN human rights chief calls for international criminal investigation of perpetrators of violence against Rohingya


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (5 December 2017) –The UN human rights chief on Tuesday condemned "widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal" attacks against the Rohingya, as well as decades of discrimination and persecution.

Zeid urged a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the current situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population in northern Rakhine State “to take the appropriate action to stop this madness now”. Read more...

Council concludes twenty-seventh special session on the human rights situation of the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar


MyanmarFlag.The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its special session on the human rights situation of the minority Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

In a resolution, the Council condemned the alleged systematic and gross violations of human rights and abuses committed against persons belonging to the Rohingya Muslim community and other minorities in Myanmar, and requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to track progress concerning the human rights situation of Rohingya people, and to provide oral updates to the Council as well as a comprehensive written report.Read more...

Council condemns alleged systematic and gross violations of human rights against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar


MyanmarFlag. The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted a resolution in which it strongly condemned the alleged systematic and gross violations of human rights and abuses committed in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine state.

In the resolution on the human rights situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population and other minorities in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, three against and nine abstentions, the Council called upon the Government of Myanmar to ensure the protection of the human rights of all persons in Myanmar, including persons belonging to the Rohingya Muslim community and other minorities. Read more... Read the resolution here

Human Rights Council opens special session on the situation of human rights of the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State in Myanmar


MyanmarFlag. 5 December 2017 - The Human Rights Council this morning opened its twenty-seventh special session on the human rights situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population and other minorities in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Opening statements were delivered by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Catalina Aguilar Devandas, Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of the Special Procedures, Marzuki Darusman, Chair of the Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict. Read more...

Thailand: UN Human Rights Office calls for the immediate release of all arrested during a coal plant protest


thaiflag. BANGKOK (29 November 2017) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia has called on the Government of Thailand to release and drop charges against all those arrested during a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a 2200 MW coal powered plant in Songkla province, in southern Thailand.

Read more... Read the Thai version

Myanmar: UN experts request exceptional report on situation of women and girls from northern Rakhine State


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (28 November 2017) – A group of UN experts tasked with monitoring a global treaty on discrimination against women has requested an exceptional report from the Government of Myanmar on the situation of Rohingya women and girls from northern Rakhine State.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) made the decision at a regular meeting in Geneva last week, setting a six-month deadline for the submission of the report to the UN Secretary General. Read more...

Viet Nam: Preliminary Observations of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food


VietnamFlag.UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Hilal Elver concludes her official visit to Viet Nam that she undertook at the invitation of the Vietnamese Government from 13 to 23 November 2017.

Read more...

UN experts urge Philippines to stop attacks and killings in anti-drugs campaign


Philippinesflag. GENEVA (23 November 2017) – United Nations human rights experts* have called on the Government of the Philippines to carry out prompt, impartial investigations into the high number of killings in the context of the anti-drugs campaign, to bring the perpetrators to justice, and thoroughly review its current policy in this regard, with a view to stopping further attacks taking place.

"A great number of new cases have been reported to us involving killings of men, women and children," the three Special Rapporteurs said in a joint statement. Read more...

Press briefing note on Attacks/threats against UN Special Rapporteur in the Philippines


Philippinesflag.GENEVA (21 November 2017) - The High Commissioner also deplores the repeated insults and threats of physical violence against the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, by the President of the Philippines and his supporters.

Last week Mr Duterte threatened to slap Ms Callamard if she investigates him for alleged extrajudicial killings. He made the same threat against her in June after she criticised his “war on drugs” campaign which has left thousands dead. Read more...

Lao must make child protection a core issue to combat sexual exploitation, UN expert urges


lao flag.GENEVA (20 November 2017) - Lao has made good progress on child protection but must do more to tackle a range of problems including child trafficking, forced marriage, prostitution, online sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation by travellers, a UN human rights expert has concluded after visiting the country.

"I am pleased to see that Lao has taken a number of positive steps, such as incorporating international standards into its laws and policies, cooperating with the UN, combating trafficking through a new law, signing agreements with Thailand and China... Read more...

UN human rights chief voices concern about Cambodia election after opposition ban


Cambodiaflag. GENEVA (17 November 2017) – The UN human rights chief voiced grave concerns Friday about the conduct of credible, free and fair elections in Cambodia next year following the decision by the Supreme Court to dissolve the main opposition party, which coincides with a clampdown on press freedoms and civil society across the country.

