The Global Digest

Press Release

Apr-June, 2011

15) Call for Observers: Victims of torture, former clients of Somchai Neelaphaijit counter-charged for allegedly making false statements when they raised the issue of being tortured

14) Public Convention on Save Democracy, Desh Bachao – Desh Banao, A RESOLVE Press Release

13) Statement on International Day Against Torture: Human Rights Organizations urge Thai Government to criminalize torture as a crime

12) A letter for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

11) THAILAND: Criminalization of free speech ahead of election

10) Eleven Groups Urge US to Act on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council

9) Medha Patkar continues her hunger strike on 3rd consecutive day

8) Struggling for Chengara Land

7) People’s Movements issue ultimatum to Jharkhand Government; Demonstration at Delhi’s Jharkhand Bhawan demands immediate halt to ongoing evictions

6) An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to the Minister of Justice, Thailand

5) On 36th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War Vietnam must reform its Legal System: Says report on “Crime and Punishment in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”

4) Government of India Must Ban Endosulfan and Stop Protecting Interests of Pesticide Industry


2) NAPM Extends Solidarity to Anna Hazare and Others Fasting, Rooting Out Corporate Corruption and Demands Nation Wide Consultation on Important Legislations

1) Buddhist leader Thich Quang Do calls for the immediate release of human rights advocate Cu Huy Ha Vu

15) Thailand

Call for Observers: Victims of torture, former clients of Somchai Neelaphaijit counter-charged for allegedly making false statements when they raised the issue of being tortured


Somchai Neelaphaijit

(Hong Kong, June 29, 2011) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Cross Cultural Foundation that Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh, one of those who alleged that he was tortured by police in the case of stealing weapons in 2004 has been criminally counter-charged by the police on the charge of making a false statement to the authorities. The statement in question is from his testimony to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), whose duty is to investigate allegations of illegal actions of state officials. The Criminal Court has accepted the case for examination, and witness testimony will be heard beginning on 30 June 2011.

Case details: Black Case No.2161/2552, Criminal Court, Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok. The plaintiff is Police Major General Chakrathip Chaichinda, and he has brought a case against the defendant, Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh. Mr. Sudeerueman is charged with making a false statement to the authorities; specifically, he is accused of violating Criminal Code Articles 173, 174 (2), and 181 (2). The case was brought to the court on 25 June 2009. The court investigated the case and issued an order to accept the case on 31 March 2010.

Police Major General Chakrathip has charged that on 16 and 17 January 2007, Mr. Sudeerueman made false statements to the Committee to Investigate Special Cases in the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). He further charged that on 5 November 2550 made false statements to a subcommittee of the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The statement of Mr. Sudeerueman’s which Police Major General Chakrathip has alleged is false is the following: “During the daytime on 22 February 2004, Political Major General Chakrathip and his colleagues assaulted Mr. Sudeerueman by slapping his ears and kicking his trunk many times. The assault was carried out over a period of ten minutes. It took place in a meeting room in Tan Yong Police Station.” Police Major General Chakrathip has claimed that he was not present for these events, and that he has been injured by the giving of false testimony.

The counter-charging of Mr. Sudeerueman in this case has arisen from Mr. Sudeerueman and an additional five people who have claimed that after they were arrested and detained at Tan Yong Police Station, Central District, Narathiwat Province. They were arrested in relation to an incident in which guns were stolen from Pileng Army Camp in January 2004. Mr. Sudeerueman and five others were arrested by a group led by Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong Singhra Na Ayutthaya, the Assistant Police Director General (The group included Police Major General Chakrathip Chaichinda), who were the arresting officers. Mr. Sudeerueman and the other involved individuals were tortured so that they would confess that they were the people who had stolen the guns. On 11 March 2004, Mr. Somchai Neelaphaijit, the human rights lawyer, brought Mr. Sudeerueman and the other involved individuals to petition at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), to investigate in order to bring a case against the police officers who tortured them. Then, on 12 March 2004, Mr. Somchai Neelaphaijit was disappeared. Mr. Sudeerueman and the other involved individuals were given protection as witnessed in the case of the disappearance of Mr. Somchai, and remain under the protection of the DSI up to the present.

Regarding the torture case, after the DSI received the complaint, they investigated and sent the case the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate further. In December 2010, the NACC made the statement that the case had no basis. They dismissed the complaint of the five suspects in the gun robbery case that they were tortured by state officials. For details, please see AHRC-FST-105-2010.

Before the NACC dismissed the case of torture, Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh had already faced criminal charges brought by Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong Singhra Na Ayutthaya. In this case, which was brought on 29 July 2009, Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong alleged to the Court that Mr. Sudeerueman had engaged in wrongdoing against state officials by making false statements to the DSI and the NACC subcommittee. The charges in this case are the same as the charges in the case brought against Mr. Sudeerueman by Police Major General Chakrathip Chaichinda. This case was black case no.2618/2552 and red case no.3303/2552. On 27 September 2009, this case was dismissed after examination by the court. The court noted that the defendant used his basic rights as a citizen to make a complaint to the DSI. The plaintiff (Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong Singhra Na Ayutthaya) appealed. At present, the case is still under examination by the Appeal Court.

Regarding the case of the stolen guns, the attorney general decided not to bring a case against Mr. Sudeerueman and the other four defendants. In the case of attempted murder, the Narathiwat court dismissed the case.

The Asian Human Rights Commission would like to invite court observers to attend the hearings in this case in order to provide support for victims of torture, whose rights are now further violated by being counter-charged for attempting to secure justice. Interested individuals are invited to attend the hearings of witnessed for both the plaintiff and the defendant at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok on the following days and times:

Witnesses for the Plaintiff: 30 June – 1 July 2011 at 9.00am – 4.30pm
Witnesses for the Defendant: 5 – 6 July 2011 at 9.00am – 4.30pm

# # #
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.


14) India

Public Convention on Save Democracy, Desh Bachao – Desh Banao, A RESOLVE

Press Release
June 27 2011

Mass meeting in India

We all who have assembled here today discussed the political situation in the country in the wake of ongoing struggles across the country in Assam against evictions, Narmada Valley against submergence and displacement, Golibar, Mumbai against Shivalik; Jagatsinghpur, Orissa against POSCO; Raigarh, Chattisgarh against Jindals; Mundra, Gujarat and Chausra, MP against Adani; Kalinganagar Orissa against Tata and thousand other places. The struggle against Reliance, Jindal, Tata, Adani, Jaypee, Mittals and other Corporations and the collaborating State power is not only to protect their livelihood but central to this is defending the basic tenets of our democracy. The overall struggle is for deepening of democracy in the country – to establish the rule of law, to ensure right to life and livelihood with dignity, to ensure democratic control over natural resources – jal, jangal, jameen and Khaniz (land, water, forest and minerals).

The social and political churning witnessed at this moment in the country today is encouraging. In a political context where the questions of working class and poorest of the poor assumes prime importance we RESOLVE that :

Our collective struggles have to deal with the corruption at every level and work towards establishing communities control over the natural wealth of the country. In the wake of increasingly oppressive power of State and Corporations, our collective struggles of dalits, adivasis, women, urban poor, the displaced, workers, farmers etc. have to challenge the crony capitalism and work towards a society based on equality and political freedom.

Everyone need to join this struggle for stronger legislations like Lokpal Bill which will control the corruption in this country and other measures which will bring back the black money stashed in the country in different forms of illegal and benami investments and tax heavens in foreign countries.

We will struggle together to scrap the regressive legislations like Land Acquisition Act, Special Economic Zone Act and others and agitate for drafting of a development planning act in this country with the free informed and prior consent of the strengthened Gram / Basti Sabhas and other local self-government institutions.

We urge everyone - people from all walks of life workers, adivasis, dalits, urban poor, women, men and professionals, intelligentsia and everyone else to join in this struggle against exploitation, oppression and inequality and secure justice and dignity for everyone. Let us all join hands to work together !

