The Global Digest



Special Contribution
By Roland Watson (dictatorwatch),
Dec 11, 2016

Rohingya villagers

Imagine you are a Rohingya villager. You live in a small village in Western Burma. You live a simple life, but basically you get by. Actually, you do more than get by. You have a happy family, a rich culture, and a lot of friends.

You know that in the past your people have been targeted many times, by soldiers, police and other agents of the military dictatorship, and by local Rakhine groups. But you have been okay. You, and your village, have not been attacked.

This time, though, it’s different. The Burma Army and police are perpetrating a literal “scorched earth” offensive throughout the Rohingya homeland. They have raided village after village and then in many cases burned them down, leaving only the smoldering remains. As they do, they murder or arrest the men (many of the detainees are killed later); rape the women; steal everything of value; and often kill the women, elderly and children as well. You truly are being subjected to an organized, systematic campaign of terror.

What do you do? You are frantic - at night, you’re unable to sleep from fear. There is a road directly to your village. They can arrive at any time. You make whatever plans you can, and hope that lookouts and your dogs will give you a moment’s warning - a head-start - before truckloads of killers and rapists come.

You have a problem, though. Your area is very flat, just miles and miles of fields. You can run, but it is easy for the killers to follow. All you can do is move as fast and as far as possible, including with the elderly and the children, and hope that they don’t catch you.

In this way, your situation is different from the ethnic nationalities who have been terrorized for decades on the other side of Burma: the Mon, Karen, Karenni, Shan, Kachin, and other groups. Many live in the hills. They can run into forests, which offer much better hiding places. Some Karen, for instance, have had to flee so many times that they have learned to hide food supplies and emergency shelters, in the deepest jungles. Of course, the Burma Army soldiers often mine their villages, so they can’t return safely, and shoot them on sight if they are caught out in the open. (These areas are also “Black Zones.”) Still, their conditions - sometimes at least - allow an easier initial escape.

You don’t have that option. You’re stuck. You can wait for the killers to assault your home, or you can give up and flee to Bangladesh. (Just as so many refugees in Eastern Burma have fled to Thailand, Laos and China.) But for reasons that aren’t that clear, Bangladesh isn’t very welcoming at the moment. The country already has large Rohingya refugee camps from earlier periods of repression in Burma. It seems the government just doesn’t want to give anyone else sanctuary. Indeed, hundreds of the new refugees have already been forced back.

This is what it means now to be a Rohingya in Burma, although it’s not the entire story. Individuals who are injured or sick can’t get medical care. There’s not enough food, and many people are starving. It’s truly monstrous, a living hell.

The famous saying is that you should put yourself in another person’s shoes, to really understand them. I wrote this for everyone, especially outside of Burma, who doesn’t grasp what is being done to the Rohingya people. They are peaceful. With rare exceptions, they are not fighting back in self-defense. Very few of us have ever experienced anything like this. It is so bad, it’s difficult to comprehend. But this is what is taking place. The Rohingya are being exterminated, one by one and in small groups, and suffering incredible brutality before they are killed.

This is abominable. It’s genocide. It has to be stopped, now. Anyone who has any power at all to influence the dictatorship of Burma (foremost political leaders and diplomats), starting with its cover propagandist, Aung San Suu Kyi, is obliged to act. If you don’t, if you don’t want to risk your career, or if you are simply cold-hearted and don’t care, then you are a terrible person as well. I don’t know how you can live with yourself.

Journo body demands continue publication of Janasadharan

Special Contribution
By NJ Thakuria

Journo Lasantha's body

Guwahati: North East Union of Working Journalists (NEUWJ) expresses its anger over the sudden closure of Janasadharan (, an Assamese daily published simultaneously from Guwahati and Dibrugarh, since 19 November 2016 and requested the management to continue publishing the mainstream newspaper.

Days back, the owner of the newspaper (a senior Congress leader) called all the employees and expressed his inability to continue publishing the daily as, according to him, ‘it was losing readers rapidly’. Later a closure notice, though without anybody’s signature, was also put on the notice board.

The NEUWJ argues that many newspaper house-owners in northeast India start closing their media outlets fearing of the Supreme Court’s verdict over the implementation of Majithia Wage Board recommendations for the benefit of the print media (also news agency) employees.

According to the apex court, each and every newspaper & news agency in India must hike the salary & other benefits to their employees since November 2011 under the new wage board recommendations. As most of the media houses in the region have not implemented the recommendations till date, the deprived employees now claim up to 60 months’ outstanding payments.

The NEUWJ, in a statement issued by Joykanta Sarma, Rupam Barua, Pulin Kalita, Manoj Agasti etc, appeals to the Janasadharan management to rethink over its decision to close down the publication as it can render hundred employees jobless.

“For any unwanted reason, if the management cannot republish the newspaper, we demand legal compensations to each and every employee of the media house,” added the statement urging the State authority to look into the issue immediately.

Additionally, the northeastern scribes’ body appeals to the editor of the newspaper, Dr Sivanath Barman, who is a recognized Assamese intellectual (inclined to the Left ideology) to take personal interest in pursuing the matter with the management to resolve the crisis amicably.

Campaign on "9th Anniversary of September uprising” - Burmese anti-dictator government movement

Sep 25, 2016

Protest in-front of Myanmar Embassy in Seoul

We are a group of ethnics people from Myanmar based in South Korea. Our organization’s name is the All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network. Today we are holding a pro-democracy and ethnic-rights demonstration in front of the Myanmar Embassy, in the event of “9th anniversary of September uprising” against military government in 2007.

Today marks the 9th anniversary of the “September uprising” which started in 2007. Where many of innocent people were killed by Myanmar military junta, including monks and activists. We, the All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network strongly condemn the Myanmar military junta for crime against humanity and human rights violation.

Members of All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network

Although current new government promised to promote democracy, but the ethnic minorities of Myanmar are threatened more than other sectors of the population. There are continued conflict between ethnic groups and the military junta along the border areas of the ethnic regions.

Therefore, we, the All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network, demand that the Myanmar military junta: (1) Make amendment of the constitution, for examples, 25% seats at parliament for soldier (2) For religious freedom, it shouldn’t be Buddhism position above other religions.

Furthermore, we ask that the government of the Republic of Korea and the international community show staunch support for the cause democracy and the end of ethnic repression in Myanmar. We also ask for a greater support for the ethnic victims from the repression and violence in Myanmar.

Note: “All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network” is promoting democracy and human rights for Myanmar.

Women Leaders of Northeast India Converged at a Historic Peace Congregation in Guwahati

Special Contribution
By Hemanta Kumar Nath

At Guwahati

Guwahati, August 24 : After several years of hard work on the issue, women from 8 states congregated on Wednesdayt at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakashetrain in Guwahati, Assam. The event was convened by Control Arms Foundation of India in collaboration with Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, NERSWN, CARDS, Jindal School of International Affairs,O. P. Jindal Global University, FLO NE, Eclectic NEand Doctors for You.

The Convenor of this historic women peace congregation, Binalakshmi Nepram said that Northeast India Women Peace Congregation is a historic event which for the first time brings together women leaders from all across Northeast India in Guwahati. “These remarkable women with help through their words, deeds and action will bring the much needed peace in the Northeast Region. We salute each & every woman leader who is a part of this congregation,” Nepram said.

Speaking at the historic event, Roshmi Goswami Chairperson of FST said that the energy of peace buildersacross nation and states need to be given due positive weightage. There exist exclusions and these are main reasons for conflicts taking place. One of chief reason for displacement is conflict. “Women confront subjugation at home, in society, local, National, International levels. All is need to transform the status quo. Another area which requires immediate intervention is on patriarchal powers. Women need to empower at local levels and henceforth. In this 21st century Market forces enjoys an important space in the society. But why market forces are controllingMilitarization. National Action Plan only works if there is a commitment of resources, if there is Government need to give budgetary allocation. The Government need to value women as peace builders and support the cause is necessary for it to work well,” Roshmi Goswami said.

