Malaysia: Bersih co-chair Ambiga Sreenevasan threatened
August 19, 2012
Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasan, a Malaysian Indian Hindu leader of BERSIH, a civil society movement calling for free and fair elections, is currently the target of severe and sustained harassment and intimidation because of her legitimate human rights activities. Ms. Sreenevasan has been facing threats since 2011, and the harassment is now intensifying as she is being subjected to threats at her private home, calls for her death and deprivation of her citizenship, from a local politician and other group leaders.
Ms. Sreenevasan and Abdul Samad Said are the co-chairs of the civil society movement, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (known as BERSIH). BERSIH is a coalition of 84 non-government organisations unaffiliated to any political party (http://bersih.org). While both co-chairs have been publicly vocal leaders of the BERSIH movement, only Ms. Sreenevasan has been the target of escalating harassment and attacks which focus on her gender and her ethnicity and religion.
Threats and harassment include those committed in early May 2012, where images of Ms. Sreenevasan were burned at gatherings of local groups opposed to the activism of BERSIH. The exterior of her home was damaged, with protestors shouting “Go to hell Ambiga, go to hell you Hindu infidel”. She has been referred to as “the anti-Christ for Muslims” in quotes in newspapers. When asked why they were targeting Ambiga specifically, and not BERSIH co-chair Abdul Samad Said, chairman of the group Jamal Md Yunus replied “Kita lihat, kita suka Ambiga. Dan kita lihat dia ini lebih cantik daripada orang lain. Kami minat dengan dia. Kita suka tengok dia” (“We like Ambiga. She is prettier than other people. We take interest with her. We like to see her.). She has also recently been subjected to sexual harassment by members of Malay Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVTM) who conducted “bottoms exercises” 15 May outside her home. On 26 June, a local politician publicly called for her to be hanged for her “treasonous” act of organising the 28 April rally for free and fair elections. Ambiga’s activism in defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBTIs render another justification for threats against her. A prominent political party leader made a clear remark that as Muslims they will declare a war against Ambiga’s activism and not keep their mouths shut. On 1 July, Ambiga confirmed to the media that she has received an email advising her to be careful. It was reported that the email allegedly said, “Beware hired guns out to kill you”, and claimed that a particular group had contracted two thugs to “terminate” her.
On 30 June 2012,. Ambiga receives email warning that thugs had been sent to kill her. In an email titled “Beware hired guns out to kill you”, she was warned that a “particular group had contracted two thugs to ‘terminate’ her.” She has lodged a police report on the matter.
Burma: Monk jailed for anti-election activity
September 19, 2011
A Court in Burma has sentenced a monk to 15 years in prison for ‘anti-election’ activities. Oakkan Tha was convicted in a special court at Yangon’s Insein prison for breaching the Electronic Act and the Publication Act, and for disturbing the security and peace of the state, said lawyer Khin Htay Kywe.
On 18 September 2010, the bodies of three members of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) kidnapped in Balkh province during voting on Saturday have been found.
Taliban militants had vowed to disrupt the vote for the lower houses of parliament.
The discovery of the bodies means at least 17 people were killed on election day in about 445 violent incidents.
It comes as a monitoring group raised serious concerns about electoral fraud.
Afghan election candidates, campaigners and voters have told Amnesty International that they are facing increasing attacks and threats from the Taleban and other insurgent groups in the run-up to Afghanistan’s 18 September parliamentary elections.
Women candidates are at particular risk and some have told Amnesty International that local security forces refuse to offer them protection and even ridicule them when they do report threats or violence against them.
Sri Lanka: Printing workers arrested
March 18, 2011
In the evening of September 7, 2010, Sarala Graphics, a printing press located at 43/43, Walauwatta Road, Nugegoda town, was raided by a Police team from the Special Investigations Unit located at the Mirihana police station. Authorities were looking for a poster of the President printed by the United National Party (UNP). The owner of the press and 7 workers present there, including one woman, were arrested.