The Convention was addressed by Medha Patkar, Kuldip Nayar, Justice (Retd) Rajinder Sachar, Swami Agnivesh, Mastram Kapoor, Yogendra Yadav, Arvind Kejariwal, Raja Bundela, Dr. Sunilam, Ravi Kiran Jain, Smt Manju Mohan, Kavita Krishnan, Ajit Jha, Rakesh Rafiq and many other activists

13) Thailand

Statement on International Day Against Torture: Human Rights Organizations urge Thai Government to criminalize torture as a crime

June 27, 2011

Royally mandated torture and execution of people in Thailand in the 15th century.

A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission and other Thai NGOs
THAILAND: Human Rights Organizations urge Thai Government to criminalize torture as a crime, to take effective measure for witness protection and remedy the victims, and most importantly to develop independent investigation mechanism to end impunity

“Torture is a crime”

Human Rights Organizations urge Thai Government to prevent and eliminate the use of torture by law enforcement officials in Thailand by implementing its obligation under UN Convention Against Torture to criminalize torture as a crime, to take effective measure for witness protection and remedy the victims, and most importantly to develop independent investigation mechanism to end impunity”

Section 32 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 recognized the right to liberty, the right to life and prohibition of torture or brutal treatment or punishment by a cruel or inhumane means. In addition, Thailand is a Party to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) which came into force for Thailand since November 1, 2007 which makes any action by the authorities by which severe pain or suffering is intentionally inflicted on a person with the purpose to force for confession or information, to intimidate or to punish the person, or for any other reason based on discrimination of any kind is “torture”. As the state party, Thailand has the obligation to prevent and punish act of torture. However, Thailand has not implemented its obligation to any measures, whether legislative, executive or judicial in order to prevent acts of torture, to protect witnesses, to remedy victims of torture, and most of all, measure to punish offenders.

Torture and cruel treatment is still exists in Thailand and still being used by law enforcement officers, whether under an emergency situation in the southern border provinces, emergency situations arising from political turmoil, or under enforcement of law in normal time. Moreover, tortured victim, who has filed complaint alleged that he was tortured by police to obtain confessions in the case of a gun robbery in Pileng Military Camp in Narathiwat Province in 2004, was pressed charge by the officers on charges of false police report after the Anti- Corruption Commission concluded that there was not enough evidence on torture complaint. The said victim was also a client and witness in cases of the enforced disappeared lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit who defended him in the gun robbery case.

As mark International Day against Torture, today Human rights organizations as listed below urge the Thai government to accelerate the fulfillment of its obligations to prevent torture by taking legislative measures to enact, amend of laws and to take effective measure to

1. Criminalize offense of torture as a specific offense and determine appropriate penalty for such offense because “torture by state officials” is not yet a criminal offence under Thai law.

2. Develop independent and impartial mechanism for the investigation into alleged act of torture. At present, the perpetrators are not brought to justice and impunity continues because the offenders are often associated with investigation body in ways that undermine the independence and impartiality of the investigation.

3. Take effective measure for witness protection in accordance with safety standards. Conduct training and increase the number of officials. Allocate appropriate funding to make the witness protection system truly effective.

4. Develop effective measure to provide remedy to victims of torture, both physically and psychologically especially for psychological rehabilitation. Also to develop forensic psychiatry equipped with medical knowledge and expertise to monitor the post psychological trauma effect on the victim such as stress and anxiety after a bad experience.

5. Take effective measure to guarantee easy access, prompt, impartial and fair investigation of allegation of torture. Also to ensure protection from backlash countersue by alleged offender against complainant as this rights to petition is guarantee by the Constitution section. 62 that a person shall have the right to follow up, and to request for examination of, the performance of duties of a person holding political position, State agency and State officials. And a person who provides information related to the performance of duties of a person holding political position, State agency and State officials to the organisation examining the misuse of State power or State agency shall be protected. But in practice, torture survivor is not protected and still being countersue by alleged offender while state mechanism fails to bring perpetrator to justice.

"Torture is a crime." With respect to human rights and freedom

Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)
Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
Union for Civil Liberties (UCL)
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Community Resources Centre (CRC)
Justice for Peace Foundation (JPF)
Stateless Watch
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
Muslim Attorney Center Foundation (MAC)
Bungaraya Group

12) India

A letter for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

June 13, 2010

Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister, Union of India

Shri Naveen Patnaik Chief Minister, State of Odisha

We have written to you earlier on the issue of proposed POSCO plant in the State of Odisha. We are extremely concerned at using police force against its own people in the villages of Gobindpur and Dhinkia, Jagatsinghpur to force them to vacate their homes and lands setting up this plant in the name of “public interest”. How can this be the 'public interest' if people of the region has been opposed to this project for more than five years, since the day MoU was signed ? Some of us have visited the area in these years and seen the resistance and also the thriving natural resources and communities living with dignity.

There has already been violence in this area by the police against people including women and children protesting peacefully, and on June 3, 2011, 17 people were beaten up and arrested for resisting the destruction of their betel vines, the source of their livelihood. As on June 12, 2011, the whole area is tense with about more than 25 platoons of fully armed police menacingly present, making loudspeaker announcements every 15 minutes, ordering the people to vacate or in default face police action. The people are especially afraid that the police may attack at night, but they are determined to peacefully resist the land acquisition. Women and children have been forced to lie in this chilling heat facing the boots of your armoured police. Is this the great democracy we are celebrating ?

It need not be made more explicit that use or threat of police force by the Odisha State Government or the Union Government based on illegal environmental clearance from the Union Government is completely unconstitutional. By not taking all possible steps to prevent police action against peacefully demonstrating citizens, you are violating the Constitution of India which you have sworn to uphold when you took office. Similar action took place in Kalinganagar in 2006, when 14 people who were peacefully resisting destrcution of their homes were shot dead by Odisha police. The police violence against the resistance of people in other places like Kashipur (Odisha), and Nandigram and Singur (West Bengal), to name just three, to government acquisition of land in the “public interest” has severely eroded the faith of people all over the country in the democratic professions of both state and union governments. In fact, people's perception is that governments, regardless of ideology, are complicit with the multi-national corporations that demand land and other primary resources at the cost of poor rural and tribal people.

The acquisition of forest land is in violation of the Forest Rights Act, a matter on which the two committees of MoEF have already clarified and asked settlement of rights of people living there. You possibly have very good reason to neglect such people-oriented, constitutionally and legally sound advice but whatever the reason, it is anti-people, undemocratic and in violation of the sacred oath of office that you have taken. In fact the reason is eminently suspect.

It is unutterably sad that Independent India, that too under the rule of a party that won independence from the British, is using colonial methods of grabbing land with the use of police force from poor but self-supporting rural people to benefit multi-national business corporations in spite of their peaceful resistance, and when their pending cases in the High Court are due to be heard shortly. It is amazing how you, in your positions of power, are completely divorced from the reality of the gross injustices and violation of constitutional and human rights being perpetrated by the organs of the State against the very people who have elevated you to those positions. We fail to understand that why is Odisha government in such a hurry when the MoU with POSCO is not even there, it lapsed and your government needs more time to renew it. What is the hurry ? Whose interests are you trying to promote ?

Dear PM, you must uphold the promises made by your government and party that there won't be any forcible acquisitions against the wishes of people. This is the test case for your intervention.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is never too late to take a right decision and pass legally and constitutionally correct orders. In view of the foregoing, we take this opportunity to urgently urge you to immediately withdraw the police forces that threaten the people of Gobindpur and Dhinkia in jagatsingpur District of Odisha, and put halt to any forced land acquisition in the area for the POSCO project.