Rose Mangshi, President, Kuki Women Union spoke on the role played by women of Manipur in bringing peace in Manipur in times of ethnic clashes in Manipur; the Kuki Naga Clash, the Meitei and Meitei Muslim clash. In such darkest times, women in Manipur came in solidarity for discussions dialogues and reconciliation to bring peace in Manipur. She highlighted the recent hard work undergone by women leaders of Manipur lead by women leaders of different communities Kuki, Naga, Meitei and Meitei pangal, working day and night to calm down the warring devide between the hills and valleys of Manipur due to misrepresentation of the ILP bills and how they could calm down the situation in Manipur.

So it is very important to include women in decision making process. Only then we can have peace. NeidonuoAngami, Naga Mothers Founders shared personal stories of the inception of Naga Mothers. She said throughout their journey they have received immense support from to society. She shared they have tried to personally tried to catch the trafficking kingpin and some of their members physically tried to stop him then only the police intervened.

She later shared that the fellow villagers organized a community football match. She towards the and also shared the story of shred the blood initiative of her organization. The draft National Action Plan on women peace and security drafted but women of northeast was also released at the event. Dr.Samrat Sinha, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P.Jindal Global University through his holistic empirical Research on Impact of Conflict on women & Children with the need for National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security the speaker brought through his presentation Issues from J&K, Naxal Zone affected states & NE.

Around 1 million people have experienced displacement due to various episodes of conflict. He stressed on the challenges for central welfare schemes for women &children directly affected by conflict are outreach & identification of beneficiaries and suggested that civil society & government agencies can work together to improve delivery of the schemes. Last year, in consultation with 8 states’ women leaders we developed a Draft National Action Plan and it was submitted to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs MrKirenRijiju and he assured that the women in India will be included in important positions.

The implementation of a NAP in Northeast India on issues concerning Women Peace and Security in the region will help in the increase of absolute participation of women in decision making forums and space, the inclusion of women as peace agents and socio-economic empowerment of women of the region which will help in consolidating peace in the conflict affected region. The issue of violence against women, lack of women in decision making bodies, reasons to why women are underrepresented in Northeastern states and central legislative assemblies will also fall under this attempt to understanding and finding ways of building peace. Besides, many of the internationally renowned United Nations Resolutions on women and peace building remains just on paper such as United Nations Resolution 1325 and 1820. Hence time is ripe for us to look at empower women in India's Northeast in a concrete and constructive way.

Others speakers of the event include TanushreeHazarika, Eclectic Northeast, Pratibha Brahma, Member of North East Research & Social Work Networking (NERSWN), Bodoland, Assam, Sitara Begum, Muslim Women Leader, Manipur, Rinyui Chon, Credit Manager, Ukhrul District Women’s Institute of Microfinance, Manipur,MsRebinaSubba, Member State Women Commission Meghalaya, Meghalaya, Prof. Lalneihzovi, HoD, Public Administration, Mizoram University, DeyangDolkarGyatso, President, Bikstang Heritage, Sikkim, Kanchan Sinha, Drugs Control Organization, Government of Tripura, JarjumIte, Chairperson, State Women Commission, Arunachal Pradesh.

For the past many years, according to Control Arms Foundation of India and Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, efforts have been made for women to bring together to seek a peaceful solution to the complex problem which exist in Northeast India. Northeast India has been part of seventeen peace talks for the past seventeen years but a cursory glance will reveal that the number of women in all talks and negotiations have been two, out of which one is alive now.

Australia must press Vietnam for concrete progress at upcoming Human Rights Dialogue in Hanoi

Australia’s Ambassador Hugh Borrowman(L)

PARIS 2nd August 2016 (VCHR) – Australia must use upcoming talks with Vietnam to demand that Hanoi urgently address serious human rights violations, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) said today. The organization made the call ahead of the Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue to be held in Hanoi this Thursday, 4th August 2016.

VCHR stressed that the dialogue takes place as Vietnam is stepping up violence against civil society activists, brutally quelling peaceful demonstrations and adopting an arsenal of restrictive laws which entrench its repressive human rights policies and criminalize the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, religion, assembly and association. “Over the past year, Vietnam has adopted more repressive legislation than ever before, and Police brutality against human rights defenders is escalating”, said VCHR President Võ Văn Ái. “Australia should use the talks to pressure Vietnam to make concrete, measurable and time-bound progress in respecting human rights”.

In a submission to the Australian government ahead of the dialogue, the VCHR raised concerns about the impact of the dialogue process itself. Australia is the only Asia-Pacific country to have a human rights dialogue with Vietnam (other countries are the USA, the EU, Switzerland and Norway). Launched in 2002 and held alternately in Canberra and Hanoi, the dialogue is now in its 13th round. Yet after almost 15 years of dialogue, Vietnam has made little effort towards progress. “The human rights dialogue is an accepted policy tool, and its existence is not in question” said Võ Văn Ái. “But it can only be effective if it is a two way process. We are concerned that Vietnam is using the dialogue as a smoke-screen to mask its continuing human rights abuses, with no real intention to make improvements on the ground”.

The recent adoption of extensive restrictive legislation – and new laws coming up for debate in the National Assembly – shows clearly that Vietnam’s aim is not to protect or uphold human rights, but to establish a coercive legal framework to suppress free expression and restrict the exercise of individual rights. The Criminal Code, amended in November 2015, fails to remove vaguely-worded “national security” offences as demanded by the international community and Vietnamese civil society. These include political crimes such as “conducting propaganda against the state”, “activities aimed to overthrow the people’s administration”, “undermining national solidarity”, or “abusing the rights to freedom and democracy to infringe upon national interests”.

On the contrary, punishment for “Crimes of Infringing upon National Security” (Chapter XIII of the amended Criminal Code) is reinforced. New provisions give prison sentences of six months to five years for the extremely vague notion of “preparing to commit” offences listed in this chapter (the word chuẩn bị” (prepare) in Vietnamese could be interpreted as anything from making actual preparations to simply having thoughts or ideas). In addition, the Code includes a new crime of “terrorist activities aimed at opposing the people’s administration” which is punishable by death, as well as a whole new chapter on crimes concerning the Internet. (The amended Criminal Code was to come into force in July 2016, but had been delayed until July 2017 because of multiple errors in the text).

In April 2016 alone, Vietnam adopted a “Law on Access to Information” which is inconsistent with international standards of transparency and accountability; an amended “Press Law” which increases restrictions on freedom of expression, and maintains the ban on independent media and a free press; Ministry of Public Security Circular 13 which empowers Police to suppress demonstrations outside Courts and arrest human rights defenders protesting unfair trials or expressing solidarity with fellow activists. A Law on Associations is also in preparation which is deeply flawed and violates the right to freedom of association.

Freedom of religion or belief is seriously threatened in Vietnam. A new Law on Belief and Religion will soon be adopted by the National Assembly which will impose severe controls on the right to freedom of religion and belief. VCHR called on Australia to use the dialogue to press Vietnam to withdraw the present draft (No. 5/c), and work on a new draft in conformity with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Members of religious communities, especially those not recognized by the State, are the target of continuous harassments. VCHR described repression against the independent Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), and the situation of UBCV Patriarch Thích Quảng Độ, who is in poor health as a result of decades of detention and house arrest. UBCV Deputy Leader Thích Thanh Quang in Danang and Buddhist Youth Movement leader Lê Công Cầu in Huế have been subjected to harassments, interrogations and travel restrictions. Both men were prevented from travelling to Ho Chi Minh City in May 2016 to meet a delegation of Australian diplomats inquiring into the situation of the UBCV.

VCHR urged Australia to press Vietnam to immediately and unconditionally release Thích Quảng Độ, lift all constraints, surveillance and Police controls and allow him full freedom of religious activity. Australia should call upon Vietnam to recognize the legal status of the UBCV and all other religious bodies who cannot or choose not to register with the state. As the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Heiner Bielefeldt declared during his visit to Vietnam in July 2014, the autonomy of religious organizations is the litmus test for religious freedom in Vietnam.

The Narmada valley is now being pushed to the verge of destruction

The Narmada valley

The Narmada valley – one of the world’s oldest civilizations – is now being pushed to the verge of destruction. Passing through 30 major and 135 mid-sized dams, this river will be converted into several lakes. The construction of each of these dams, has led not only to the displacement of lakhs of people, but also to destruction of extremely fertile farms, orchards, forests, thousands of trees in the villages, temples, mosques and schools as well indigenous artisan-ship and trade. It caused even the uprootment of a village like Harsud as the region was destroyed and its residents never rehabilitated.