The court dissolved the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), the main opposition party, on Thursday after the Ministry of Interior complained that the opposition was plotting a so-called colour revolution against the Government.Read more...

UN Human Rights Office calls on the Government of Singapore to drop charges against performance artist and activist


singaporeflag. BANGKOK (20 October 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia calls on the Government of Singapore to drop the charges against performance artist and activist Mr. Seelan Palay, a Singaporean national, in relation to a peaceful performance that he staged in front of the Parliament House in Singapore on 1 October.

The performance piece was entitled '32 Years: The Interrogation of a Mirror' and was held in relation to the imprisonment and house arrest of former Parliament member Mr. Chia Thye Poh from 1966 to 1998.Read more...

Press Briefing on LGBT in Indonesia


Indonesiaflag. GENEVA (13 October 2017) –In Indonesia, more than 50 people were arrested at a sauna in Jakarta last Friday, based on their perceived sexual orientation. While many have since been released, four men and one woman were charged under Indonesia’s vague “Law on Pornography”, which has been used to arrest people for consensual same-sex relations.

Read more...

Cambodian democracy under threat from moves against opposition, UN expert warns


Cambodiaflag. GENEVA (12 October 2017) – Civil and political rights in Cambodia are deteriorating rapidly, with deeply worrying implications for forthcoming elections and the future of democracy in the country, a United Nations human rights expert has said.

The stark warning from the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia comes after the Ministry of Interior began legal proceedings to dissolve the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), whose leader is in custody, and amid possible moves to strip the party of its existing seats in parliament.Read more...

Brutal attacks on Rohingya meant to make their return almost impossible – UN human rights report


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (11 October 2017) – Brutal attacks against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State have been well-organised, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar but preventing them from returning to their homes, a new UN report based on interviews conducted in Bangladesh has found.

The report by a team from the UN Human Rights Office, who met with the newly arrived Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar from 14 to 24 September 2017, states that human rights violations committed against the Rohingya population were carried out by Myanmar security forces often in concert with armed Rakhine Buddhist individuals.Read more...

Myanmar Rohingya abuses may be crimes against humanity, UN rights experts warn


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (4 October 2017) – The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately stop violence in northern Rakhine State, and to promptly and effectively investigate and vigorously prosecute cases of violence against women and children.

"We are particularly worried about the fate of Rohingya women and children subject to serious violations of their human rights, including killings, rape and forced displacement,” the experts said in a joint statement issued today." Read more...

Human Rights Council adopts texts on Myanmar and on reprisals against persons cooperating with the UN


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (29 September 2017) - The Human Rights Council in its midday meeting adopted a resolution in which it extended the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar.

It also adopted a text on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. Read more...

Cambodian democracy under threat from moves against opposition, UN expert warns


Cambodiaflag.GENEVA (26 September 2017) – The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, has called on the authorities to do more to protect human rights in the country.

In a report to the Human Rights Council she said: “Many of the rights enshrined in the Constitution are not adequately protected, and recommendations made by treaty bodies are still pending, with some reports to the treaty bodies long overdue.”Read more...

Myanmar: UN experts condemn ongoing persecution of Rohingya in Rakhine State


MyanmarFlag.GGENEVA (26 September 2017) – Seven UN experts* have joined together to call on the Government of Myanmar to stop all violence against the minority Muslim Rohingya community and halt the ongoing persecution and serious human rights violations which the High Commissioner for Human Rights has described as an apparent textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

The call comes a month after attacks in Rakhine State against 30 police outposts and the regimental headquarters in Taungala village, and subsequent indiscriminate counter-terror operations. Read more...

UN expert urges Malaysia to protect its tradition of tolerance from the rise of fundamentalism


MalaysiaFlag.GENEVA (25 September 2017) – A United Nations human rights expert says Malaysia has much to lose if the authorities do not take seriously warning signs that the country’s culture of tolerance is under threat.

Read more...

UN Human Rights Office welcomes payout to migrant workers in Thailand, says criminal charges should be dropped


thaiflag. BANGKOK (15 Sept 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia on Friday welcomed a court's decision to award 1.7 million Thai baht to 14 Myanmar migrant workers subjected to rights abuses, and called on Thailand authorities to immediately drop criminal charges filed against them.

Read more... Read the Thai version

UN Human Rights chief seriously concerned by arrest of Cambodian opposition leader


Cambodiaflag.GENEVA (4 September 2017) – The UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein is seriously concerned at the arrest of Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha, which appears to have been carried out with no respect for due process guarantees, including respect for his parliamentary immunity.