Contact: Medha Patkar, Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), Prafulla Samantra, Sandeep Pandey, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Gabriele Dietrich, Anand Mazgaonkar, Faisal Khan, Sister Celia, Vimal Bhai, Mukta Srivastava, Suhas Kolhekar, Suniti S R, Rajendra Ravi, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Ramakrishna Raju, Madhuresh Kumar


THAILAND: Criminalization of free speech ahead of election

AHRC Statement
June 3, 2011

Puea Thai party No. 1 candidate, Yingluck Shinawatra

In May 2011, the government of Thailand announced that the country would go to a national election on July 3. It might have been expected that this announcement would result in a lessening of the threats against, and arrests of, persons trying to exercise free speech. In fact, the opposite is the case. Since the announcement over three weeks ago, the government seems to have gone into overdrive in its efforts to criminalize free speech, shutting down radio stations and ordering the arrest of dissident voices on the pretext that they are anti-royalist.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has paid especially close attention to the continued laying of lese majesty charges for trivial or non-existent offences against the monarchy. The number of cases brought under section 112 of the Criminal Code of Thailand and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act has continuously risen since the 19 September 2006 coup. Within the last three months there has been a further escalation of the criminalization of speech allegedly critical of the monarchy, on which the AHRC has already issued a statement (AHRC-STM-056-2011), as has its sister organization, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC-CWS-17-01-2011), in the UN.

In recent weeks, free expression has become an even more dangerous endeavour in Thailand than it was earlier, as highlighted here by three cases which signal the gravity of the threat not only to the freedom of expression in the short term, but also to human rights more broadly. The first is the case of Mr. Aekkechai Hongkangwan, who has been released on bail; and, the others are the cases of Mr. Joe Gordon and Mr. Somyos Preuksakasemsuk, who remain under detention.

Aekkachai Hongkangwan, age 35, was indicted on 23 May 2011 at the Criminal Court in Bangkok for allegedly disseminating CDs containing a documentary by ABC television and WikiLeaks materials which are offensive to the King, the Queen and the Heir Apparent. He has also been accused of selling CDs without a license. The police arrested Aekkachai on 10 March 2011 at Sanam Luang, after enticing him into selling a CD for 20 baht. The police seized over 100 CDs, a CD burner and 10 copies of WikiLeaks materials. He was released at that time on bail. The Criminal Court has set 11 July 2011 as the date on which evidence examination will begin.

Joe Gordon, age 54, is a Thai-American man who has been arrested on charges of violating section 112. He was arrested in Nakhon Ratchasima on 26 May 2011 for allegedly doing no more than posting a link on his blog to Paul Handley's unauthorized biography of King Bhumipol, "The King Never Smiles". The book is banned in Thailand. Prachatai online news reported that his arrest was carried out by a group of 20 officials from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Ministry of Justice, who came to search his house and seized his money, cellular phone, computer, and hard drive. When the officials arrived, Gordon had just bathed and was only wearing a towel; they would not allow him to get dressed while they searched his house. DSI then transported him from Nakhon Ratchasima, which is in the central northeast of the country, to Bangkok Remand Prison. Reports indicate that the DSI has been investigating his case for nearly two years. Gordon just returned to Thailand last year after living in the United States for the past 30 years.

Somyos Preuksakasemsuk, age 51, is a long-time labour activist who in 2007 began to edit the "Voice of Taksin" magazine, a political publication opposed to the current government. Officials detained him without charge in May 2010, at the time of the protests in Bangkok that ended in bloodshed. After the authorities released Somyos he started a new publication, "Red Power". The DSI arrested him on a charge under section 112, on 30 April 2011, when he passed through immigration while leading a tour group to Cambodia. The arrest warrant was issued over two months earlier, but the authorities waited to execute it until he tried to cross a national border. The alleged crime stems from an article in an issue of Voice of Taksin, which Somyos edited. In this case, much like in the case against webmaster Chiranuch Premchaiporn, on which the AHRC has established a campaign webpage, Somyos is being prosecuted not for anything he said or did himself, but on the basis of someone else's writing in a publication he edited. The Criminal Court has denied Somyos's repeated requests for bail on the basis that he is accused of committing a grave crime against the monarchy and national security and may be a flight risk.

All three of these individuals have had their speech--or rather, others' speech for which they have been held liable--criminalized because the contents of the speech were allegedly damaging to the monarchy. Two aspects stand out. The first is the use of the monarchy as an avenue through which to charge, prosecute and detain persons who have done no more than exercise a basic right to speak about matters of public and national importance, which should not be off limits to anyone. This problematic use of the law in Thailand, and especially the lese majesty law, has been steadily on the rise since the 2006 coup. The second is the increasing tendency to criminalize speech in Thailand by targeting persons responsible only for the assisting in some small way in the distribution or redistribution of other persons' opinions: even something as trivial as a website link or a few burned CDs is seemingly enough to land an accused in a tight spot, both in a criminal case and in prison.

Together, what the cases show is that in the lead up to the election next month, not only is speech being increasingly criminalized in Thailand, but so too is the simple circulation of different types of thought; indeed, any types of thought not explicitly or tacitly officially endorsed. Although the precise relationship between the upsurge in targeting of free speech and the upcoming elections is unclear, what is clear is that the continued criminalization of free speech in Thailand makes the prospect of a fair election unlikely, and bodes ill for the longer term progress of the country back towards a meaningful commitment to human rights.

In light of the above, the Asian Human Rights Commission calls on the government of Thailand for the immediate release of Joe Gordon and Somyos Preuksakasemsuk on bail and for a review of all pending cases under section 112 and under the 2007 Computer Crimes Act. The AHRC also calls for a firm commitment from the government of Thailand that it will order a cessation of such arrests and will enable, rather than inhibit, the emergence of free speech into the lead up of the election, as well as in its aftermath.

# # # About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

10) United Nations

Eleven Groups Urge US to Act on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council

They are: Carter Center; Human Rights Watch; Enough Project; Democracy Coalition Project; Freedom House; Open Society Foundations; International Crisis Group; Physicians for Human Rights; Citizens for Global Solutions; U.S. Campaign for Burma; and Amnesty International.

Hillary Rodham Clinton at the UN Human Rights Council

May 27, 2011
Secretary Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We write to urge you to take advantage of the opportunity of 17th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council to highlight the need for effective accountability in Sri Lanka for war crimes and other abuses committed by both sides during that country’s civil war that concluded in May 2009. The United States Government should press for prompt action by the international community to provide such accountability and end the ongoing impunity in Sri Lanka for these abuses.

The Panel of Experts appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to advise him on issues of accountability in Sri Lanka found credible allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by both the Sri Lankan government forces and the opposition Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the war in Sri Lanka.

The UN report concludes that tens of thousands were killed in the final months of the war, documenting rape, summary execution, enforced disappearances, widespread shelling, denial of food and medicine, and government attempts to intimidate and silence media. The UN Panel recommended that the U.N. Secretary-General immediately proceed to establish an independent international mechanism to conduct an investigation into the alleged violations.

The Sri Lankan government has pointed to its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as the vehicle for accountability in Sri Lanka. But the LLRC is neither independent nor impartial. It is composed of individuals with close ties to the government, including former government officials who publicly defended the government’s conduct during the war against allegations of war crimes. The LLRC is not explicitly mandated to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In its proceedings to date, it has failed to pursue these allegations with any vigor.

The U.N. Panel examined the workings of the LLRC and concluded in its report as follows: “In sum, the LLRC is deeply flawed, does not meet international standards for an effective accountability mechanism and, therefore, does not and cannot satisfy the joint commitment of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General to an accountability process.”

We appreciate the support the U.S. Government has repeatedly expressed for the Panel, including Ambassador Rice’s April 25 statement commending the Panel’s report. We respectfully request that the U.S. Government reiterate its support for the Panel at the opening session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on May 30 by making a strong statement which would:

a) welcome the Panel’s report;

b) express the U.S. Government’s concern about the credible allegations detailed in the report, including the seriousness and scale of the crimes described;

c) express concern at the report’s findings of the failure of the Sri Lankan government to investigate and prosecute these crimes;

d) note the Panel’s findings that the LLRC is “not tailored to investigating allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law,” and has “not sought to investigate systematically and impartially the allegations of serious violations on both sides of the war;” and

e) call for the full implementation of the Panel’s recommendations, in particular the establishment of an independent international mechanism with a mandate to conduct investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including war crimes.