As soon as the Modi government came to power, they took a decision to impose illegal submergence. By authorizing the continuance of the work on the dam, they denied the Supreme Court’s ruling and the efforts of 31 years’ worth legal and grass-roots struggle, which had resulted in the formulation of a progressive rehabilitation policy and scheme. The submergence of households, farms in 244 villages and the Dharampuri town were authorized, without ensuring the rehabilitation of more than 40,000 families or restoring land to thousands or providing alternative means of employment, facilities and irrigation. 14000 families in Gujarat and Maharashtra were rehabilitated. However, 1500 families in the hilly tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat remain without rehabilitation. On the other hand, the heavily populated plain regions of Madhya Pradesh comprising villages that previously had pukka housing, more than 45000 families remain without rehabilitation. The Modi government has also completed the construction of gates on Sardar Sarovar Dam now. After installing the gates, the dam’s height would be elevated to 138.68 meters. All that remains is to install the gates. At this juncture the conspiracy to condemn them to a watery grave is cruel injustice. Is this justice? Is this acceptable even in the name of development?

The systematic diversion of water to industries such as Coca-Cola and companies of Ambani and Adani have betrayed the drought-affected in the region of Kutch – Saurashtra in Gujarat. In the past 30 years, only 30-40% of the proposed canals have been constructed.However, the government continues to further work on the dam without any intention of completing canal work, thereby depriving farmers of proper irrigation facilities. The Coca-Cola plant receives 30 lakh liters of water every day, after honoring the agreement to provide 60 lakh liters of water per day, the area falling in the industrial corridor alone is being provided with 5 lakh hectares of land and surplus water. This is being done at the expense of thousands of villages by providing minimal relief to the drought affected areas of Kutch - Suarashtra. The provision of extra water to cities such as Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodra in key schemes is in itself an unjust transition. The most serious issue is that it has been officially declared that the original outlay of the dam be increased from 4200 crores to 90,000 crores INR.

Even though the investment in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh runs into thousands of crores, they don’t givethem its rightful share of electricity. Gujarat has asked to be compensated for the loss resulting from closure of the power house; however, M.P continues to be unresponsive. In addition to submerging the natural wealth of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and displacing lakhs of people, they are denied even one drop of the dam’s water. In such a situation it is essential to demand stoppage of the dam’s work until the entire displaced population is completely rehabilitated with proper amenities.The Modi government has distorted the Supreme Court recommendation and the former government’s written assurance and continued work on the dam to elevate its height from 121.92 mtrs to 138.68 mtrs.

The High Court appointed Jha committee, which conducted an investigation lasting seven years into corruption charges against M.P’s rehabilitation process, was prevented from revealing the report’s findings. The report highlights how many thousands of families were given false registry papers in exchange fortheir property and how many thousands of families did not receive alternative means of employment, how many crores of rupees were wasted at the rehabilitation sites without even ensuring that they were inhabitable. This report has been handed over by the Supreme Court to the M.P government only. In such a situation how much havoc and misery the impending monsoons would wreak in the wake of submergence can be imagined. There are thousands of families in the 177 villages of M.P alone. Even without any floods, in 2013 also many localities, households and farms were submerged in the plains of M.P. By showing factually incorrect backwater levels after 30 years, the M.P government stated that they rescued 16,000 families. People cannot go on tolerating this injustice silently. The Narmada Satyagraha will begin with prevention of the dam gates from closing and the resolving to resist further submergence, until people have acquired their rights.

The rallybegins on the 30th of July at Rajghat in Badwani district, M.P on the banks of Narmada alongside the Mahatma and Kasturba Gandhi Memorial. It shall be reiterated that the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam shall not be closed and that they be properly rehabilitated on legally authorized land and rehabilitation settlements with all requisite facilities and alternative means of employment. According to the new Land Acquisition act passed in 2013, displaced people’s rightful ownership of their property should be recognized. All the different state governments should give the right information about M.P, Maharashtra and Gujarat and submit affidavits to this effect to the people.

It would also demand that the findings of the Jha committee, which reveals the corruption of 1000-1500 crores INR that took place in the M.P. rehabilitation process, as well as the declaration of the action to be taken against this, be made public. A cost benefit and cost distribution analysis should be carried out of the environmental effects of the Sardar Sarovar dam. In the state of Gujarat, the benefits of the dam be given only to farmers, the indigenous tribal population and drought affected areas and land in the areas that benefit from the dam, not be allotted to industrialists. The existence of River Narmadais deeply entwined with all these issues. The M.P government’s various link schemes that aim to divert water from the Narmada to other rivers such as Kshipra, Gambheer, Mahi, and Kalisindh at the rate of 5000 to 15000 litres per second will not only cause water pollution but also endanger the existence of the Narmada. The only beneficiaries of such schemes are corporate conglomerates. By not releasing water for farming, irrigation, drought affected regions and for village and tribal populations and instead advertising the availability of 25000 hectares of land along with the Narmada’s water for industrialists is a way of tempting more investment in the region. The schemes of the M.P government will only cause destruction of the Narmada Valley and the Sardar Sarovar dam. How can this destruction lead to development? And if it does, who will it benefit and at what cost? From 13th to 15th July, Narmada Parikrama has been planned in the Narmada valley. This will pass through several villages and towns. The programme between 17th and 22nd July will also be announced shortly.

Kindly, reach Indore Railway Station on 29th July at 11 AM to join #RallyForTheValley, where thousands of supporters will gather and come together to join Narmada Satyagrah or reach Badwani (Madhya Pradesh) directly on 30th July to join the Narmada Satyagraha. Please inform and urge your associates and other well-wishers to attend. We also request you to inform us of your arrival. This is the time when supporters of alternative development, human rights activists, sensitive and progressive citizens, devotees of Narmada and NGO workers from all over the country should get together to strengthen this 31 years old movement. Become the hope and support of lakhs of people!

Yours Sincerely, Bhagirath Dhangar, Kailash Yadav, Mohan bhai Patidar, Sanobarbi Mansuri, Shyama Machuara, Bala Yadav, Ramesh Prajapati, Dev Singh Tomar, Jeekubai Tadvi, Ratan Vasave, Punya Vasave, Noorji Padvi, Chetan Salve, Vijay Valvi, Medha Patkar, Vimalbhai (Delhi) – 9718479517, Shabnam (Delhi) – 9643349452, Rahul Yadav (Badwani) – 9179617513, Ashwin (Badwani) – 8754491150, Chetan Salve (Maharashtra) – 9420375730, Latika (Maharashtra) - 9420151384, Yogini - 9423144390, (Maharashtra), Parveen Jahangir, (Mumbai) - 9820636335, Vijaya Chauhan, (Mumbai) - 9820236267 Suniti (Pune) - 9423571784, Sham Patil, Dhuliya – 9423496020, Pramod Bagdi (Indore)- 9827021000.

To build a genuine democracy and stop Ethnic conflicts in Myanmar

June 26, 2016

Members of All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network

Today we are protesting in the front of Myanmar embassy, in memorial of our student leader - a hero ‘Salai Tin Maung Oo’ who was deliberately killed by Myanmar military junta due to his democracy and freedom movement. This is the memorial of 40th anniversary of Salai Tin Maung Oo assassination, that Myanmar’s military junta killed him on June 24, 1976. We “All Ethnics Democracy and Human Rights Network” are strongly condemned for the Myanmar military government’s action for that.

Myanmar is remained conflict and uncertainty of future democracy in the country. The consequence of military rule for several decades, ethnic states have no chance to administering their own region properly, there are ongoing religious and ethnics clash.

Therefore, we asked for our democracy and ethnic-civil rights: (1) Admit and apology for killing Salai Tin Maung Oo. (2) Stop continues civil war and human rights violation. (3) Stop military interfering in civilian government. Remove 25 % military seats at parliament which guaranteed by the constitution. (4) We also request the authority bring soldiers to justice for shooting a Kachin student Gum Seng Aung.

We demand Myanmar quasi-military government on policy issue: (1) We support current government to organize “Peace Conference” with all relevant people participation. (2) We opposed another “Panglong Conference,” because its not necessary and not relevant.

