SouthEast Asia

Drop Farcical Investigation of Two Human Rights Defenders in Cambodia

Photo courtesy of LICADHO

In a joint statement, Civil Rights Defenders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists call on the Cambodian authorities to immediately drop the politically motivated criminal investigation against two human rights defenders, Am Sam-at and Chan Puthisak. Both human rights Defenders have been falsely accused of instigating violence during a peaceful demonstration in October 2016 .

2015 Civil Rights Defender of the Year Arrested in Vietnam

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Yesterday, the Vietnamese Blogger, Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh was detained by the authorities in Khanh Hoa province of Vietnam accused of spreading propaganda against the State. Writing under the pen name Me Nam (Mother Mushroom), Ms. Qunyh was the 2015 recipient of the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award. No trial date has been given, but if convicted, Me Nam could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years which is permitted under the current law.

Open Letter- Criticising Proposed Law on Belief and Religion in Vietnam

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Civil Rights Defenders and scores of other civil society organisations have written to the President of the Vietnam National Assembly on Vietnam’s draft Law on Belief and Religion expressing their concerns regarding the proposed Law. The draft law, which has been revised several times has drawn strong criticism from many religious communities, is expected to be voted into law by the National Assembly at its session in October-November 2016.

Human Rights in Vietnam

Against the backdrop of a growing and diversifying civil society movement, the Government of Vietnam continues to repress dissidents and human rights defenders and has taken steps in recent years to amend or introduce laws and regulations that impact on civil and political rights. A host of laws, regulations and decrees grant broad discretionary powers to officials to impose restrictions of basic rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and under international human rights law. The public consultation period before the adoption of a revised Constitution in 2013 saw significant public demand for rule of law reforms. The legislature has amended a number of laws in 2015, including the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Civil Code. Laws on public assembly and on association are pending.

Why a UNGA Resolution is Still Needed in Myanmar

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Civil Rights Defenders (CRD), ALTSEAN-Burma, Amnesty International, Article 19, Forum-Asia, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) are concerned that the European Union (EU) may not introduce a new resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar at the upcoming 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Our organizations believe that ending the resolution at this time would be premature, and that strong human rights monitoring mechanisms must remain in place to ensure Myanmar continues to press forward with much needed reforms

Vietnam: Call for Immediate Release of Prisoners of Conscience

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Civil Rights Defenders along with six civil society organisations call on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release two prisoners of conscience Nguyễn Văn Đài and Lê Thu Hà. They were arrested on 16 December 2015 and charged under Article 88 of the Penal Code for ‘Conducting propaganda against the state’. All efforts by family and legal counsel to visit the pair since their arrests have been denied.

Will Myanmar’s Government Deliver on Human Rights Commitments?

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In the days following Myanmar’s historic election it was fast apparent that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party NLD had taken a landslide victory. Will the NLD and their allies be able to effectively remedy a long legacy of human rights abuses? What hope is there for the persecuted minority group Rohingya when they appear to have no representation in the new government? Read Civil Rights Defenders’ Op Ed in The Huffington Post.

Civil Society Urges Obama to Press for the Release of Thich Quang Do

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Civil Rights Defenders along with numerous other civil society organisations in a letter to President Obama have called on him to press for the release of Vietnam’s most long standing prisoner of conscience Thich Quang Do. President Obama is due to attend the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and the US – ASEAN and East Asia summits where he will have the opportunity to meet with Vietnamese leaders.

Joint Statement of Concern on Draft Law on Religion

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Civil Rights Defenders joins 26 civil society organizations in calling for Vietnam’s government to comprehensively revise the draft Law on Belief and Religion to comply with Vietnam’s obligations under international human rights law, and to do so through broad-based and inclusive consultation. In its present form, the draft law places limitations on freedom of religion or belief that extend beyond those permitted under international human rights law that is binding on Vietnam.

Published in the Irrawaddy: Human Rights Defenders Continue to Suffer in Burma

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Min Min* has been actively promoting land rights issues for over two decades. In the late 1990s she was arrested and imprisoned for her political activities, and during her detention she was subjected to torture and severe abuse at the hands of authorities. After languishing in prison for years, she was finally released. Undeterred by her experience, she continued to pursue her rights activism.