Read more...

Cambodia: UN Human Rights Office concerned by media clampdown


Cambodiaflag. GENEVA - (25 August 2017) The UN Human Rights Office is concerned by a rapid series of ministerial and administrative measures which have resulted in the suspension of radio programmes and licences, threatened a main English-language newspaper with closure, and shut down a foreign non-governmental organisation. Ahead of next year’s general election, we call on the Government to guarantee full political and civil rights, and media freedoms.

Read more...

Cambodia: UN expert launches new mission with focus on children’s rights


Cambodiaflag. GENEVA / PHNOM PENH (2 August 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, will carry out her fourth official visit to the country from 8 to 18 August 2017, to examine the rights of children and the general human rights situation.

“I will be focusing my mission on children’s rights as part of my ongoing work on discrimination and marginalized groups,” she noted. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office urges Thailand to drop cases against women human rights defenders


thaiflag. BANGKOK (1 August 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia urges the Thai Government to allow women human rights defenders to conduct their work without fear, and to drop cases against the activists helping to protect community rights.

On 27 July, Suphap Kamlae, the wife of prominent land rights defender Den Kamlae who has been disappeared since April 2016, was found guilty of forest encroachment in relation to a legal dispute between her community in Chaiyaphum Province and the Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary. Read more...

Philippines needs urgent action to reverse spiralling rights violations, UN experts say


Philippinesflag. GENEVA (31 July 2017) – The Government of the Philippines must urgently address growing reports of human rights violations, including murder, threats against indigenous peoples and the summary execution of children, a group of United Nations experts has said.

"Attacks are spiralling against many groups in society and we are making an urgent appeal for Government action," the experts said in a joint call for action. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office concerned by crackdown on activists in Viet Nam


VietnamFlag.GENEVA (28 July 2017) – UN Human Rights Office is concerned about the intensifying crackdown against human rights defenders in Vietnam who have questioned or criticised the Government and its policies.

On Tuesday, a well-known activist, Tran Thi Nga, was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment and five years’ house arrest for so-called “anti-State propaganda” over comments posted online. We have serious concerns about the severity of the sentence and the conduct of the trial, which does not appear to have met due process standards. Read more...

Myanmar: UN expert lists catalogue of concerns as human rights slide in worsening conflict


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (24 July 2017) – A United Nations Special Rapporteur has issued a strongly worded statement accusing the Government of Myanmar of policies reminiscent of the previous military government, and of presiding over a worsening security and human rights situation.

Yanghee Lee, ending a 12-day visit to the country, listed a catalogue of concerns including reports of killings, torture, the use of human shields by security forces, deaths in custody and an ongoing humanitarian crisis for the Rohingya people and other minorities forced from their homes. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office calls on Singapore to halt execution for drugs charges


singaporeflag.BANGKOK (12 July 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia calls on the Singaporean Government to halt the imminent execution of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan for a drugs related offence, and urges the Government to immediately instate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

On 6 July 2017, Mr. Srivijayan and his family were informed that he would be executed on 14 July 2017. His appeal for
clemency to the President of Singapore was declined on 7 July. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office concerned by the harsh sentencing of three activists in Lao PDR


lao flag. BANGKOK (23 June 2017) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) is alarmed by the harsh sentencing of three activists in Lao PDR and calls for their release.

Based on an official document recently obtained, Mr. Somphone Phimmasone, Mr. Soukan Chaithad, and Ms. Lodkham Thammavong were convicted in late March 2017 to 20, 16, and 12 years imprisonment under the Penal Code. Read more...

Press Briefing on Lèse Majesté in Thailand


thaiflag.GENEVA (13 June 2017) – We are very concerned by the rise in the number of lèse majesté prosecutions in Thailand since 2014 and the severity of the sentencing, including a 35-year jail term handed down last Friday against one individual.

A Thai military court found Wichai Thepwong guilty of posting 10 photos, videos and comments on Facebook deemed defamatory of the royal family. Read more...

Read the Thai version

UN Human Rights Office welcomes orderly communal vote in Cambodia, calls for re-opening civil society space


Cambodiaflag.BANGKOK (7 June 2017) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia welcomed the orderly conduct of voting in the communal elections held across Cambodia on 4 June, and expressed hope that the smooth and peaceful poll bodes well for the democratic process ahead of next year’s general election.

“We are pleased to have witnessed that the violence, military intervention, and arrests that were threatened prior to the elections did not take place and that the people of Cambodia expressed general satisfaction with the process,” said Katia Chirizzi, the deputy regional representative of the South-East Asia Office in Bangkok. Read more...