And we ask South Korea government and International community to support on our course of democracy movement and effort to transform a genuine democracy system in Myanmar. A freedom Myanmar can help regional and international peace and prosperity.

Also we ask to support and help-out the ethnic victims in inside the country and asylum seekers around the world.


Special Contribution
By Roland Watson(DictatorWatch)
Jun 1, 2016

Karen IDP

The Myanmar Times has a report today on the long-delayed religion and ethnic population breakdowns from the 2014 Burma national census.

According to U Myint Kyaing, from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the religion data will be released by August. However, the ethnic information will continue to be withheld. He said that the ethnic data would only be published after discussions with ethnic leaders; that there were “unspecified problems”; and that “the discussions will likely take some time.”

This is an outrage. It is completely non-transparent and undemocratic. In fact, the U.N. Population Fund, which organized the census, backed its full release last October.

The census is still being censored. This is extremely significant. The ethnic nationality peoples and their leaders should view this with the gravest of concern. Aung San Suu Kyi is clearly responsible. She controls the government and makes every important decision. This raises the question: Why doesn’t she want the results published?

Under her timetable, the data will not be available before any new peace talks and also the hypothetical Second Panglong Conference. This in turn harms the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs). If the census shows that the ethnic populations are larger than the rough estimates offered by the so-called majority Burmans, the ethnic negotiators will have a stronger bargaining position. Indeed, if - as some people suspect - the ethnic nationalities as a whole comprise greater than 50% of the population, meaning the Burmans are not the majority, this would provide great support to the ethnic demands for constitutionally-enshrined federalism and self-determination.

It seems as if Suu Kyi is trying to push through a deal, as soon as possible, even if it is bad for the ethnic nationalities. The best way to do this, she apparently believes, is to keep the EAOs at a disadvantage - to follow the dictator’s playbook.

All of this further raises the question of how the Burman-dominated NLD government can properly represent the ethnic peoples, as is already being debated following its refusal to appoint ethnic party leaders in Arakan and Shan States, and through refusing ethnic MP requests to help IDPs in those states.

Suu Kyi is Burman; the NLD is Burman; and the military dictatorship is Burman. With the census results still blocked, it is not unreasonable to suspect the worst. Suu Kyi and the generals are running the country for the Burmans’ benefit. She is helping Than Shwe transition the nation to the next generation of Burmans Uber Alles.

Forest Minister assured no injustice shall be meted out to poor - GBGBA delegation met minister regarding slums near mangrove area

The mangrove areas in Mumbai

Mumbai | 20th April, 2016: A delegation from the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, today met Maharashtra state Forest Minister Shri. Sudhir Mungantiwar. The meeting was scheduled in the wake of massive demolition of slums being carried out by the Mangrove Cell (Maharashtra Forest Dept.) near the mangrove areas in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Around 4000 families have been evicted by the Cell so far. Plans are afoot to further evict more slums near mangrove areas.

A delegation comprised of social activist Ms. Medha Patkar, Bilal Khan, representatives from slums-Uday Mohite, Shriram Rjbhar, Mauluddin Hawari and Rehmat Sayyad, who met the minister, informed him about the agony the evicted slum residents going through after becoming homeless. The minister showed sensitiveness to the issue and assured helping steps. He assured that no pre-2005 slum will be evicted while a ‘Joint Forest Management’ concept can be formulated for slums near the mangrove areas to avoid eviction. On the issue of mangrove trees destruction, which was pointed out by Ms. Medha Patkar through a report, the minister directed his department to start a helpline number to register complaint of mangrove destruction and to evolve a system for taking firm actions on the complaints.

Mr. Mungantiwar, who is also planning minister of the state of Maharashtra, has shown an interest in chalking out a plan to provide housing to the poor citizens. When offered a mega plan of providing housing to poor citizens of the city, Minister responded by promising a separate meeting for a presentation. The Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) welcomes the positive assurances received from the Minister. GBGBA will work in collaboration with the ministry to ensure compliance of the assurance.


Special Contribution
By Roland Watson(Dictator Watch)
Mar 27, 2016

Xi Jinping of the Communist Party of China


Behind the scenes, the Communist Party of China is worried, if not in an actual panic. It has mismanaged both the economy and financial markets. And, it is involved in a never-ending, and escalating, war with the people of the country, who want human rights and democracy. The pressure the communist leaders face will never go away. While for the moment they may have extreme power and wealth, they can never relax.

For the economy, China became the world’s factory, but now foreign consumers do not want so many goods. Even worse, the leaders blocked the formation of a middle class (which would normally follow a long period of economic expansion), and which would have created a new source of demand. Their fear: A middle class would insist on democratic change. They can’t have that. Instead, they followed the dictator’s playbook, and kept the bulk of the population impoverished. The people were able to work in the factories, certainly, but at the wages of a serf.

The principal beneficiaries of the economic activity were the apparatchiks. They were then encouraged to flock to the stock market, with the promise that the Party would keep the prices rising forever. Here, though, the top leaders made a mistake. They manipulated the market (and the broader economy - this is a common pattern in corrupt developing nations) so that, as the largest investors of all, they would pocket astronomical sums. But, in the process they ignored its underlying, and immutable, rules - that greater reward requires greater risk, and that what goes up will come down. Chinese stock prices bubbled up (along with housing prices), and then rapidly deflated. The lower-level apparatchiks lost a large part of the wealth they had accumulated from running the sweatshops, and were saddled with large loans. Now, there is no way to re-inflate the bubbles, or resume legitimate economic growth (the published economic data is dubious if not a complete fantasy); and, to top it off, the currency, the Yuan, is under pressure. A currency reflects a nation’s economy. If the latter weakens, the former does as well, and which international speculators - hedge funds - do their best to accelerate. The one thing the communists had going for them, an economic machine, and which replaced the storied “iron rice bowl” and kept the masses pacified, is failing.

The Party fired its head securities regulator, a sacrificial victim - he just did what he was told to do, and is now trying to assure the world - and the Chinese people, that it can prevent a crisis in the economy, and stock market, and currency. We shall see. All of this economic and financial turmoil provides an ideal opportunity for the people to throw off their oppression and to rise up. Nonetheless, the communists remains strong, and brutal, so - as everyone realizes - democratic change will be difficult to achieve. But, it is coming. The dictators cannot maintain control forever. And, with a bold approach, their day of reckoning can be brought forward, by years if not decades.

Hong Kong

One advantage the mainland people of China have is their co-citizenry, the residents of Hong Kong. Because of the one country-two systems structure, they are not so repressed - or pacified. The mainland can follow Hong Kong’s lead, which in turn puts the onus on its residents. They must fight not only to maintain their own democracy, but to provide an example for all the people of China.

There was a pro-democracy revolution in Hong Kong in 2014, the Umbrella movement, to force the local government to back down from giving Beijing a say over who may run for office in the upcoming 2017 election. This was a large uprising, but ultimately it failed. The Hong Kong Administration did not back down. As I wrote in an article at the time, the protestors needed three things: fierce leaders; growing numbers; and international support. For the first, the movement took the form of a coalition, including Occupy Central, Scholarism, and other groups. Some of their leaders were fierce, but in the face of a government crackdown others wavered. For the second, the protests grew to the low hundreds of thousands. This number, while massive, proved to be insufficient. Finally, there was no real international support.

Of the three factors, I believe the second was the most important. Had the movement grown to a million or more, it would have succeeded. The question, then, is why it didn’t. The government crackdown of course dissuaded more people from joining, as was its goal, and counter-protests were organized as well. But, while these were substantial barriers, the real issue was the movement’s organization. Everyone was out protesting and the leaders were on stage and subject to arrest. While it was difficult if not impossible to anticipate what would happen, the movement should have created a separate, behind-the scenes, organizing team dedicated to increasing the turnout, day-by-day. This should have included media relations - public calls on both traditional and social media for more protestors, and also efforts to counter government lies.