Such a statement by the U.S. Government would send a powerful signal to Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, the Sri Lankan government and the other U.N. member states of U.S. support for effective accountability in Sri Lanka. With the support of the U.S. and other members of the international community, the victims and their families in Sri Lanka may finally receive the truth and justice they have long been denied. Thank you for your consideration.

We look forward to hearing from you in response to this matter.


Adotei Akwei, Managing Director, Government Relations, Amnesty International
Karin Ryan, Director, Human Rights Program, Carter Center
Don Kraus, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens for Global Solutions
Dokhi Fassihian, Executive Director, Democracy Coalition Project
John Bradshaw, Executive Director, Enough Project
Paula Schriefer, Director of Advocacy, Freedom House
Tom Malinowski, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
Mark Schneider, Senior Vice President, International Crisis Group
Jerry Fowler, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations
Hans Hogrefe, Chief Policy Officer/Washington Director, Physicians for Human Rights
Aung Din, Executive Director, U.S. Campaign for Burma

Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs
Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Ambassador Eileen Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council
Harold Koh, Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of State
Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Samantha Power, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, National Security Council
Ambassador Stephen Rapp, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State
Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

9) India

Medha Patkar continues her hunger strike on 3rd consecutive day

Special report
By Thomas Kocherry
May 22, 2011

Social activist Medha Patkar and slum dwellers protest

Slum dwellers continue to join relay fast from across Mumbai:

· The government inaction on Shivalik Ventures land scam is shameful
· Golibar residents demand justice against police atrocities and violation of their Right to Housing and livelihood.
· 3K clause of SRA should be cancelled along with all the project which come under 3k too should be cancelled

Till the Golibar residents are not provided justice, till the governments does not take strong action against on the land scam by Shivalik Ventures linked to 2g Scam and does not permanently stop demolition at Golibar the hunger strike by Medha Patkar which has entered third consecutive day to day will continue at Golibar, Khar (East), Mumbai

The UPA Government which has promised to fight corruption must take action against corruption at the ground level which has happen right here in Mumbai under its nose.

The land scam by Shivalik Ventures linked to 2g Scam at Golibar

The residents are Golibar are determined to keep continue their agitation till their demands are met.

Mayank Gandhi from India against Corruption and Simantini Dhuru form Right to Education Campaign, Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM Uttar Pradesh, Kavita Srivastava, PUCL Rajasthan, Anuradha Talwar, Pashchim Bang Khet Majdoor Union, visited Golibar today to extend full support and solidarity to the residents of Golibar and Medha Patkar and strongly condemned the atrocities meted out by police, inhuman demolition and violation human rights by the State.

Supports and solidarity massages are pouring in from various quarters from all over India. Many eminent people like Kuldeep Nair, Anand Patwardhan, Justice Rajendra Sachar, Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey, Prashant Bhusan, Xavier Dais, Ashok Chaudhari and many others have strongly condemned the inhuman and brutal action on the residents of Golibar and have called upon the government to immediately initiate action against the dubious role played by the Shivalik ventures

Meanwhile, a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 30 organizations and many eminent people has been already sent requesting him to immediately intervene in the matter.

The demands which were made months back on April 5th 2011 before the Chief Minister of Maharashtra are

The demands:

· Rajiv Awas Yojana should be implemented in the slums of Mumbai, particularly those where slums dwellers are coming forward and demanding for the implementation of the same.

· 3K clause of Maharashtra slum Area Act should be scraped. Exercising3K clause government has gifted more than 500 acre of slum land to 6 Developers in last 2 years. Residents of Golibar have exposed the scam of 3K and have paid the heavy price for the same but now without delay it should be cancelled.

· Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, which has resulted in land grab by builders and dis-housing of slum dwellers should be revised and instead pro-people self development schemes be supported and facilitated by the State.

· The PDS system should be universalized and there should be stringent provision to stop malpractices in the PDS system.

· Basic services like water and sanitation should be provided to all slum dweller without any cutoff date as human rights have no cutoff date

Contact: Simpreet Singh (9969363065), Mukta Srivastava (9969530060) Madhuri Vairath (98206191740)

8) India

Struggling for Chengara Land

Special Contribution
By Thomas Kocherry
May 21, 2011

The Chengara settlers

Chengara Land Struggle is coming in Desabhimani like a rightwing media reporting the news! It is the irony of the time that LDF and CPM accusing a land struggle with Maoist influence. More than 7000 Families are involved in the land Struggle. For the sake of saying Let us agree that Maoists are behind this struggle. But what is wrong in Democratic India people are starting a struggle for the Land? in Andhra Pradesh CPM organised the Historic Land Struggle. Ruling class used police to kill the poor landless in AP. They used the NAXAL SQUAD of the AP police to Kill agitating Landless. This is sad that the struggle of the landless and downtrodden accused as terrorist work and its leadership is attacked for false reasons. How can a communist party stay away from the struggle of the landless and attack it by calling Maoist and extremist work? How can DYFI like youth organisation stay away from the struggle of the landless?

If we borrow the words of Com. Prakash Karat "History will not forgive us"! for accusing and attacking the struggle of the landless. On what merits we can differentiate the struggle of the Landless in AP organised by CPIM and the struggle of the Landless in Chengara? On what merit (Merit of the struggle is like creating law for War only) AP Land Struggle is glorifyable and Chengara Land Struggle come under the shadow of Extremism?

The leader of the Chengara land Struggle "Laha Gopalan (a poor Dalit become leader of the mass) accused as a land owner! What is wrong in that a man having property supporting and leading the struggle? Com. EMS was a Landlord and by birth coming from a Feudal elite class can we condemn his involvement in the Struggle?

Dynamic Action is a very pure secular movement derived from Thiruvalla based Christains Radical movement only. Many of its leaders are engaged in organising people and church goers against the Self Finance Business in support of the New Education Bill introduced by MA Baby. Many of these people are part of CPM, Kairali TV and different Left Organisations. Even LDF govt. have ministers, Planning Board members, Prof. Nainan Koshy like CPM Leaders from this Thiruvalla based Radical movement. Many of them like Dr. MM Thomas, Bishop Paulous Mar Paulos are not only radical but time to time CPM, DYFI, SFI like organisations glorified and invited for party meetings. Many of these people are faced punishments from Church several times.

If the agitating persons have lands of their own can we not find out.? Most of the agitators are Dalits and Tribals. They have their own small houses with 3-5 cents plot inherited through the first LAND REFORM you initiated in Kerala. But let us carry forward LAND REFORM into a new level for implementing the mandate we have from the Indian Constitution. The land less have the right to get land. Harrison Malayalam Plantations are keeping these as illegal.

On What reason party is staying away from these struggles? This kind of rightwing approach make the party moving further from the poor, dalits and tribals population of Kerala only. It is understandable that Erosion of Values in our Civil Society and Social Action movements are an issue of the time. But Left and communist movement is trapping into this problem not only defeat the party but many civil society initiatives too paralyze along with this erosion. And same time History of Mankind teaching us that radical movements and social initiatives will take birth itself from the spot where one end its journey. The resurrection of communist and left movements across the planet earth is the best possible example of how radicalism and social action groups arise and move forward.

I quote Com. Prakash Karat again " History will not forgive us" if we stay away from the struggle of the Landless!

Contact: 09360645772

7) India

People’s Movements issue ultimatum to Jharkhand Government; Demonstration at Delhi’s Jharkhand Bhawan demands immediate halt to ongoing evictions

Urgent Press Release

Movements protest inside the Jharkhand Bhawan

New Delhi, May 19, 2011 – Mass organisations, Trade Unions and different city based activist groups today demonstrated outside the Jharkhand Bhawan, demanding immediate stopping of the inhuman evictions that are going on in different parts of Jharkhand. The groups were led by National Alliance of People’ Movements (NAPM), National Hawkers’ Federations, SUCI-Delhi, AISA, AICCTU, Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), INSAF, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, Shahri Mahila Kamgar Union and Rashtriya Gharelu Kamgar Union.