Press Briefing on LGBTI in Indonesia


Indonesiaflag.GENEVA (22 May 2017) – The UN Human Rights Office is concerned by the recent persecution, arbitrary arrest, detention and ill-treatment of men perceived to be gay in Indonesia.

In the past two months, more than 150 men were reportedly arrested in Aceh, Surabaya and Jakarta on the basis of alleged consensual relations between adults of the same sex. While many of them were reportedly released shortly after, some have been charged under a pornography law. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office urges Malaysian Government to investigate disappearance cases of religious community workers


MalaysiaFlag.BANGKOK (23 May 2017) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia expresses serious concern regarding the recent disappearances of community workers Amri Che Mat and Raymond Keng Joo Koh, and urges Malaysian authorities to urgently investigate the abductions of the two men associated with religious minority groups.

Mr. Che Mat, founder of the NGO Perlis Hope which provides assistance to the underprivileged, disappeared on 24 November 2016, and Mr. Koh, founder of Harapan Komuniti (Hope Community) that undertakes social and charity work among marginalized and underprivileged communities, disappeared on 13 February 2017. According to sources, both men were driving alone when they were forced to stop by a convoy of vehicles and swiftly taken away. Neither of the two men have been seen since. Read more...

Blasphemy law has no place in a tolerant nation like Indonesia – UN rights experts


Indonesiaflag.GENEVA (22 May 2017) – A group of United Nations human rights experts today urged the Government of Indonesia to review and repeal its criminalization of blasphemy. Their call comes after the recent blasphemy conviction and imprisonment of Indonesian politician and former governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (‘Ahok’).

“Criminal laws that penalize blasphemy represent an unlawful restriction on freedom of expression, and disproportionately target persons belonging to religious minorities or traditional religions, non-believers and political dissidents,” said the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, and on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye; and the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas. Read more...

Special Rapporteur rejects misinformation about her current academic visit to Philippines


Philippinesflag.GENEVA (5 May 2017) – The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has released the following statement clarifying reports in the Filipino media and rejecting misinformation about her current visit to Philippines to attend an academic conference:

“I am presently visiting Philippines to participate in an academic conference on drug related issues. It is normal routine for Special Rapporteurs to visit countries to attend different conferences or events, but such activities are not official country visits. Read more...

The UN Human Rights Office concerned by arrests of three Turkish nationals in Malaysia on security related charges


MalaysiaFlag.BANGKOK (5 May 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia on Friday expressed serious concern about the arrests in Malaysia of three Turkish nationals on security related charges, and urges the Malaysian Government to refrain from deporting them to Turkey.

"There are concerns that these men may have been targeted over their suspected links to the Gülen movement which is accused of being behind a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016," said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office in Bangkok. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office calls on Thailand to end arbitrary arrests and detentions of political activists


Thaiflag.BANGKOK (4 May 2017) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Thai Government to halt the practice of arbitrary detention of political activists, and to immediately release six people recently charged with criticising authorities.

On 29 April 2017, two political activists - Mr. Danai Tibsuya, a former military officer from Chiang Mai, and Mr. Prawet Prapanukul, a Bangkok-based lawyer - were arrested and detained by the military under the lese-majeste law for criticising the King on Facebook. Read more...

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The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee's review of Thailand's human rights record under the ICCPR are now available


Thaiflag.BANGKOK (28 March 2017) - The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee review of Thailand's human rights record under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Geneva earlier this month are now available online.

During the review, the Committee raised concerns about a number of issues including the military's growing role in government affairs, curbs on freedom of expression, detentions under the lese-majeste law and harassment of human rights defenders. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office condemns secretive executions of two brothers in Malaysia


Malayflag.BANGKOK (15 March 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia condemns the executions of Malaysian brothers, Suthar Batumalai and B. Rames Batumalai, expressing concerns that the judicial procedures in their case did not fulfil the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process.

The two brothers, who were convicted of murder in 2010, were hanged on Wednesday, despite the submission of a clemency petition last month containing new evidence in the case. The men were granted a temporary stay of execution as a result of the petition. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office hails decision by Thailand to drop cases against three leading human rights defenders


Thaiflag.BANGKOK (7 March 2017) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia welcomes the decision by the Thai military to withdraw all charges against three prominent human rights defenders who documented allegations of torture.