Since the objective was not achieved, it’s clear that Hong Kong needs another uprising. The people must force the government to yield. There must be a victory, most importantly, to show all the people of China that the Communist Party can be beaten. In this new uprising, Hong Kong organizers should further concentrate on increasing the size of the protest until it washes over the government like a tsunami, including by having a plan to get as many people as possible out when the protest is triggered, and then with a separate team, not on the streets and subject to arrest, to keep the demonstration growing.

Mainland China

Ideally, a new protest in Hong Kong would spread to the mainland. But, since Party agents there are so repressive - they are like predators, a number of additional steps will be required. To encourage large numbers of people to demonstrate in the mainland’s cities, the public needs to be agitated such that they are so angry they lose their fear. And, the best way to lose one’s fear is to believe that something is possible.

People on the mainland do protest, of course, and quite often: against poor working conditions, pollution, government corruption, and other grievances. Local conditions are often so bad that the people will fight back. Furthermore, for fear of igniting larger protests, the authorities regularly back down. The model, therefore, is in place. What is required is an underground movement to create widespread agitation for human rights and democracy. Then, with the people angry and the country unsettled, the stage is set for a real uprising, for example, in response to new events in Hong Kong. The Communist Party is terrible: A monster. But, because of censorship most Chinese are poorly informed about this. Instead, they are fed lies that the Party is the savior. The people need an underground revolutionary movement to counter this. Once they know the truth, how they have been deceived, they will be angry enough to rise up.

Fortunately, this type of movement is straightforward to create. If done with care, it can further involve minimal risk: indeed, less that protesting. What I am referring to is an agitation-propaganda, or agit-prop, campaign. Agitators, singly and in small groups, can pepper the walls of the mainland’s cities with revolutionary graffiti and fliers. A call for this type of action could further easily be spread around the country, in defiance of the Party’s censorship, using social media.

A propaganda movement often has a number of distinct elements, including revolutionary images, slogans, and fliers. For instance, for Hong Kong - the territory needs an agitation movement as well, the image could be a picture of an umbrella. Activists, using a stencil and spray paint, could put it everywhere, under the cover of darkness. Of course, it doesn’t have to be an umbrella. The image could be anything. For example, for the mainland it could be the characters for June 4, 1989, referencing the Tiananmen Square democracy movement, or simply the word “democracy,” etc. There could be a number of different images, and accompanying revolutionary slogans. Fliers in turn fill in the story, providing substance to the demands of the slogans. Short descriptions of Party crimes and corruption should be taped to walls, or just left where people can find them. Indeed, Falun Gong’s Nine Commentaries is an excellent source of information about the Party’s historic atrocities and crimes, and which could be supplemented with information on more recent events.

Actually, the underground movement should not only focus on the job of removing the dictators. It is important to remember that a democratic transition has two stages: Overthrowing the regime; and installing a well-functioning democracy, tailored to the nation’s history and conditions. The Chinese people need to have a wide-ranging discussion about the second stage, at the same time that they confront the Party. Through doing this, the movement will also develop a positive focus, on what a democratic China will look like, as well as give the people hope that such a future is achievable. (Note: this is a good reason to infiltrate the Chinese translation of my short guide, Lessons In Democracy. The Chinese people can have a better discussion about implementing the democratic system if they understand how it is meant to work.

Finally, the most effective structure for a revolutionary agit-prop campaign is one that is decentralized and non-hierarchical. This holds for protests as well. This reduces the common problem of disputes arising among the leaders, and it further keeps the movement alive in the event that activists are arrested. Even so, it is imperative that everything possible be done to avoid arrest. For protests, having huge numbers of people in the streets is a defense in and of itself. If regime agents do make arrests, the demonstrators can often be “un-arrested” as well, such as by swarming the police stations where they are held. For nighttime propagandists, though, precautions are essential. Actions should be rehearsed, in different clothes, before any graffiti is written or fliers placed. And, absolute secrecy should be maintained. Don’t tell anyone what you have done.


In a popular movement there are many groups. The onstage leaders, and underground activists who do direct action, bear the greatest risk. Next are other organizers, both for protests and underground action. Then come the protestors, and finally the rest of the population. Opposed to the movement are the top dictators; their formal repression apparatus including the army and the police; and plain clothes agents and spies. The intermediate objectives of the movement are to get more members of the public to join the protest; to get more people to bear more risk (risk/reward holds here as well); and to get dictatorship members and agents to join the movement in secret. If these objectives are achieved, the regime can be overthrown.

The people of China deserve democracy, but it will take a popular revolution to achieve it. The people of Hong Kong also need to defend their rights under the one country, two systems principle. These two missions are linked. The indigenous of Hong Kong must demonstrate to preserve their rights, and through doing so help lead the people of the mainland to demand change, who in turn must engender a collection of underground activists, to create revolutionary propaganda and through it the conditions for widespread rebellion. Only through this can the people’s aspirations be fulfilled, and the country reach a stable and tranquil equilibrium.

Update on Sirikan Charoensiri’s case: Inquiry official will file the charge to await the prosecution order

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri

3 March 2016, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri received a summon warrant to report herself to the inquiry official at the Chana Songkram Police Station in order to be handed over to the special prosecutor in litigious division at the 3rd Sub District Court (Dusit) on 4 March 2016. The lawyer team will submit a request to postpone the date to 9 March, the date which was formerly fixed, and Sirikan will give an additional statement to the inquiry official on 5 March and 7 March at the Police Station.

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, was accused by police officer for refusing to comply with a competent official (Article 368 of the Criminal Code) and concealing evidence (Article 142 of the Criminal Code). This was related to the incident which Sirikan did not allow the officers to search her car without warrant in the night of 26 – 27 June 2015. She had been informed of the charge on 9 February 2016.

On 1 March 2016, Sirikan’s lawyer team had negotiated with the inquiry official of the Chana Songkram Police Station that Sirikan will give an additional statement as an alleged offender. In her defense, Mr. Kritsadang Nutcharus, one of the lawyers, will give a statement as a witness on 5 March 2016 at 9.00. Also, Mr. Anon Nampa and Ms. Ida Arunwong will give a statement as witnesses on 7 March 2016. The witness statement will be submitted alongside with the file to the prosecutor on 9 March 2016

However, today (3 March 2016) Sirikan received a summon warrant calling her to report to the inquiry official in order to be handed over to the special prosecutor in litigious division at the 3rd Sub district Court (Dusit) on 4 March 2016 at 10.00 , together with the inquiry official’s file requesting the prosecution order. Her lawyer team will file a request to have the dates fixed on 5, 7, and 9 March 2016 as originally agreed, and will file a motion to drop her charges to the prosecutor.

It should be noted that so far there is no update on the offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence, which may likely cause damages to the other person or the public (Articles 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code) in relation to Sirikan having filed a complaint for malfeasance against police officers for illegally impounding her car.

Swaraj Abhiyan condemns the breach of constitutional mandate and disrespect by AAP to an elected representative Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar.

Special Report
By Swaraj Abhiyan
Feb 14, 2016

The residents of Timarpur

In a shocking case of breach of constitutional mandate and disrespect to an elected public representative, the MLA of Timarpur was not even informed about an inauguration function for an upgraded dispensary in his own constituency. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the dispensary accompanied by the MLA from Wazirpur. It is an insult to the local people that their elected public representative was not informed and MLA from a different constituency was imported to grace the event.

Pankaj Pushkar reached the dispensary on his own, met the doctors and welcomed its upgradation. It came as a surprise to know that the DMS had no idea whether it was a party function or a government function. The medical superintendent told that he only followed what was asked to him by the health ministry. Swaraj Abhiyan considers it unfortunate that the government of Delhi turned a public event into a party function.

AAP workers at the venue manhandled some local people and also tried to snatch the press card of a reporter. The act of intolerant AAP workers is objectionable and demands strict action by the party.

Swaraj Abhiyan condemns the sheer brazenness of Delhi government of using public money for furthering its own petty political agenda at the cost of democratic ethics.

This is not just a one-off case but symptomatic of the political culture in the Aam Aadmi Party regime. The residents of Timarpur were today pained and shocked at the disrespect and have resolved to leave no stone unturned in exposing the dirty games of the Aam Aadmi Party.

