National Human Rights Institutions

  • Laos: Civil society pressured to drop rights issues from ASEAN Forum
    April 24, 2015

    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.

  • Thailand: military threatens local activists who oppose exploration of oil field
    February 18, 2015

    On the 14th February 2015, around 20 police and military officers met with village leaders and a local environmental conservation group in Khon Kaen province and threatened to use martial law against them if they continue to oppose an oil company’s exploration of a potential oil field in the area. Despite an order from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to halt operations due to the project’s controversial Environmental Impact Assessment, military officers and district officials have helped the US-based oil company, Apico (Korat) Limited, to occupy major roads leading to the oil field despite protests from villagers who would be directly affected by the project. On the 17th February, while transporting equipment to the potential oil field, authorities further threatened local activists who were peacefully protesting not to take photos of the operation.

  • Thailand: activists at human rights conference in Khon Kaen intimidated by military
    November 5, 2014

    On the 5th November 2014, participants of a conference, ‘Human Rights and the Constitution’, were harassed by military and police officials in the province of Khon Kaen. The authorities monitored the conference, collected documents for further investigation and took down the names of the 30 participants. The event organizer believed that the authority came to the meeting to check whether 17 human rights activists and NGO workers who have signed an open letter, ‘No Reform Under Military Top Boots’, were presented at the discussion.

  • Maldives: five members of the national Human Rights Commission facing criminal charges for Universal Periodic Review submission to UN Human Rights Council
    October 20, 2014

    On the 22nd September 2014, the five members of the Human Rights Commission for the Maldives were issued a summons by the Supreme Court. They face serious criminal charges for submitting a written contribution to the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Maldives before the UN Human Rights Council.

  • Maldives: freedom of religion activists harassed, threatened, abducted
    June 10, 2014

    In the week of 1-8 June 2014, several young men (identities and precise number unknown) were abducted by vigilante mobs in seperate incidents in Male. The mobs, composed of religious extremists and gang members,accused those abducted of homosexuality and atheism, and tested them on knowledge of Islam, forced them to give up their facebook passwords, threatened them with death, and held vigilante trials in which they were found guilty. The incident is likely related to the harassment and intimidation directed against a facebook group called “Colorless,” which sometimes contained comments or posts from various users advocating secularism. On 8 June, the four administrators of the page were ousted by hackers, after having been threatened for months.

    UPDATE 11/06/2014: As the intimidation of perceived LGBT or secular people by religious groups continues, reports have arisen that government officials met with the same religious groups that carried out the attacks and abductions to discuss “homosexuality” and “attacks on Islam” just days before they occurred. The Vice President of the Human Rights Committee of the Maldives has called for an immediate response by the state to ensure the safety of all citizens and clarify what is happening.

  • Thailand: Journalists on trial for defamation, trial dragged out
    June 5, 2014

    On December 24 2013, the Thai navy filed a libel case against Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, editor and journalist respectively for the Phuketwan newspaper, for allegedly implicating it in the human trafficking of Rohingya people by reproducing a Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters article on the subject. The case is one of thousands of defamation cases filed in Thailand each year, often by powerful actors seeking to silence criticism.

    UPDATE 04/04/2014: Morison and Chutima met with members of the National Human Rights Council of Thailand to seek their assistance with the possible upcoming defamation charges by the Thai Navy. The two may be charged under the Computer Crimes Act.

    UPDATE 05/06/2014: Morison and Chutima will have to wait until March 2015 to face charges of libeling the Thai Royal Navy in court.

  • Malaysia: Suhakam commissioner banned from Sawarak
    September 22, 2011

    The Advocates Association of Sarawak is concerned over the existing entry ban imposed on Suhakam commissioner Jannie Lasimbang, said its president Khairil Azmi Mohamad Hasbie.

  • Malaysia: Suhakam barred from entering new palace site
    September 22, 2011

    The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) was barred from entering the construction site of the new palace last night, when it attempted to investigate reports about the deplorable living conditions of migrant workers.

  • Malaysia: Human rights commissioner banned from entering Sarawak state
    June 21, 2011

    The Advocates Association of Sarawak is concerned over the existing entry ban imposed on Suhakam commissioner Jannie Lasimbang, said its president Khairil Azmi Mohamad Hasbie.

  • Malaysia: Human rights commission officers barred from investigating construction site
    June 20, 2011

    The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) was barred from entering the construction site of the new palace last night, when it attempted to investigate reports about the deplorable living conditions of migrant workers.