Key Concerns raised: The demolition and eviction of slum dwellers, low income group colonies, hawkers and other such working poor populations in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Giridih, Jamshedpur and other small and large places (urban to semi urban and rural) from the public lands where they have been residing since birth or for more than three decades has brought in extreme deprivation or even death.

In one stroke, the Jharkhand Government, on the basis of High Court orders, has made thousands of families shelter-less and a large number of people have lost access to livelihood as well as the basic services and amenities in life including education, water, sanitation, health facilities and even their belongings. The destructive and fast paced demolition drive began since early April and has been brutal.

The state government literally unleashed police as well as special/rapid action force for the same. Notorious as they are, these forces have made inhuman attacks on hapless and unarmed people, including the women, children, young and the aged. The evicted people’s plight today is pathetic: lying in the open, under hot sun, with no relief from the state government or the agencies that usually perform relief actions.

Evictions, without providing constitutional rights - Without doubt, these evictions, performed under the HC orders, are the worst man-made calamity that has struck Jharkhand in many years. Where they could have made available provisions of law to protect the lives and livelihoods of large masses of urban poor (including by providing rehabilitation or alternate livelihood – prior to starting of “anti-encroacher drive”), the HC and the Government machinery, both opted to shut their eyes to the realities of these working people, which make them ‘encroachers’ in public lands.

The evictions have been a total violation of the constitutional right to shelter which is also the part and parcel of the right to life under Article 21 and also the United Nation's Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development Based Evictions and Displacement including the principles enshrined UN economic social and cultural rights.

Public Land vis-à-vis Government claims - The reality of Jharkhand and many parts of India is that landless people live and work on public lands, not owned by them under private property laws. The conflict in most places is between communities residing in such lands and a faceless government that claims these lands to be ‘governmental property’. In states like Jharkhand, these have been largely tribal owned, community lands and traditional commons. It is ridiculous that the government is making a claim over it, considering that the state itself was formed only a decade back.

Injustice to Adivasis as well as non-tribal poor populations; games by land mafia and government – It must be mentioned here that in some lands, the land mafia led by religious groups and vested interest politicians have used poor workers from outside the region as buffers to capture adivasis lands and convert them as markets or other livelihood sources.

Some adivasis groups have also been demanding that such lands be now returned to the original owners, the tribal communities who were evicted or displaced from their ancestral lands. We consider this to be the time to correct mistakes of the past and rectify injustice done to any community or group in the past. It is also time for the working people to stand together against both the repressive state and the urban land mafia.

Today, Jharkhand’s adivasis and rural poor are fighting for their lands with the corporations and the police led state and the urban workers are trying to protect their land and livelihood by resisting the police and an irresponsible state. It is time for these forces to come together and forge alliances. It is also the time to remove vested interest groups, political crooks and religious leadership from converting these battles for their benefits.

Punish the guilty, save the victims – The deaths that occurred during firing in Ranchi, Dhanbad and firing that caused shock related death in Dhanbad are not yet enquired into. The people are not even being heard by the authorities nor are they provided even the basic relief amidst serious health and medical issues and threat of mass epidemics. Students in thousands have missed their examinations in March-April and the sick, aged are not being attended to.

Through a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister (through Resident Commissioner of Jharkhand Bhawan, Delhi), the activists demanded that:

Stop the ‘anti-encroachment’ drive immediately

Provide emergency and ‘war footing’ relief to all those impacted by the present set of evictions that have been happening

Provide rehabilitation (land, shelter with livelihood sources) to all those evicted from public and private lands in the state

Property rights to be given to all slum dwellers by legislation as prescribed by Rajiv Awas Yojana of Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

Enact a new law on Rehabilitation of slum dwellers as part of State Slum Act. Incorporate the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based Evictions and Displacement in the State law.

Implement the National Policy for Street Vendors in the urban areas as directed by the Supreme Court in Gainda Ram & Ors. V. MCD and Ors. Ensure the legal space for hawkers in roads as per the policy. Compensation need to be given to all the hawkers whose goods were confiscated without taking into account the National Policy for Street Vendors.

Jharkhand Government immediately pass an ordinance to the above effect

Contact : Rajendra Ravi : 9868200316, Shyamal : 9868573409, Kavita Krishnan : 9560756628

6) Thailand

An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to the Minister of Justice, Thailand

May 3, 2011

Pirapan Salirathavibhaga
Minister of Justice
Government Complex (Bldg A)
120 Moo 3, Chaeng Watthana Road
Thung Song Hong, Laksi
Bangkok 10210

Dear Mr Pirapan

The role of the justice ministry in a travesty of justice--an analysis of the Court of Appeal acquittal of all police in the Somchai Neelaphaijit case and the situation of his family.

Thank you for your letter of 15 March 2011 (No. 0808/1379) to the staff of the Urgent Appeals Programme, Asian Human Rights Commission, concerning the case of Somchai Neelaphaijit, a human rights lawyer whom police abducted from his car on 12 March 2004 at a time that he was representing clients whom police had tortured, and whose case remains unsolved and whose whereabouts are unknown to the present day.

I refer to two points in your letter. The first concerns the judicial process in the case against the five police officers accused of abducting Somchai. The second concerns persistent fears for the safety of his family.

Firstly, in your letter you state that "if the Court of Appeal confirms the judgement of the Criminal Court to sentence Police Major Ngern Thongsuk, the first defendant, to imprisonment, it will be very helpful for the Special Investigation Officer Team [of the Department of Special Investigation, Ministry of Justice] to complete the investigation file", which has been with the department, we add, for some five years now.

I regret to note that the Court of Appeal already handed down its judgement on March 11, a day before the seventh anniversary of Somchai's abduction, and four days before your letter was dated. It does not give us confidence that neither you nor staff members of your ministry was aware that the ruling had already been issued when the letter was signed and sent.

As you were apparently unaware that the Court of Appeal had given its judgement, and as you may still not be aware of this significant 59-page ruling, allow me to inform you of some of its key contents, which the AHRC has studied.

1. The case against all defendants was dismissed. The one policeman of the five convicted in the Criminal Court, Pol. Maj. Ngern, had his conviction overturned. Thus, there is now no longer even a single state officer who has been found guilty of an offence in this case, despite officials at the highest levels of government, including the former premier, Pol. Lt. Col. Thaksin Shinawatra, stating publicly that they knew that state officers were responsible, and despite the court of first instance also having indicated the same.

2. The Court of Appeal based its ruling on a lack of evidence against the accused. This is not because evidence did not exist but because the court ruled that it was not admissible. Specifically, the telephone records of the five defendants, which showed clearly that they were in contact with one another in the days leading up to the abduction and in the vicinity of the scene of the crime were not admissible, because they were not original or certified copies of the records.

3. The Court of Appeal also removed the wife and children of the disappeared man from being co-plaintiffs in the case, which has serious implications on their rights and capacity to be able to represent the family's interests in any further legal actions. The reason that the court gave for removing them was that under section 5(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, a co-plaintiff must only be of a deceased person or a person who is unable to act for him or herself. In this case the court ruled that the victim did not meet those criteria.

It is fair to say that the travesty of justice began in the Criminal Court and wrought upon the victim and his family has been further enlarged through the appeal court's ruling. The question remains as to what you and your ministry will do about it. In that regard, I put to you the following specific questions, in light of the above facts:

1. Why was it not possible for DSI investigators of your ministry to obtain original or certified copies of the telephone records that would prove the relationship between the accused and link them to the scene of the crime? Presumably, as these records are of electronically stored data, the data still exists somewhere and could be produced in court if found and if the telecommunications providers concerned could be legally obligated to produce it. As this is a case involving the abduction and presumed killing of a person, please explain to me, what is the legal or institutional failure preventing the collection and presentation to court of evidence that would satisfy its procedural requirements?