THAILAND: Rights defenders threatened for documenting army torture

Feb 12, 2016

Thai army

On 11 February 2016 the Thai army threatened human rights defenders for documenting the military’s continued use of torture on detainees in the country’s south. Major General Banpot Poonpien, the spokesperson for a specialist counterinsurgency agency, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), accused the human rights groups of fabricating accounts of torture to obtain funding from abroad. He also asked whether or not the groups had the mandate to investigate the work of state officers. He ended with the threat that they could be committing defamation by issuing a report referring to international law.

The army statement followed the release of a 49-page report by three local groups, the Cross Cultural Foundation, Duayjai and Patani Human Rights Organisation, documenting 54 cases of torture in the south of Thailand, 32 of them in 2014 and 2015 alone. The methods of torture documented include beatings, strangulation, mock execution, crushing of body parts (including the head), drowning, stress positions, electric shocks, sexual assault, extended confinement in extremely cold rooms or in the sun, and use of loud noises and other methods to disturb the detainee and prevent sleep. The torture was conducted inside major army camps and facilities in the south as well as at the emplacements of special force units throughout the region, including at the compounds of Buddhist temples where soldiers are situated.

Given the intense militarisation and intimidation of the populace in the south of Thailand, this number of cases is likely only a small fraction of the total number of torture cases in the south; to say nothing of Thailand as a whole. Documentation of torture and support for survivors in the south is especially difficult, and the work of these groups has been conducted in recent years with special caution and in accordance with international standards set down by the Istanbul Protocol. It also has been supported in part by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. In addition to documenting and advocating on the incidence of torture, presently the groups are aiming to raise funds for the establishment of centres to provide comprehensive support to survivors: something that the government of Thailand has manifestly failed to do.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates and commends these groups for their work on this report and with survivors of torture in the south of Thailand. It denounces the response of ISOC to the report. The allegation that the groups might have fabricated the report’s contents to attract funding is laughable. It would be funny but for the fact that the army in Thailand, which today has the dubious distinction of being the only country in Southeast Asia ruled outright by a military dictatorship, has the capacity to make good on outlandish threats of exactly this sort.

The most telling aspect of the army’s response to the report is not the manner in which denials of wrongdoing were issued but rather Major General Banpot’s rhetorical question of under what mandate—by what power and with what responsibility—the human rights groups scrutinized the work of state officers. This response reveals that the Thai army’s mentality remains “nobody has a right to investigate us”. It is indicative of the attitude that the army has and will continue to enjoy impunity for its crimes committed against civilians. This attitude is one of the motivations for the army to intervene repeatedly to impede, obstruct and destroy the prospects for democratization in Thailand. After all, it is a condition of democratization that military personnel must be subject to scrutiny and oversight by civilians. This condition is one that the Thai army cannot and will not tolerate, as shown clearly by the response of Major General Banpot to the human rights defenders’ report, as well as by its continued use of torture with impunity as documented in the report.

The AHRC urges all concerned groups in Thailand and abroad to join in solidarity with these rights defenders and send a clear and loud message to the Thai army that its bullying tactics will not be tolerated. The threat by ISOC to the human rights defenders deserves the strongest condemnation from all concerned members of the international community, especially all United Nations procedures concerned with the elimination of torture. That the invocation of international law by human rights groups should by construed as constituting some kind of defamation against the Thai army is not only nonsense, it is dangerous nonsense. The whole premise of international law is that where domestic law is lacking or deficient, it serves precisely the role that the human rights defenders in Thailand have assigned to it. The implication of the army officer’s statement is that the entire international legal regime lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the Thai military.

In this regard, it is notable that Thailand has already joined the UN Convention against Torture but has failed in its responsibility to translate the standards of international law into domestic equivalents, as required by the Convention. Thus, if Major General Banpot or his counterparts seek to criticize anyone in this regard, the Asian Human Rights Commission recommends that they turn their attention to the failures of their own government to fulfil its obligations under international standards to which it has voluntarily subscribed. They should cease laying the blame for the human rights abuses of the Thai military on those persons who do no more than document them, and seek to support the survivors of torture, arbitrary detention and other crimes under international law.

(The full text of the statement by ISOC is available here: (The full report on “Torture and Ill-Treatment in the Deep South” is available here:

Bhim Yatra Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 125th Birth centenary National Bus Yatra of Safaikaramcharis STOP KILLING US!

Bus Yatra

Day: 32
Date: 10th January 2016
Place: VIjayanagaram, Anakapalli, Andhra Pradesh

32nd Day: On the 10th morning,the 32nd day of the Yatra, the Yatris woke up early and prepared to board the bus again to hit the road. The Peddarelly community gave the yatris breakfast after which the bus took the road, travelled 86 kms and reached Vijayanagaram district. The DBSU members led by Mr. Chitti Babu received the Yatris and welcomed them. After rallying in Bonguveethi and distributing pamphlets we reached the VIjayanagaram Press club at 10.45 am. People from far away colonies and bastis came in large numbers especially women to the Press club meeting, More than 10 newspapers and TV channels were represented by their journalists.

Many community based organisations and NGO leaders also attended and participated in the Press meet. - BSP, Malamahanaadu society, Relly kulamu sangam, Scheduled caste unity sangam and many other network members participated. The Bhim yatra was explained and safaikaramchari women garlanded the portrait of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.Mr. Chittibabu explained how in 2003 many dry latrines were demolished by SKA demolition drive but still many remained and sewerage work and septic tank manual cleaning was rampant.

After the Press meet, the yatris went and rallied in Zonnaguddu colony and distributed pamphlets and talked about Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and the purpose of the Bhim Yatra and everyone promised to come to Delhi for the April 13th meeting.

The Bhim Yatra then went on rally from the Railway station to the safaikaramchari colony in contonement area for a rally and distribution of pamphlets. At 8 pm the yatra reached Anakapalli in Vishakapatnam disrict and held the meeting near the bus stand. Community members from Relly veethi, Pothalamma colony, Gaddarangi colony came for the meeting. The Rickshaw Karmeeku sangam members also participated. Mr. Appa Rao President of Safaikaramchari sangam, Sreeramulu and Satya Babu community leaders and Bezwada Wilson SKA national convenor participated in the meeting.

WIlson spoke about the SKA struggle in getting the law and supreme court judgment and said that there is tremendous capacity and power in the community which must be channeled to assert and demand for rights of dignity and rehabilitation. He said how when a person died in a septic tank the doctors and police refused to touch the body citing untouchability and pollution. But he said that the dirt is in the society's conscience not in us who spread cleanliness everywhere. The People committed and reiterated that they will join in the struggle and assemble in large numbers on April 13th in Delhi. WIth this the Yatris stayed the night in Anakapalli. The community gave shelter in the Nookalamma temple in Anakapalli.


Dec 31, 2015

Narmada Valley


After seven long years of rigorous investigation, the Justice Shravan Shankar Jha Commission set up by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, is ready to submit its detailed report to that Court. The Jha Commission was tasked to investigate the issue of fake land registries and four other types of corruption that occurred in the rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project affected families, which task has now been completed.

This report will reveal just how many fake land registries were carried out by giving the Special Rehabilitation Package, instead of giving land as is the right of the dam-affected farmers whose lands are being taken away by the dam. The question of who is to blame for this huge deception is also to be answered. The number of fake registries will also reveal how many farmers actually got land and how many did not get land because of the fraudulent registries. The Madhya Pradesh government has acceptedonly 686 fake registries and declared the rest to be ‘correct’, but the Jha Commission findings is likely to triple or quadruple this number.

Jha Commission also constituted a technical team to investigate 88 rehabilitation sites which provided a scathing report. It is also expected that the Jha Commission reportwould expose the crores of rupees of corruption and irregularities that took place in the construction workand quality of the construction of civic amenities at these rehabilitation sites. The report should reveal irregularities, if any, in the rehabilitation of project-affected families, including the allotment of house-plots and many basic amenities that were to be provided. It will also present the truth and the facts regarding the conversion of house-plots, fraudulently turning ineligible people eligible while rendering eligible people ineligible. Is it true, as the Madhya Pradesh government claims, that rehabilitation was completed in 2008, or will the report bring out the actual number of families that remain to be rehabilitated in 2016?

