OHCHR calls for Thailand to stop civilian detentions in military barracks

Thaimap.BANGKOK (24 November 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) calls for the immediate closure of a Bangkok military detention facility where two inmates died over the past month, and urges the Thai Government to include independent experts to join an investigation into the cases.

OHCHR also calls on the Government to stop using military facilities to hold civilian detainees. The UNHuman Rights Office has asked the Thai Government to conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial inquiry into the two deaths in custody. Matilda Bogner, OHCHR’s regional representative, said an independent and impartial investigation would clarify the circumstances of the deaths, ensure accountability and help prevent further similar incidents. She added, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand should help with any investigation. Bogner also stressed that the results of the inquiry should be made public. Read more...

Thai version

Political crackdown in Cambodia reaching dangerous tipping point - UN rights expert

RhonaSmith.GENEVA (23 November 2015) –The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, today expressed her deep concern about the breakdown in the political dialogue between Cambodia’s main political parties given its implications for human rights of the Cambodian people.

“The past weeks have been marked by a number of worrying developments: increasing tensions between the two principal political parties; incidences of violence; intimidation of individuals; and resort to offensive language in the political discourse,” the expert said. Her statement comes in the wake of the latest report that Mr. Sam Rainsy, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP, the minority party in Parliament), has been summoned to appear in court on 4 December 2015.Read more

PHOTO: Rhona Smith. File photo: EPA

OHCHR deeply concerned about deportation of 2 Chinese activists by Thai authorities

OHCHRlogo.GENEVA (20 November 2015) – The UN Human Rights Office is deeply concerned about the deportation of two Chinese activists – both of whom are recognised refugees – by the Thai authorities, and the risks associated with their being sent back to China, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday.

"We have expressed our concern to the Government of Thailand about their deportation, which comes just over four months after we voiced concern over the Government’s deportation of 109 ethnic Uighurs to China," Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva. The principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of a refugee to a country where he or she is likely to face persecution or torture, is contained in Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which Thailand is a party. Read more

OHCHR alarmed at reports 9 North Korean nationals arrested in Viet Nam

GENEVA (20 November 2015) – The UN Human Rights Office is alarmed at reports that nine North Korean nationals, including a one-year-old infant and a teenager, were arrested in Viet Nam last month and subsequently transferred to China, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday.

"There are fears that they may be – or may already have been – repatriated to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) where they would be at risk of very serious human rights violations," Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva. Read more

Committee against Torture considers report of China

Chinaflag.GENEVA (18 November 2015) – The Committee against Torture concluded this afternoon its consideration of the fifth periodic report of China, including Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Presenting the report, Wu Hailong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, stated that China had incorporated “respect for and protection of human rights” in its Criminal Procedure Law. Mr. Wu, in concluding remarks, stated that Experts’ recommendations would be taken into consideration with China’s specific context in mind. China was looking forward to an objective and impartial evaluation of its implementation of the Convention. Read more

Secretary-General concerned by increasing political tensions in Cambodia

NEW YORK (17 November 2015) - The Secretary-General is following with concern the increasing tensions between the ruling party and the opposition in Cambodia.

SamRainsy.The arrest warrant issued against opposition leader Sam Rainsy on 13 November and earlier incidents against opposition parliamentarians and leaders are worrisome developments.
Read more

PHOTO: Sam Rainsy. File photo: EPA

“No turning back in Myanmar,” says UN human rights expert

MyanmarElection.GENEVA (16 November 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee today welcomed the recent elections in Myanmar as “a new chapter in the country’s history” and reaffirmed her commitment to work with all parties to improve the human rights situation for all in Myanmar. “The people have expressed the will for change. There is no turning back now,” Ms. Lee stressed.

“In the new post-election environment, respect for human rights and democratic space must be ensured to protect and support those wishing to work with the new government in furthering democratic transition, national reconciliation and sustainable development and peace in Myanmar,” said the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reporting and advising on the situation of human rights in the country. Read more

PHOTO: Supporters of National League for Democracy (NLD) party celebrate in front of the NLD headquarters a day after general elections in Yangon.

Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Timor-Leste

GENEVA (11 November 2015) - The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today considered the combined second and third periodic report of Timor-Leste on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

TimorLeste.Introducing the report, Veneranda Lemos, Secretary of State for the Support and Socio-Economic Promotion of Women of Timor-Leste, said that despite the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in April 2003, Timorese women still faced numerous challenges due to the violent historical background and the tumultuous past marked by war. Read more

PHOTO: Local women and children at a community centre newly inaugurated by UN Women in the village of Tapo, Timor-Leste. September 2012. File photo: UN

People and leaders of Myanmar can build better future, says Ban

Myanmarvoters.NEW YORK (12 November 2015) – Welcoming this past weekend’s elections as “a significant achievement in Myanmar’s democratic transition,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today extended warm congratulations to the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for their landmark performance at the polls and to the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) for its dignified acceptance of the verdict of the people.

A statement from the Secretary-General added: “While saying this, he is regretfully aware that a large number of voters from minority communities, in particular the Rohingya, were denied the right to vote and some were disqualified as candidates.” Read more

Myanmarvoters2.PHOTOS: Voters patiently queuing to cast their ballot at a Polling Station in Sanchaung Township, Yangon Region (left); A voter’s indelible ink-marking on his/her little-finger after casting their ballot. Photos: OHCHR

UN chief: I will never stop calling for end to death penalty

Deathpenalty. NEW YORK (5 November 2015) – Vowing to never stop calling for an end to the death penalty, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said studies have proven that those who are poor, mentally disabled, and/or are minorities are at higher risk of receiving the death sentence, regardless of guilt or innocence.

“That is simply wrong,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks at the launch of a book, Moving Away from the Death Penalty: Arguments, Trends and Perspectives, by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the UN Bookstore in New York. Read more

PHOTO: Kirk Bloodsworth (right), the first person to be sentenced to death and then subsequently exonerated, speaking during the launch of the book, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looks on.

Universal Periodic Review: Myanmar's human rights record

The twenty-third session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 2 to 13 November during which the next group of 14 States are scheduled to have their human rights records examined under this mechanism.

Myanmarflag.GENEVA (6 November 2015) - In total 98 States participated in the dialogue on Myanmar: 34 HRC members and 64 observers. Myanmar was represented by 20-member delegation headed by Tun Shin, Attorney General of Myanmar. Read more
(Disclaimer: The brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed.)

UN Special Advisers' Statement on Myanmar

AdamaDieng.Statement by Adama Dieng, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, on the upcoming elections in Myanmar.

NEW YORK (4 November 2015) - The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, called on the Government of Myanmar to take all possible measures to ensure that the upcoming elections of 8 November are held in a peaceful environment. The Special Advisers expressed concern at the politicization of ethnicity and religion during electoral campaigning in violation of Article 364 of the 2008 Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Read more.

Myanmar’s human rights record to be reviewed by Universal Periodic Review

IDPcamp.GENEVA (3 November 2015) – Myanmar’s human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the second time on Friday 6 November 2015 in a meeting that will be webcast live.

Myanmar is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 2 to 13 November. Myanmar’s first review took place on 27 January 2011. Read more... Burmese version

UN chief concerned by hate speech ahead of Myanmar elections

NEW YORK (1 November 2015) – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern at the continuous resort to hate speech, provocation of communal hostilities and the abuse of religion for political purposes, incited by “extreme element among the majority community in Myanmar”. Read more.

Press Briefing: Worsening climate for opposition politicians in Cambodia

GENEVA (30 October 2015) - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes the worsening conditions for opposition politicians and activists in Cambodia in light of the recent physical attacks on opposition MPs that left them in the hospital. OHCHR stresses that "the right to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression belongs to all individuals, regardless of their political or other opinion. Read more.

Human rights must be at heart of election in Myanmar - UN expert

PhotoofYangheeLee.NEW YORK/GENEVA (29 October 2015) – UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, called on all those in positions of authority in Myanmar to ensure that respect for the human rights of all must be at the core of the historic elections due to take place in 10 days’ time.

“This is a watershed moment in the democratic transition of Myanmar and I urge everyone involved to ensure that respect for human rights is front and centre in the run up to the elections, during the elections and following the elections,” Ms. Lee said. “It is vital that the elections are conducted in an environment that encourages participation from all sectors of society. In the same vein, it is crucial that divisions and tensions are not manipulated for political purposes.” Read more...

OHCHR concerned by criminalization of transgender women in Malaysia

BANGKOK (9 October 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) notes with regret this week's decision by the Malaysian Federal Court to reinstate Section 66 of the Negeri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment (1992) that criminalizes transgender women on the basis of their appearances, and subjects transgender women to fines and up to six months imprisonment. Read more...

» More news from South-East Asia...