2. The removal of the family from the case as co-plaintiffs as per the Criminal Procedure Code raises the problem of a huge lacuna in the criminal law of Thailand, and that is, if someone or a group of persons is successfully able to abduct, kill and dispose of the body of a person without any remains being found, as in this case, then practically no type of effective criminal action can be taken against them. The family cannot be a party to the case, and furthermore, no criminal offence can even be shown to have been committed. This lacuna is underscored in the present case by the absurd character of the charges against the accused, for coercion--the act of bodily forcing the victim from his vehicle--and theft of his property, the vehicle itself, but not the act of presumed killing and disposal of the body. Under international law, this act is now recognized globally as enforced disappearance. At present, a new convention on enforced disappearances is being established with global effect. I ask you, when will Thailand sign this convention, and when will it introduce a law to criminalize enforced disappearance and make amendments to its criminal law accordingly?

Secondly, with regards to Somchai's family, as you were apparently unaware of the abovementioned ruling, you may also not be aware of the true, precarious security situation of this family, which is subject to constant harassment and threats:

1. CCTV equipment that was installed at the front of the family's house has been broken for some time. Despite repeated requests to have it fixed, so far it has somehow been beyond the resources of your ministry to do even this much. As such, at present if intruders come to the family's residence there will be no footage taken of what transpires.

2. The family has been subject to threatening telephone calls. When they complained to the DSI about this and asked for some investigation, they were informed that if they wanted to know who was calling, they could contact the telecommunications firm to find out. In light of the recent ruling on inadmissibility of evidence in the case of Somchai, perhaps the personnel concerned were being ironic, or simply insensitive and disinterested. In either event, the DSI's response trivializes the family's genuine concern for their safety.

3. A large bone, too big to be carried by a dog, was left on the doorstep of the family's premises recently, and this incident both the family and the AHRC have brought to the attention of the DSI; however, when AHRC staff met DSI personnel in Bangkok and raised this matter it was brushed aside as if the family were being paranoid and it was nothing to worry about at all. The unconcerned attitude of the DSI personnel surprised and disappointed our staff, given that the bone is just the latest in a string of incidents at the front of the family's residence, including a previous case where both cars belonging to the family were broken into by intruders who were apparently not interested in theft of items like CD players and other valuables. It is also alarming given that the AHRC knows from many years of work with human rights defenders and the families of victims of extrajudicial killings and torture in Thailand that violent attacks are usually preceded by a series of warnings of this sort: indeed, Somchai was himself the target of such threats, which he disregarded, right up to the moment of his abduction.

In light of the above, your statement in your letter that "the Department of Special Investigation has already instructed their responsible staff to take special care in providing witness protection to Mrs. Angkana Neelapaijit and members of her family" is either false or the responsible staff are failing in the duties that they have been assigned. In either case, the situation of this family--at the present time especially, given that they must now weigh up whether or not to approach the Supreme Court to take further action over Somchai's disappearance or resort to other avenues--is completely unacceptable, and the Asian Human Rights Commission asks you again as to what your ministry will now do about it.

The case of Somchai Neelaphaijit is only one of thousands of its type in Thailand during recent years; however, you would understand that it is a case that has attracted intense international interest, and will continue to attract this interest until the culprits are brought to justice and the true facts of his abduction and killing are known. Therefore, I urge you to take these questions seriously and I look forward to your prompt reply.

Yours sincerely,

Wong Kai Shing
Executive Director
Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong

Copies to:

United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders
United Nations Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office, Bangkok

5) Vietnam

On 36th Anniversary of the End of the Vietnam War Vietnam must reform its Legal System: Says report on “Crime and Punishment in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”

Letter from Jakarta
Apr. 30, 2011

Wounded American troops in Vietnam war

In a report made public at the Conference on the Rule of law for human rights in the ASEAN region held by the Human Rights Resource Centre for ASEAN (HRRCA) in Jakarta, Indonesia, today, Mr. Vo Van Ai, President of Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam and the Vietnam Committee for Human Rights called on Vietnam to urgently reform its legal system and bring domestic legislation into line with international human rights laws. This Conference is one of many activities taking place in Indonesia this year during Indonesia’s charmanship of ASEAN. Speakers included Dr. Param Cumaraswamy, former UN Special Rapporteur for Judicial Independence and Impartiality, David Carden, US Ambassador to ASEAN, Martin Hatfull, UK Ambassador to ASEAN, and many academics, civil society delegates and members of the diplomatic community.

The publication of the report, entitled “The Rule of Law or the Rule by Law: Crime and Punishment in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, coincides with the 36th anniversary of April 30, 1975, the end of the Vietnam War and Vietnam’s reunification under communist rule. Mr. Vo Van Ai declared: “36 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the rule of law exists only in theory in Vietnam. The government has incorporated human rights into its 1992 Constitution. Yet it has also adopted a whole arsenal of Laws, Decrees, Ordinances and Decisions which restrict or even nullify the exercise of these rights, in total violation of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam adhered in 1982”.

The report examines provisions in the Vietnamese Constitution, Penal Code, Criminal Procedures Code, Press Law, Labour Code, Ordinance on Religion and Belief, and numerous Decisions and Decrees that restrict freedom of expression, opinion, the press, religion, association and assembly, in violation of the ICCPR.

It particularly condemns Vietnam’s use of “vaguely-defined, catch-all national security” provisions in the 1986 Penal Code to detain human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists for the legitimate expression of dissenting views. Ambiguous offenses such as “undermining national solidarity, sowing divisions between religious and non-religious people”, (article 87), “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (Article 88), “abusing democratic freedoms to encroach on the interests of the state” (article 258) carry heavy prison sentences. Seven are punishable by death. Ordinance 44, adopted in 2002, authorizes local security police and People’s Committee’s to detain “suspected national security offenders” for up to two years under house arrest, in “rehabilitation” camps or in psychiatric institutions without any due process of law. The report notes that Vietnam continues to adopt restrictive legislation whilst receiving millions of dollars from the World Bank, the UNDP, the ADB and a host of donor countries for legal reform programmes such as the Strategy on Development of the Legal System and the Strategy on Judicial Reform.

“The international community should ensure that legal reforms comply with international human rights standards, otherwise funding should be withdrawn. Without guarantees of accountability, tax-payers’ money will help Vietnam to stifle its people’s freedoms and rights. Vietnam is not building the rule of law but the rule by law – the use of the law to suppress legitimate democratic advocacy and reinforce the powers of the one-Party state” said Vo Van Ai.

It gives three profiles of people detained under different aspects of the arbitrary legal system:

“Flawed process, Unfair trial: the case of legal expert Cu Huy Ha Vu” describes the flawed accusations and unfair Court hearing of this prominent defender of political and environmental rights who “sought to use the legal system to demand official accountability and justice for victims of human rights abuses”. The son of a celebrated poet and revolutionary figure, Cu Huy Ha Can was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 3 years house arrest on April 4, 2011 for “anti-Socialist propaganda”.

“Two charges, No crime: the case of blogger Dieu Cay” describes the second charge of “anti-socialist propaganda” imposed on blogger Nguyen Van Hai (pen name Dieu Cay) on the day of his release from prison (19.10.2010) after completing a 30-month sentence for “tax evasion”. His wife has not seen him since then. She has travelled 13 times to the Xuan Loc prison camp in Dong Nai but has been refused the right to visit. Prison authorities would not take the provisions she brought her husband on the grounds that “he refuses to accept them”. She fears that Dieu Cay may have died in detention. “Only dead prisoners refuse food”, she wrote in a letter on April 20, 2011.

“Legal Limbo – 28 years in Prison, Internal Exile and House Arrest: the case of Buddhist leader Thich Quang Do” describes the plight of Buddhist monk and leader of ther banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam who has endured various forms of imprisonment over the past 28 years for “crimes” such as opposing the creation of the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Church (10 years in internal exile) or organizing an UBCV relief mission for victims of flooding in the Mekong Delta (5 years in prison). He has been under de facto house arrest at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery since 1998, forbidden to preach, denied citizenship rights and held under continuous surveillance.