The Jha Commission was set up in 2008, by an order of the High Court. Every time the M.P. government starved the Commission of necessary funds or other needed resources, Narmada Bachao Andolan had to plead before the court for the Commission to get these resources. This went on until October 2015 in the last stages too when M.P. government cut the Commission’s funds. This shows a complete lack of political will from the M.P. government.

The thorough investigation went on for 7 years. Thousands of oustees, land sellers, witnesses, government officials and employees of the registry department and of Narmada Valley Development Authority were involved. Narmada Bachao Andolan participated and supported the legal process fully and constantly. After receiving this report, we hope that the Jabalpur High Court will pass its order including directives for next steps.

Narmada Bachao Andolan has claimed for years that thousands of oustees have faced serious corruption in the rehabilitation process, thereby depriving them of their rights and rehabilitation benefits. Many perpetrators’ names were also presented to the Commission. One estimate says, out of the 2300 Crore Rupees allotted to Madhya Pradesh state for the rehabilitation purposes, at least 1000 to 1500 Crore Rupees have been defrauded out of the state’s coffers, and wasted due to complete misuse or misappropriation. The Commission is mandated to also show whose fault this is. The question remains, after this report, will the M.P. government, Narmada Valley development Authority and Narmada Control Authority fulfil their responsibilities towards rehabilitation of oustees or not?

Rahul Yadav, Ranvirsingh Tomar, Devendra Tomar, Bhagirath Dhangar, Contact number: 9179617513

THAILAND: Public Statement on the Enforced Disappearance of Mr. Thanakorn Siripaiboon

Dec 12, 2015

Mr. Thanakorn Siripaiboon

Mr. Thanakorn Siripaiboon, a factory worker in a private company, was arrested from his workplace in Samut Prakan on 8 December 2015. He was accused by Maj Gen Wijarn Jodtaeng and Colonel Burin Thongprapai, legal officers of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for violating Section 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA) and Sections 112 (lese majeste) and 116 (sedition) of the Penal Code as a result of his postings about alleged corruption in the construction of the Rajabhakti Park.

The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has been contacted by his relatives and asked to give legal assistance on 9 December 2015. We have made an inquiry to the Nakhon Chaisri temporary remand facility located in the 11th Military Circle, and were informed by the custodian officer that Mr. Thanakorn was not being held in custody there and they had no idea of his whereabouts. Meanwhile, a plain-cloth military officer from an unknown unit has informed us that Mr. Thanakorn was being held in custody invoking Section 44 of the 2014 Interim Constitution, though he could not provide more information about his whereabouts.

The following day on 11 December 2015, Mr. Thanakorn’s relatives were informed by the Samut Prakan police that the case had been reported to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) and advised that they contact the authority. TLHR has thus approached the Subdivision 2 of the CSD but could not find Mr. Thanakorn. We were informed by the CSD police that the case had been reported to them and the arrest warrant against Mr. Thanakorn was issued, but he was not yet sent to police custody.

Since the arrest of Mr. Thanakorn on 8 December 2015 until the present, for over four days, even though his relatives and the TLHR lawyers have been looking for him, but we have not been informed any detail formally by the concerned authorities and could not contact Mr. Thanakorn. We have no idea where the military authorities have Mr. Thanakorn held in custody. His fates remain unknown.

The TLHR has found the deprivation of liberty against an individual by the military officer invoking the Order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) No. 3/2015 concerning the maintenance of public order and national security which allows the holding in custody of an individual for not longer than seven days in an undisclosed location a breach to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) which has been acceded to by Thailand since 9 January 2012. The act concerns the deprivation of liberty of an individual by state authorities and the subsequent concealment of the location where the person is being held subjecting him to a fate beyond the protection of the law. Since the Order has become effective, there has been no cases that either the Peace and Order Maintenance officer or the military officer who have made the arrest declare formally where they have the person held in custody. Therefore, it has to be assumed that Mr. Thanakorn Siripaiboon has become a victim of enforced disappearance since 8 December 2015.

The deprivation of liberty against an individual and the detention in an undisclosed location have made the individual vulnerable to many other rights violations including torture or extrajudicial killing. It also deprives the person of safeguards to protect his fundamental rights including the right to legal counsel, the right to have visit by relatives, the right to communicate with outside world, the right to seek judicial review to determine the lawfulness of his detention, etc. The act can be construed as arbitrary arrest and detention and violates Thailand’s obligations as per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party and violates Section 4 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014) promulgated by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to recognize the rights and freedoms traditionally enjoyed by the people as far as the international obligations are concerned.

The TLHR calls on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to respect the Constitution and the international obligations declared to their own people and the international community. They should cease to invoke the powers to make arrest and detention under the Order of the Head of NCPO No. 3/2015 and to disclose the place where a person is being detained. This will ensure that all people have access to the right to judicial process as guaranteed by Article 14 of the ICCPR.

Police harass and intercept UBCV monks and lay-followers to prevent celebrations of Buddhism’s Memorial Day in Hue

Monks, nuns and lay-followers

PARIS, 5.12.2015 (VCHR) – Buddhists in the central city of Hue sent an urgent report to Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) today that Police and security forces are intercepting, harassing and intimidating monks, nuns and lay-followers of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) to prevent them from organizing Memorial Day commemoration at the Long Quang Pagoda, seat of the UBVC’s Executive Institute Viện Hóa Đạo in Hue on Friday, 4 December 2015.

Memorial Day is one of the key events in the Vietnamese Buddhist calendar, held to honour and commemorate the founding masters of Buddhism in Vietnam, and all those who have sacrificed their lives to contribute to its development over the past 2,000 years. This is the second year running that Police have cracked down on this traditional celebration in Hue. In his report, Lê Công Cầu, Secretary-general of Viện Hóa Đạo and head of the Buddhist Youth Movement cites the following incidents:

• In the city of Danang, for several days, local authorities, Security Police, Religious officials and civil defence agents (plain-clothed security agents) have repeatedly called on Giác Minh Pagoda, residence of Venerable Thích Thanh Quang, Acting President of Viện Hóa Đạo, threatening him with reprisals if he travels to Huế for the event. On 2 December, an official order was issued banning Thich Thanh Quang from leaving Giac Minh Pagoda. Several hundred Security Police and civil defence agents have surrounded the Pagoda, keeping surveillance and blocking approach roads and alleys with police vans. Giác Minh Pagoda has been systematically prevented from holding any major Buddhist ceremony over the past 5 years.

• In Thua Thiên Huế, leaders of the UBCV’s Buddhist Youth Movement (Gia đình Phật tử Việt Nam) in the districts of Phú Vang, Phú Lọc, Quảng Điền were summoned for Police interrogations and forbidden to attend Memorial Day celebrations. In Phú Vang, Police ordered leaders of the “Golden Oriole” class (young Buddhists from 6–13 years old) to tell parents to strictly prohibit their children from taking part in the event.

• Lê Công Cầu reported that this is the second time in three months that Vietnam has banned Buddhist children’s religious activities. In September, Police intercepted children on their way to a Youth Camp at Long Quang Pagoda in Hue during the Vu Lan festival. To avoid being caught, many children hid behind sandbanks along Highway No. 1 waiting to catch buses to Hue. When Security Police chased after them, they took refuge in local people’s homes but were finally caught and sent back home, with threats that they would get bad marks or be expelled from school. Despite police harassment, some 300 “Golden Orioles” and their teachers managed to overcome obstacles and attend the camp, which is one of the major gatherings of the youth movement.

• Since 1st December, Police and local officials have systematically visited all local sections of the UBCV and its Youth movement, as well as the homes of local Buddhists in the Hue area, forbidding them from attending Memorial Day on the pretext that Long Quang Pagoda contained “bad, reactionary elements” acting under the name of the UBCV to “sabotage and oppose the Socialist government”. In Hương Thúy village, Buddhist youth leader Nguyễn Tất Trực was so exasperated by continuous visits, threats and harassments by local Police that he hung a sign on his door “No more visits received”. He is currently under strict Police surveillance.

