Asia

    Opinion: Nepal’s victims want real results from transitional justice
    15.02.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The one-year extensions of Nepal’s two transitional justice mechanisms without necessary legal and institutional reforms ordered by the Supreme Court and the United Nations are insufficient to comply with international standards, international human rights groups said this week. Conflict victims have welcomed the extensions, but remain dissatisfied with the commissions. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists also said that “despite flaws in the law, and questions of legitimacy and capacity, victims and their families have given the benefit of...

    Read more
    ICC probing alleged crimes in Philippines, Venezuela
    08.02.18
    AFP

    The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on Thursday unveiled new probes focusing on the deadly war on drugs in the Philippines and alleged abuses during Venezuela's political unrest. The unprecedented decision to launch two inquiries at once comes after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was petitioned by opposition leaders from the two countries, accusing their hardline governments of crimes against humanity. Bensouda said after "a careful, independent and impartial review... I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation." Both countries have signed the...

    Read more
    Afghanistan: NGO urges ICC not to forget Guantanamo crimes
    05.02.18
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    A human rights NGO has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to extend its likely investigations on Afghanistan to crimes committed at Guantanamo. On November 20, 2017, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court’s  judges for authorisation to open an investigation into crimes committed by US forces and the CIA in Afghanistan and Europe, as well as by the Taliban and the Afghan regime. The victims had until January 31, 2018 to support or reject this request. Their opinions should allow the judges to decide whether or not it is in victims’ interest to open an...

    Read more
    Myanmar: A mass grave, an unprecedented admission and a few unanswered questions
    29.01.18
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    The unprecedented admission by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar national army) that security forces were involved in unlawfully killing Muslims in Rakhine State may have implications for plans to repatriate verified refugees from Bangladesh. The True News Information Team at the Ministry of Defence said on January 10 that action would be taken against members of the security forces and civilians over the summary execution in Rakhine State of 10 men it described as “Muslim terrorists”. The announcement followed an investigation launched by the Tatmadaw on December 20, two days after it revealed the...

    Read more
     
    I visited the Rohingya refugee camps and here is what Bangladesh is doing right
    25.01.18
    The Conversation

    Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh from Myanmar since September 2017. The Bangladeshi government’s plan to start repatriating them beginning this Tuesday, Jan. 22, has been postponed due to concerns about their safety. That the Bangladesh government agreed to the delay, speaks to its benevolent attitude toward the Rohingya refugees. In a recent trip to Bangladesh I witnessed this benevolence firsthand. I saw roads adorned with pro-refugee banners. Even those with opposing political views have come together to support the Rohingyas. The Bangladesh case stands in...

    Read more
    Kabul Hotel Attack a "War Crime", says HRW
    23.01.18
    Human Rights Watch

    This weekend’s attack on the Intercontinental Hotel was just the latest in a long string of incidents targeting civilians in Afghanistan. Those who ordered or carried out this serious violation of the laws of war are responsible for war crimes. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the hours-long attack on the hotel, during which gunmen killed at least seven Afghans and 11 foreign nationals, most of them shot dead in their rooms or the hotel dining room. The attackers, who reportedly entered through the kitchen, worked their way through the hotel floors, blowing open guests’ rooms...

    Read more
    This is not Myanmar’s path to peace
    18.01.18
    Frontier

    Myanmar's government runs the risk of ceding so much control to the Tatmadaw (national army) that it simply becomes irrelevant to the peace process. The next 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference is supposed to be just a few weeks away, but you wouldn’t know it from the Tatmadaw’s recent behaviour. Extrajudicial killings, disruption of peace meetings, fresh offensives: if you are trying to get people around a table, it’s a strange way to go about it. In recent weeks, we’ve had the deaths of four Karenni Army soldiers in military custody and the shootout at a Tatmadaw base that left...

    Read more
    Nepal's TJ commissions need political will, not just more time
    15.01.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On January 5, 2018, Nepal’s cabinet decided to extend the tenure of the country’s two transitional justice (TJ) bodies for another year. But this was done without consulting primary stakeholders and without evaluating the work of the commissions over the last three years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) were set up in February 2015 with an initial two- year mandate and a one-year extension to complete the assigned tasks. However, in three years both commissions failed to deliver satisfactory results. They...

    Read more
     
    For Muslims across Myanmar, citizenship rights a legal fiction
    11.01.18
    THOMAS MANCH | FRONTIER

    In Myanmar, members of the Muslim community are facing long delays in citizenship applications unless they acquiesce to officials’ suggestions that they be labelled “Bengali”. Ma Hnin Hlaing, a bright, young Bamar Muslim, cannot become a Myanmar citizen unless she agrees to be called “Bengali”. She finds the label offensive, but without citizenship she cannot complete the business law degree she began in 2014. If she cannot graduate she cannot become a lawyer, her chosen profession. Immigration officials insist she cannot be both Bamar and Muslim and must register as Bengali. She...

    Read more
    Nepal: Publish Commission Report on Terai Violence, says HRW
    21.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

     Authorities in Nepal should immediately make public the December 14, 2017 report of a special commission on the Terai violence in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. The High-Level Inquiry Commission was established in 2016 to investigate alleged excessive and indiscriminate use of force during violent protests that left at least 45 people dead, including nine police officers. While the commission officially handed its report to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the government has not indicated next steps based on the report’s findings and its recommendations. The victims of the...