In its recommendations, the report called on Vietnam to abrogate Article 4 of the Constitution on the mastery of the Communist Party, which is “the key obstacle to freedom of opinion and expression, and the basis of State discrimination”; to delete from the Constitution, Penal Code, Press Law, Labour Code and other domestic legislation “all articles which subjugate individual rights to the interests and policies of the State” and otherwise limit the exercise of human rights enshrined in the ICCPR; to urgently repeal or revise the “national security laws” as recommended by UN member states at Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review in 2009; to release all prisoners detained under national security laws for the expression of peaceful political views or religious beliefs; bring the Ordinance on Religions and Beliefs into line with freedom of religion as guaranteed in Article 18 of the ICCPR and re-establish the legal status of the UBCV and all other non-recognised religions.

In conclusion, it urged the international community to ensure that all laws adopted under legal reform programmes, including the Strategy on Judicial Reform and the Strategy on the Development of the Legal System comply with international human rights standards, and to withdraw funding if compliance is not met.

The report also called on member states of ASEAN, under this year’s chairmanship of Indonesia to use the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) as platforms to engage Vietnam in a genuine dialogue on human rights violations in its country.

4) India

Government of India Must Ban Endosulfan and Stop Protecting Interests of Pesticide Industry

Press Release

Endosulfan victim Sainaba Kasaragod

New Delhi, April 25 : A ban on Endosulfan by 81 countries and Kerala and Karnataka governments doesn't seem to be reason enough for the Government of India to completely ban the use and manufacture of this deadly pesticide. Since 1976 continued aerial spray of Ednsoulfan has led close to 9,000 deaths, and nearly 4,800 bed ridden patients with sever physical and mental deformities in State of Kerala alone. But even then the government fails to listen to this. One wonders whose interests Indian government is protecting ?

NAPM and its allies strongly condemn this unabashed advocacy and protection of the corporate interests by the government of India. The strong lobby of Pesticides Manufacturers and Formulators Association of India (PMFAI) is opposing this ban on the grounds that EU companies want to sell their pesticides by enforcing ban on generic production of cheap Endosulfan. On face of it they seem to be so concerned by the costs Indian farmers have to pay for the pesticides but the damage Endosulfan is causing is irreversible. Endosulfan is only one side of the story since the strong pesticide lobby has interests in farmers seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and everything which farmers and communities own - land, water, seeds, knowledge and most importantly market. It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Agriculture which should be concerned about the deteriorating climate for agriculture in the country is advocating on behalf of the industry and supporting GM seeds to deadly pesticides like Endosulfan.

The life of citizens and the natural resources of this country are far more important than the profits which companies will make at our cost. PMFAI claims that the new chemicals to be sold by European manufacturers cost 10 times as much and “will be damaging to the farm ecosystem as most of these are known to be harmful to pollinators such has honeybees”. We would like to ask that why Indian manufactures and Ministry of Environment is not worried about the ill impacts of the Endosulfan.

There are ample amounts of physical and scientific evidence available of the dangerous impacts on human and other beings of Endosulfan, a highly toxic organochlorine pesticide but even then they refuse to accept such. This is completely unfortunate !

Indian government and its various ministries will do well by not hiding behind the 'poor' and own up to the liability they have incurred due to irreversible damages to populace in Kasargod, Idukki, Palakkad, Dakshin Kannada, Kodagu and Udupi. We demand reparation from the government and criminal action against the pesticides companies.

If in 21st century when the world over Indian is being touted as the largest democracy then how can we continue to live in the middle ages where despotic and profit hungry corporations continue to exploit the free citizens of this country in active collusion with government. We condemn such rabid advocacy of business interests over people's interest and demand a complete ban on the use of Endosulfan and other such pesticides.

We strongly condemn the Central and State Governments, the Corporations who are responsible for the creation of irreparable and serious health disorders on our population and support the demands of the Endosulfan Protest Action Committee, Kasargod (Endosulfan Virudha Samara Samithi) :

A permanent ban on Endosulfan all over the country before the Stockholm Conference.

Proper relief, rehabilitation and compensation to the survivors of Endosulfan.

Severe action including criminal prosecution of the corporates, central and state government authorities who were responsible for causing & continuing to cause irreversible health disaster on the victims & their families ,

A complete review and assessment on the use of chemical pesticides in India by unbiased researchers.

A permanent ban of all dangerous chemical pesticides which are already banned in other countries& which have a potential of serious public health & ecological disasters, Issues of Safety & Biosafety be given priority over commercial interest .

Government of India has a golden opportunity in the Stockholm Conference to lead by example and announce a ban and actively support other countries which are considering ban. The need is to invest in research and development of organic pesticides and not the deadly ones which remain in the environment for a long time.

We don't need to create ecological disaster spots in the race to continue the 9% growth. We might win the race for 9% growth but we will have to carry along thousands of its children who will be crippled by the Endosulfan and other deadly pesticides together with coffins of lakhs of farmers who have committed suicide. It is never late to bring back our focus on the agriculture and create favourable objective conditions for the farmers.

Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, P Chennaiah, Geo Josh, Hussain Master, Gabriele Dietrich, Sister Celia, Madhuresh Kumar

For details call : 09446000701 / 9447115073

3) India


By Soheb Lokhandwala
Apr. 16, 2011

Justice Wadhwa(3rd L) presenting the report on Tirumala jewels to TTD Specified Authority Chairman J. Sathyanarayana in Tirupati

MPJ is a Socio-Political organization which works for the general betterment of the society, fighting the social cause and promoting peace and harmony in Mah. It has taken activities to eradicate injustice and work towards common man's problems. MPJ wants to alleviate poverty and work on such issues, schemes and a policy in our state. MPJ continues to support and work on progs and policies which strengthen our democratic and secular values. We from MPJ invites to all our media person and well-wishers to forthcoming press conference in Jalna on 16th April 2011 taking the following agenda:-

1) The agrarian crisis still persists the farmers are still debt ridden; the year 2011 saw more than 114 farmer’s suicides in spite of projected good GDP of 10.5% against 8.7% last year and Agri sector growth at 12.5% from last 3.1% . MPJ wants Dr.Narendra Jadhav recommendation on farmer’s policy to be implemented immediately.

2) More than 47% children are malnourished and more than 60,000 woman die every year at her pregnancy. The FCI are full of grains and much get rotten but the needy doesn’t receive in their PDS shop, in spite of SC directives. When Justice Wadhwa visited Jalna in December 2010 MPJ activist made available facts in PDS system by which he was totally disappointed the way PDS shops failed to deliver to needy and poor. More and more people are left out in BPL and Antodaya category, 77% are poor and every day millions sleeps hungry.MPJ wants Universalisation in Food the present system of PDS to get strengthen with good reforms. If required MPJ will again launch a state wide campaign against Bhay, Bhook aur Bhrashtachar.

3) The recent hike in Govt hospitals attached to medical colleges has made access to health more difficult to poor and needy. Millions need health care, safe drinking water and sanitation.MPJ demands withdrawal of hike and Universalisation in Health care.

4) The recent census survey report is an eye opener and warning bell to all concern citizens. The CSR in Maharashtra is at 883 girls per 1,000 boys is well below the national average of 914 girls per 1,000 boys. Census survey showed dismal report on Sex Ratio in District like Kolhapur, Sangli-Miraj, Beed, Aurangabad, Jalna and Mumbai.MPJ demands the act PC-PNDT should be effectively implemented in entire State of Mah.

5) The recent surge of people’s movement in demanding the Jan Lok Pal bill is towards betterment accountability & much more transparency in our society is being whole heartedly supported by MPJ.We demands vigorous& effective Jan Lok Pal Bill.

6) RTI act is hardly used and known to very few which needs to look into. MPJ will carry out its awareness prog. in entire State of Mah and will use it effectively.

