The Philippines: Factory workers dismissed due to their activism to demand workers’ rights
June 1, 2015
On 19 May 2015, at least 50 workers from the Tanggulan, Ugnayan, Daluyan ng Lakas ng Anakpawis ng Tanduay Distillers Inc (TUDLA) were reportedly injured as security personnel and hired goons of the ABI trained water cannons and threw stones at the striking workers and beat them with big cudgels and truncheons to disperse the strikers and dismantle the picket line in front of the Tanduay compound. In addition, Workers under TUDLA believe that their “dismissal” from work is connected to their effort at organising themselves into an association and their pending complaint questioning the legitimacy of the two labor contractors.
On 22 May 2015, seven students activists from the Dao Din group, a student activist group based in Khon Kaen University, were arrested for holding an anti-junta political activity on the first anniversary of 2014 coup d’état. The seven were arrested shortly after they held a banner against the junta which simply says ‘Against the coup d’état’. They also put up placards with various comments against the regime. They were later released on bail.
In May 2015, Mr. Sun Kai, an artist who was portraying the lives of 100 participants in the student-led 1989 pro-democracy movement in Beijing abandoned the project in the face of growing pressure from the ruling Chinese Communist Party. State security police visited Sun at his Beijing home and intmidated him by saying that he has a good job and his family is doing well, but that all of that could be negatively affected if he carried on with the project.
Thailand: Seminar on environmental impact of disputed oil field monitored by military and police
May 8, 2015
On 5 May 2015, a public seminar about the impact of a disputed oil field on the enviroment in Na Moon village, Khon Kaen province was monitored by about 30 military from Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and police officers in plainclothes and uniform. Before the seminar started, the officers summoned Chainarong Sretthachau, a lecturer of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the university, who was one of the speakers of the seminar, for a 10 minutes discussion about the event. The officers demanded that no comments on the junta be made and that anything symbolising opposition against the regime would not be tolerated. Moreover, the organisers of the seminar were ordered to always invite officers to participate in future seminars on the same topic. The public seminar titled ‘EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Na Moon: the Injustice of Land Based Petroleum in Isan’ was organised at Maha Sarakham University in the northeastern province of Maha Sarakham.
Cambodia: Member of National Election Committee receives warning after attending May Day march
May 6, 2015
On 4 May 2015, Mr. Rong Chhun, member of National Election Committee NEc), was issued a warning from the NEC that asking not to take part in activities that could be perceived as breaching the neutrality of his membership of the committee.
Mr. Rong Chhun, former trade union leader, attended May Day marches, organised by unions but also attended by opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party MPs, prompting the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to issue a statement threatening it would “take action” against the former union boss if he did not respect the “neutrality” of the NEC.
On April 28, Ms. Maria Chin Abdullah, Executive Director (ED) of Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) and Mr. Mandeep Singh, member of the BERSIH 2.0 Secretariat, programme manager, were arrested and later released after questioning over their roles in the #KitaLawan rally on March 28. Both of them were investigated under section 143 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly.
Cambodia: Local governor threatens to arrest activists over workshops on human rights and democracy
May 6, 2015
On 4 May 2015 Eang Mengly, a lead investigator of Adhoc, had informed Keo Sima district governor Sun Vanvuth about Adhoc’s planned workshops on human rights and democracy, 11-12 May in Mondolkiri province. However, he was threatened by the governor who said that Adhoc staffers would be arrested if they held the workshops.
From 24 April 2015 onwards, Lums professor Ms. Taimur Rehman and National Students Federation activists were targeted by militant and extreme segment of social media users. Following the assasination of social activist Ms. Sabeen Mahmood, Ms. Rehman and other activists took Twitter and other social media to express their anger, disgust and disbelief. Death threats, rape threats and messages inciting violence against these activists were published by various social media users and pages.
On 27 April 2015, at least one woman activist broke her fingers when police officers tried to snatch away the banner she was holding. A group of human rights activists were holding a peaceful demonstration calling for stop the execution of the Philippines Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso in front of the State Palace in Jakarta. The police also verbally abused and dispersed the groups.
On 22 April 2015, a member of a Lao civil society said that civil society organisations in Laos are pressured by the Laotian government to omit key concerns from a list of regional human rights issues to be raised at during the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) between 21-24 April 2015. The majority of authentic CSOs in Laos “do not want to attend the forum,” especially those which focus on human rights issues, but that the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Interior had persuaded other “irrelevant” organisations to go in their place. In February 2015, a retired Lao official serving as a proxy for the government had unsuccessfully lobbied the APF to erase the name of Sombath Somphone—a prominent civil rights leader who has been missing for more than two years—from its list of human rights and governance problems in Southeast Asia.