The Director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Anchana Heemmina, founder of the Duay Jai Group, and Somchai Homla-or, a well known senior human rights lawyer, were facing criminal charges over publication of a 2016 report that recounted allegations of torture by security forces in the southern border provinces. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office disappointed by Thailand’s decision not to enact a draft anti-torture and anti-disappearance law


Thaiflag.GENEVA (28 February) – The UN Human Rights Office is disappointed by Thailand’s decision not to enact a draft anti-torture and anti-disappearance law, and we call on the Government to promptly reintroduce legislation to criminalise such deplorable acts.

Despite the Government’s decision last May to enact the bill, we were informed last week that the National Legislative Assembly - the military-appointed parliament - has shelved the legislation which would have made enforced or involuntary disappearance and torture criminal offences. Read more...

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UN expert urges action to protect Rohingya population in Myanmar


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (27 February) – The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar is calling for urgent action by the Government there to end the suffering of the Rohingya population in the country.

Speaking at the end of a four-day visit to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar Yanghee Lee said: “the magnitude of violence that these families have witnessed and experienced is far more extensive than I had originally speculated.” Read more...

UN Human Rights Office concerned by Malaysia conviction over film screening


MalaysiaFlag.BANGKOK (22 February 2017) - We are concerned by a Malaysian court’s conviction of human rights activist Lena Hendry over a private screening of a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war, and the chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.

“Lena Hendry’s conviction for showing a film is a clear violation of her right to freedom of expression and assembly, and we urge the authorities to re-examine the case in line with international human rights law,” said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of OHCHR’s South-East Asia regional office. Read more...

UN rights expert concerned by the continued use of lèse-majesté prosecutions in Thailand


Thaiflag.GENEVA (7 February 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today called on the Thai authorities to stop using lèse-majesté provisions as a political tool to stifle critical speech. In Thailand, defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family carries a penalty of three to fifteen years’ imprisonment.

“Public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority, may be subject to criticism, and the fact that some forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify restrictions or penalties,” the expert underlined. Read more...

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Devastating cruelty against Rohingya children, women and men detailed in UN human rights report on Myanmar


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (3 February 2017) – Mass gang-rape, killings – including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces in a sealed-off area north of Maungdaw in northern Rakhine State have been detailed in a new UN report issued Friday based on interviews with victims across the border in Bangladesh.

Of the 204 people individually interviewed by a team of UN human rights investigators, the vast majority reported witnessing killings, and almost half reported having a family member who was killed as well as family members who were missing. Of the 101 women interviewed, more than half reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence. Read more...

Myanmar: UN rights expert condemns senseless killing of respected Muslim Lawyer Ko Ni


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (30 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, today strongly condemned the brutal murder of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and constitutional law expert, who was also the legal adviser to the National League for Democracy (NLD). Ms. Lee called on the Government to openly condemn this act and to carry out a proper effective impartial investigation into the killing.

Mr. Ko Ni was shot and killed outside Yangon Airport on Sunday after returning from Indonesia where he had been part of a Government-led delegation attending an interfaith study tour. A suspect has been arrested. Read more...

Cambodia: UN experts call for the immediate release of five human rights defenders


Cambodiaflag.GENEVA (25 January 2017) – Two United Nations human rights experts today called on the Royal Government of Cambodia for the immediate release of five human rights defenders detained in May 2016 on charges relating to assistance lent to a woman who was allegedly pressured by the AntiCorruption Unit to lie about a false allegation. The charges were seen as politically motivated, and in November 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled their detention to be ‘arbitrary’.

“The use of criminal provisions as a pretext to suppress and prevent the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and to silence human rights defenders is incompatible with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR), which has been signed by Cambodia,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith. Read more...

UN human rights expert concerned about reprisals during recent visit to Myanmar


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (24 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, today warned about possible reprisals against people she met during her recent official visit to the country (9 to 21 January). “There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit – reprisals,” the expert said.

“I am deeply concerned about those with whom I met and spoke, those critical of the Government, those defending and advocating for the rights of others, and those who expressed their thoughts and opinions which did not conform to the narrative of those in the position of power,” she said, while noting the increasing use of section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law against many, “merely for speaking their minds.” Read more...

UN rights expert launches new official visit to assess recent developments in the country


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (6 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will undertake her fifth information-gathering visit to the country from 9 to 20 January.

Ms. Lee plans to visit Kachin State (Myitkyina, Hpakant and Laiza) as well as Rakhine State (Sittwe, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw), in addition to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon in order to assess recent developments. Read more...

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