    Read more
    Reuters journalists arrests a damning reflection on the state of Myanmar's democratic transition
    20.12.17
    Frontier

    These are dark days for journalism in Myanmar. LET’S BE CLEAR: The detention of Reuters journalists Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo is a brazen attack on the media and the principles of democracy. This is not about national security. This is about protecting the interests of the Tatmadaw and silencing those who do not blindly repeat the official line. However, this line – that security forces have not been involved in abuses in northern Rakhine – has already been widely discredited: by satellite imagery, by accounts of refugees, by physical evidence of abuses and even by journalists who...

    Read more
    In Myanmar, possibly 'genocide', says UN rights chief
    18.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief told AFP Monday that Myanmar clearly "planned" violent attacks on its Rohingya minority, causing a mass-exodus, and warned the crackdown could possibly amount to "genocide". "For us, it was clear... that these operations were organised and planned," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in an interview. "You couldn't exclude the possibility of acts of genocide... You cannot rule it out as having taken place or taking place." Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of a Myanmar army...

    Read more
     
    In Myanmar, women targeted by human trafficking in Kachin
    11.12.17
    SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

    Women’s groups in Myanmar's Kachin State say understaffed police with inadequate resources are hampering investigations into human trafficking and contributing to a crime wave in Myitkyina, in which women are often the targets. Since the conflict between the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) and Kachin Independence Army resumed in 2011, bringing to an end a 17-year ceasefire, almost 100,000 people have been displaced.  The majority of those displaced live in camps close to Myitkyina, the state capital, and neighbouring Waingmaw. Women and children comprise more than half of the IDPs, and human...

    Read more
    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    07.12.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s political elites hail the country’s transition from civil war as a success. But commissions for Truth and Reconciliation and on Enforced Disappeared Persons are not independent, and have not so far done their job. Many cases of civil war abuses filed before both national courts and UN bodies have not been adequately followed up, and victims are still waiting for justice.  On this Human Rights Day (December 10), let us call on all political actors in Nepal to respect victims’ right to truth, access to justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition for a peaceful future.The...

    Read more
    Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief
    05.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief called Tuesday for a fresh international investigation into Myanmar's abuses against its Rohingya Muslim minority, warning of possible "elements of genocide". Speaking before a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the abuses against the Rohingya, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned "widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal" attacks against the Rohingya, as well as decades of discrimination and persecution. An army-led crackdown has forced some 626,000 people to flee from northern Rakhine state and across the border into squalid camps in Bangladesh in...

    Read more
    Tepid response to Myanmar-Bangladesh repatriation agreement
    28.11.17
    OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Bangladesh and Myanmar say they will start repatriating refugees in two months, amid continued global pressure about the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State, in a move that humanitarian groups have called “premature” as refugees continue to cross the border. According to the United Nations, more than 620,000 people – overwhelmingly Muslims who identify as Rohingya – have crossed the border since August after a military crackdown that Washington last week said constitutes “ethnic cleansing”. After lengthy discussions, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Mr AH...

    Read more
     
    Four big challenges to Suu Kyi’s plans for northern Rakhine
    21.11.17
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's de facto leader  Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to Rakhine State this month on her first visit there since taking office. The November 2 trip took her to Sittwe, and to Maungdaw Township in northern Rakhine, where she met Rakhine and Muslims affected by the violence that has resulted in more than 600,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. At a time when the US and European Union are considering targeted sanctions against senior army officers over the operation launched in northern Rakhine after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked security posts in late August, Suu Kyi is trying to...

    Read more
    'Mounting evidence' of Myanmar genocide: watchdogs
    16.11.17
    AFP

    Myanmar security forces slit the throats of Muslim Rohingya, burned victims alive, and gang-raped women and girls, according to two separate reports detailing mounting evidence of genocide against the minority group. Human Rights Watch focused on the use of sexual violence in its report on the military's campaign against the Rohingya, and concluded that the depredations amounted to crimes against humanity. "Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," said Skye Wheeler, a researcher at Human Rights Watch...

    Read more
    A book on “Silent Repression in Laos”, five years after activist disappeared
    16.11.17
    Arnaud Dubus, southeast Asia correspondent

    Anne-Sophie Gindroz, an aid worker who was expelled by the Communist government of Laos in late 2012, has just written a book on her experience in that country. “Laos, the silent repression” (see attachment download above) comes five years after the disappearance of Laotian activist Sombath Somphone. The Laotian government has still not provided any information on his fate, despite international pressure. Gindroz worked for the Swiss NGO Helvetas in Laos for three years. Shortly before her expulsion, she had been a member of the organizing committee of the Asia-Europe People Forum, a forum...

    Read more
    UN countries must press Sri Lanka on justice, say NGOs
    15.11.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.Net

    International jurists of the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP)  say Sri Lanka’s government has made no credible progress on its transitional justice commitments, and are urging the international community to get tough. This comes as Human Rights Watch also called Wednesday for countries at the UN Human Rights Council to press Sri Lanka on time-bound reforms ensuring justice for serious crimes committed during the civil war that ended in 2009. The war, which pitted majority Buddhist Sinhalese of the south against minority Hindu Tamils of the north and east, left at least...

    Read more