MPJ Media secretary(Mah.) - 022-23461302

2) India

NAPM Extends Solidarity to Anna Hazare and Others Fasting, Rooting Out Corporate Corruption and Demands Nation Wide Consultation on Important Legislations

Press Release
Apr. 08, 2011

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare

New Delhi, April 7 : Shri Anna Hazare's indefinite fast and thousands others fasting across the country with a demand for enactment of an independent and stronger Jan Lokpal and Jan Lokayukta enters third day today. NAPM has extended its support to the demand since beginning of the movement and from 5th April organised rallies, morchas, solidarity fasts, public meetings and other such programmes in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Unao, Itawah, Muzaffarnagar, Delhi and many other places across the country. NAPM reiterate its support, and even as the movement gains steam, pledges to intensify our agitation.

Even as we struggle to demand for a stronger Lokpal and Lokayukta to root out the financial corruption and irregularities in different government schemes, NAPM would like to point out that there are far larger issues at stake for our movement.

1. The scale of corruption involved in Common Wealth Games and 2-G Spectrum has shocked the nation and UPA government has to answer for it and take action but at the same time we are concerned about the inaction from all the political parties on ecological corruption and the naked loot of our natural resources rivers, forests, land, minerals etc.

2. Different political Parties across the political spectrum – illegal mining in Bellary, Karnataka (BJP Government); Vedanata mining, POSCO Steel plant, Tata Power and Steel Plants, Jindals and others in Orissa (BJD Government); mining and steel companies in Jharkhand (BJP led government), massive corruption in PDS and others in Assam (Congress led Government); Adarsh Housing Society, Lavasa, Shivalik Ventures and other builders corruption in Maharashtra (Congress led government) and othes are guilty of inaction and facilitating the process of irregularities, gross violation and miscarriage of justice and violence against those struggling against these. None of these parties have shown political will in taking action against them.

3. The amount of black money stashed in the different foreign banks need to be brought in and those responsible for it punished but at the same time there is a need to stop the ongoing privatisation of various basic services - transport, water and electricity supply, health, food, PDS and many more. Privatisation is encouraging the big Corporations like Tata, Reliance, Jindals, Pricewater House Coopers, Essar, Mittal's, Vedanata and many others to engage in the loot and go to any extent in buying undue favours from the politicians and government machinery. We strongly oppose privatisation of the basis services in the name of efficiency and better services. Government can't shun its responsibility towards the aam aadmi and provide them affordable and quality food, water, education, health, and transport. It can't just remain the privilege of 25% of the Indians - the middle and upper middle classes alone.

4. We as a nation has to ask for the accountability, transparency and the probity ar large in public life and not only in the government institutions. The corruption and violence unleashed by the State using its machinery including armed forces in parts of North East, Jammu and Kashmir and in Central India in the name of Operation Green Hunt has come to an end.

The dangerous trend has been the unholy nexus between the corporations, politicians and bureaucrats who have got together to facilitate the 'Great Indian Loot'. We are concerned by this and urge every one to target the systemic and institutionalised corruption. Jan Lokpal is the beginning alone and the movement will have to join hands with the millions fighting against the neo-liberal reforms which is facilitating a greater role and intervention for the Capital forces in the governance and thereby facilitating the corruption and undermining the democratic institutions of the country. A check on the elected government's is what we need, but the inclusion of the Private Companies acting in the name of larger public purpose within the fold of Accountability and Transparency has to be ensured too.


We exhort everyone to join the struggle of millions of working class people, adivasis, dalits, women, forest workers, fisherfolks in their quest for a dignified livelihood and justice. Our movement against corruption has to go beyond the visible symbols of corruption and reach out for a wider systemic transformation in the country today. Let us all join this struggle !

The process of Jan Lokpal Bill mandates that in general the legislative processes has to be much more democratic and government must come out in public and hold nation-wide consultations on important legislations apart from Jan Lokpal, such as Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, UID Bill and others.

Lastly, we would also like to reiterate that in this fight against corruption we have to choose our allies with care and take those along who have the moral authority to stand with the masses and have struggled for peace, justice and democracy in the society rather than pushing for a communal, casteist, patriarchal and divisive agenda and facilitated ecological corruption.


Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Gabriele Dietrich, Sister Celia, Maj Gen (Retd.) S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), Thomas Kocherrey, Prafulla Samantara, Suniti S R, Roma, P Chennaiah, Dayamani Barla, Arundhati Dhuru, Ramakrishna Raju, Anand mazgaonkar, Rajendra Ravi, Bhupendera Singh Rawat, Geo Jose, Mukta Srivastava, Simpreet Singh, Pervin Jehangir, Kamayani Swami, Madhuresh Kumar

Contact : 9818905316

1) Vietnam

Buddhist leader Thich Quang Do calls for the immediate release of human rights advocate Cu Huy Ha Vu

Special report from Paris
Apri. 6, 2011

Cu Huy Ha Vu (centre) is escorted from court in Hanoi.

PARIS, 6 April 2011 (IBIB) - Prominent dissident Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), sent the following statement to the International Buddhist Information Bureau today from the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon, where he is under effective house arrest. The UBCV leader and Nobel Peace prize nominee, 83, denounces the harsh prison sentence handed down on Cu Ha Huy Vu on 4.4.2011:

“On behalf of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), I strongly denounce the unlawful sentence of seven years in prison and three years house arrest on charges of “anti-Socialist propaganda” pronounced against Cu Huy Ha Vu by the People’s Court in Hanoi on 4th April 2011.

“I call upon the Communist Party and the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release Cu Huy Ha Vu, for he has committed no crime; or, at the very least, the Court should formally declare the trial of 4th April 2011 invalid, and grant him the right to a new legal process with a fair and impartial hearing. This trial clearly violates the provisions of the SVR Criminal Procedures Code.

“Cu Huy Ha Vu’s innocence is demonstrated by the wave of outrage in Vietnam and in the international media in the 48 hours since the verdict was declared. As the facts of his case prove, Cu Huy Ha Vu simply used the provisions of Vietnamese law to peacefully defend the rights of victims of land confiscation and to advocate democratic freedoms enshrined in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam is state party since 1982. He also alerted opinion to the ecological and security threats posed by Bauxite mining in the Central Highlands tendered by the government to Chinese firms.

“In addition, Cu Huy Ha Vu is the son of Cu Huy Can, a celebrated figure of the Communist regime, who in person went to Hue on 25.8.1945 to receive the sword and seal of Emperor Bao Dai as he handed over power to the Viet Minh government lead by Ho Chi Minh. How can such a born and bred child of the revolution now stand accused of propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam?

“Declaring that the trial is unlawful is not calumny on my part, but a mere statement of fact. Article 214 of the SRV Criminal Procedures Code states that documents and reports contained in case files must be presented and discussed by all parties at court sessions in order to determine the defendants’ innocence or guilt. Not only did the judge overule this provision, but also expelled lawyer Tran Vu Hai when he called on the court to present ten documents cited by the Procuracy General in their accusations against Cu Huy Ha Vu, prompting four other defense lawyers to leave the court in protest.

“The unlawful trial of Cu Huy Ha Vu shows the arbitrary nature of Vietnamese law, which serves to defend not the victims, but the regime. Unwittingly, with this trial, Vietnam has confirmed the veracity of international accusations that “Vietnam is the second largest prison in the world for Netizens advocating peaceful democratic reforms”.

“In order to solve the problem of authoritarianism at the very roots, the government should take lessons from the revolutions in the Middle East, and lead Vietnam towards a democratic system founded on the rule of law. Dictators such as Ben Ali, Moubarak of Gaddafi who sought to impose “eternal rule” were brought down by the people’s will, with the endorsement of the United Nations and the democratic community. The Vietnamese Communist Party should follow the example of Tunisia and Egypt. By so doing, it can avoid future troubles for the Party and at the same time restore the right to life and dignity of 86 million people in Vietnam.

“I call upon the Communist Party and the SRV government to take this vital step, and spare bloodshed for our people. The Vietnamese have suffered so much over the past 66 years. They should be spared the sufferings of popular uprising. The only way to avoid this is for the Communist Party and the government to embrace a peaceful process of democratisation with the full and unfettered participation of all sectors of Vietnamese society and all religious and political families”.

Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
Thanh Minh Zen Monastery, 6th April 2011