Southeast Asia

Human rights defenders across Southeast Asia’s lower Mekong countries are fighting against restrictions on freedom of expression. The situation, however, is extremely varied across the nations: while there is widespread fear and over 2,000 activists in prison in Burma, activists in Thailand are able to publicly discuss and criticise restrictions on peaceful free expression. We are seeking to establish a program in support of human rights defenders in Southeast Asia. Read about the current human rights situation in our reports; Human rights in Burma and
Human rights in Southeast Asia

Select archive for specific country: Burma | Cambodia | Thailand | Vietnam

The state of Internet freedom after the coup in Thailand

Photo: Thai Netizen Network

Since the military coup three months ago, Thailand has introduced a ban on political gatherings; politicians and activists have been arrested, and media censored. In the light of these developments, we invite Thai human rights defender and Internet activist Arthit Suriyawongkul to talk about the present state of freedom of expression and how human rights defenders can operate under these conditions.

24 September: The state of Internet freedom after the coup in Thailand

Photo: Thai Netizen Network

Since the military coup three months ago, Thailand has introduced a ban on political gatherings; politicians and activists have been arrested, and media censored. In the light of these developments, we invite Thai human rights defender and Internet activist Arthit Suriyawongkul to talk about the present state of freedom of expression and how human rights defenders can operate under these conditions.

Tomás Ojea Quintana on challenges in Myanmar

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Tomás Ojea Quintana , the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar , recently left Myanmar after their last field trip to the country. He describes the ongoing reforms as a positive step towards democracy in Myanmar , while stressing the remaining challenges .ome and listen to a breakfast seminar with Tomás Ojea Quintana on March 20, when he talks about future challenges for human rights in Myanmar and the role the international community can play in addressing these challenges .

Tomás Ojea Quintana on challenges in Myanmar

Photo: UN

Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, describes the ongoing reforms as a positive step towards democracy in Myanmar, while stressing the remaining challenges. On 20 March, he visits Civil Rights Defenders to talk about future challenges for human rights in Myanmar and the role the international community can play in addressing these challenges. Watch live on: http://bambuser.com/v/4459084

Housing Rights Activist Yorm Bopha is freed on bail

Cambodia November 22, 2013 : Photo Licadho

22 November the Supreme Court ordered the release of Cambodian Housing Rights activist Yorm Bopha, but only on bail. The Court further ruled that the Boeung Kak Lake activist should have her case returned back to the Court of Appeal for a retrial. “The fact that Bopha is released on bail is positive in the respect of her being able to go home to her family and friends. But it is at the same time disturbing that the Supreme Court does not drop the charges, but instead decides on a new trial in the Appeal Court and thereby allows a continuation of this politically motivated process.” says Brittis Edman, Southeast Asia director at Civil Rights Defenders

Cambodian Supreme Court must free housing rights activist Yorm Bopha

Cambodia

On 22 November, the Cambodian Supreme Court is hearing the final appeal of human rights defender Yorm Bopha. Civil Rights Defenders believes she is imprisoned for her human rights activism.For more than a year, Yorm Bopha, has been in prison following an unfair trial. In 2012, the housing rights activist and mother of one was sentenced to three years for what the Phnom Penh court determined as “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” without any concrete evidence presented against her.

Peaceful post-election protests in Cambodia mobilise masses

Kamboja 1

In Cambodia, peaceful protests which took place over three days last week mobilised tens of thousands of people who came out in force to call for electoral reform and a review of the results from the parliamentary elections in July. The opposition party collected thumb prints from some two million Cambodians. The authorities responded with restraint, essentially protecting the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Burmese human rights lawyers inspired in Serbia

Human rights lawyers in Burma do not waste any time when trying to make use of emerging opportunities as their country is opening up. But rule of law is weak, civil society initiatives are nascent and threats against lawyers commonplace. To support them, Civil Rights Defenders has organised a two-week study tour to Serbia for ten activist lawyers, to meet with our partner organisations that work in the field of legal aid.

Ee Sarom

Ee Sarom Photo Tina Axelsson

About 60.000 people were forcibly evicted in Cambodia in 2011 alone, local human rights group ADHOC reports. Those who refuse to abandon their house or dare to demonstrate face risk of arrest or violence, and human rights defenders working on housing rights are persecuted. In a country where many non-governmental organisations are afraid to support human rights issues, Ee Sarom, and his organisation, stands tall. ”Sometimes I am scared but I have to do my job”, says Ee Sarom.

Criminalisation and persecution of Cambodian human rights defenders

“Free the 15” campaign (Photo LICADHO)

In May, police arrested 15 human rights defenders in Phnom Penh. Within days, 13 of them had been convicted to each 2.5 years in prison in an unfair trial. In the past several years, they have carried out peaceful protests against forced evictions and unlawful expropriation of land. Ee Sarom at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) tells his story about the “Free the 15” and the increasingly tough conditions for human rights defenders in Cambodia, in this autumn’s first seminar in our series “One hour of human rights”!

International Women’s Day Film Screening

Killing the Chickens to Scare the Monkeys Photo: Jens Assur

The lack of rule of law can lead to unforeseen consequences for a woman living in a repressive regime, as displayed in Jens Assur’s latest film Killing the Chickens to Scare the Monkeys. In order to highlight the International Women’s Day we will show the film at the National Historical Museum in Stockholm on March 8. A conversation about fair trials follows the film.

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