• Lê Công Cầu has been subjected to harassments, threats and Police surveillance concerning Memorial Day for over a month. On 14 and 26 November, municipal police publicly warned him that they would ban the UBCV’s Memorial Day gathering, and threatened to use violence. They accused the UBCV of using this occasion to hold a national UBCV Congress. On 1st December, they formally placed Lê Công Cầu under house arrest until 4th December, when the commemoration was over. Security Police were immediately posted outside his home, preventing him from leaving the premises and intercepting any visitors. • Lê Công Cầu also reported that Police had evacuated all outside personnel from the Long Quang Pagoda (e.g. workers building a new kitchen) during the days of 3 and 4 December.


Patrons: Justice P.B.Sawant, Justice H.Suresh, Shri Shanti Bhushan,, Prof. B.B.Pande,, Dr. Bhaskar Rao, Ms. Arundhati Roy, Dr. Banwari Lal Sharma, Shri Pradip Prabhu, Prof Babu Mathew, Dr. Baba Adhav, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Shri Mihir Desai, Shri Manoj Mitta Working Committee: Prashant Bhushan, Venkatesh Sundaram, Indu Prakash Singh, D. Leena, Devvrat, Rohit Kumar Singh, Pranav Sachdeva, Pyoli Swatija, Divyajyoti Jaipuriar, Nikhil Dey, Cheryl D’souza.

15 People’s Campaigns launched and formed the Campaign Committee to launch a nationwide movement for Judicial Accountability and Reform on the lines of the Anti-Corruption movement stated Prashant Bhushan. Delhi, 23 November 2015: The two-day convention on judicial accountability and reforms, organised by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) concluded with the formation of a campaign committee and the adoption of an agenda for the campaign for coming year. The campaign committee consisted of more than 15 peoples’ campaigns that came together with a strong assertion that justice concerns everyone and ensuring the accountability of the judicial system would be the shared responsibility of a range of peoples’ movements and campaigns.

Prashant Bhushan, Convenor of the Campaign, said that he envisages a simple, transparent, honest and efficient legal system where people can negotiate their own cases without the need of lawyers. The broad areas that need reform are access to justice, delays and competence and integrity of judges and sensitivity of judge to the concerns of common people and to the directive principles in the Constitution. Speaking about the Judiciary’s uneven and inconsistent track record in addressing social equity, safeguarding the constitutional guarantees given to common people in accessing social justice as embodied in the right to liberty, equality and fraternity and in directive principles. We need very strong judicial reforms. “Although the Judiciary needs to ensure that every common person must be able the approach the citadels of justice without any fear, we are losing confidence in their commitment to these principles and we are going to launch a nation-wide movement similar to the anti-corruption movement.” He emphasized that diverse people’s organizations and networks have expressed interest and some have extended support to the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms. This includes: National Election Watch, Right to Information Campaign, Campaigns for Right to Food and Right to Housing, NCDHR, Safai Karmchari Aaandolan, NAPM, ADR, Pension Parishad, Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee, NTUI, NFIW, NASVI, Common Cause, Fight for Judicial Reforms, Forum for Fast Justice, National Litigants Bench, Swaraj Abhiyaan, along with others. It is time that an independent body to ensure judicial accountability on the lines of the Election Commission and CAG be set up, he added

Jagdish Chokker, representing National Election Watch said that given the complete lack of commitment of the political party to electoral and political reforms, it is clear that unless concerted public pressure is mounted nothing is going to change. Although the higher Judiciary has expressed interest in these reforms and urged the political parties to do so, they cannot exert their authority in the manner they need to without reforming themselves and setting their own house in order which includes cleaning up the functioning of the bar and the lawyers under their jurisdiction. He stressed that that reform in the legal system did not just include “reformation of the judiciary but also of the exploitative practices of lawyers and we must work towards making lawyers more accountable and transparent as well.”

The Convention had hosted the First Justice Krishna Iyer Memorial Lecture, delivered by Justice GS Singhvi. The lecture was presided over by senior advocate Shanti Bhushan. Justice Singhvi discussed Justice Krishna Iyer's life and paid tribute to his career as a great jurist and thinker. The lecture was attended by representatives of people's movements, lawyers, academics and students. In paying tribute to Justice Krishna Iyer, the campaign reaffirmed the importance of judicial accountability and transparency particularly towards the poor and the marginalised. Nikhil Dey of the NCPRI added that transparency and accountability in the judiciary was the right of all people particularly of the poor and marginalised who often approach the judicial machinery as the very last recourse. “For RTI activists and for all people’s campaign their expectation that judiciary protects their fundamental rights, necessitates that the Judiciary functions in the interests of people and their rights.”

Madhuresh from NAPM said that in the current context where the government has subscribed to a pro-corporate reforms agenda and any opposition to that paradigm is seen as anti-development, the judiciary has become an important refuge and people look to it to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed right to dignified life and livelihood. It has become increasingly important to reform the judiciary. He stated that one major concern that activists have is the way higher judiciary is now functioning. He went on to add that the “Judiciary are being less and less governed by rule of law and the constitutional principles and more and more are being influenced by the ‘pragmatism’ and partisanship that often informs decision of the executive” he stated. “This is very evident in the manner in which environmental clearances are being given without hearing the pleas of marginal communities such as dalits and adivasis. These campaigns and groups will go back and ratify their decision and make a commitment to spread the campaign in their respective regions and areas. Vipul Mudgal of Common Cause said that the issue of judicial reform cannot be left to the legal brotherhood and civil society and citizens must work relentlessly to make the justice system accessible to the poor.

On the Constitution Day on 26 November, 2015, representatives of People’s Organizations and Network will come together to affirm their faith in the Constitution in the light of the attack on plurality, freedom of expression and right to dissent CJAR hopes and expects this convention and the involvement of various peoples movements and Campaigns in this campaign, will signal the beginning of a mass campaign for far ranging Judicial Reforms in the country.

World Fisheries Day

Nov 12, 2015

Sharks fins

The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) Executive Committee met at the Youth Hostel, Vishakapattinam on 6th November 2015, being presided by the Chairperson Mr. M. Ilango, in presence of General Secretary Mr. Narendra Patil and attended by Secretary T. Peter and executive committee members including Arjili Dasu, Surada Raja Rao, K. Alleya, S. Palsamy and Gilbert Rodrigo and among other things, passed the resolution to hold the World Fisheries Day (Nov 21st) under the theme: “Protect the Marine Ecology and Coastal Environment”.

The fisher communities are concerned about the manner in which the marine and coastal resources are ravaged. The marine ecology is been affected by the industrial pollution and sewage and plastic waste of the urban regions and the fish resource is affected by this and by the non ecological fishing practices continued by the corporate houses. The decision to allow more drilling points in the sea for fuel and petroleum gas, seismic survey and many privatizations in the sea by way of protected cage farming and floating resorts are also causing damage to the marine ecology in their own manner and levels.

The coastal environment is perhaps more affected than the sea. Everybody wants the coast: the industrial houses, the resorts, water sports, theme parks, the farm houses, aquaculture farms and now real estates too are interest to create new settlements of affluent people. Efforts were taken to dislocate the fisher communities and the fisher communities have defeated it in 2011 through the amended CRZ Notification. However, the powerful profit motives are making the all efforts to occupy the coast and evict / displace the fisher communities or cause damage to them and to the environment through their presence and activities. Some of such intervention cause irrevocable damage to the coastal environment. Simple ‘cleaning of the coast’ is appreciable but would have miniscule positive impact when compared to the damage done by the other interventions.

We call upon all the member organizations, fisher organizations non members, fisher community panchayats, local level fisher community organizations of women and youth, other civil society organizations interested in protection of sea and coast, to hold activities – hall meetings, public meetings, other activities, competitions and cultural action – on that day with the theme on focus with the intention of ensuring the consciousness of protecting the coast and sea is spread among the country.

It is decided that the National Conference of National Fishworkers’ Forum of 2015 will be held on 19th and 20th December at Vishakapattinam, where delegates will attend from 9 coastal states and 2 UTs. The EC unanimously resolves to pay homage to Mr. Ossie Fernandes, Director of HRF, Chennai as contributor for fisher people’s cause, Jegannath Tandel, father of RK Tandel, member of NFF, Mr. Subash Arjun Tare, MD of Sathpadi fishermen Sarvodhaya Sahakadi Society, Mr. Juju Dakhi of Arnala fishermen community, Maharashtra and Dr.V.S. Somoshi, Retd. Director General of Fisheries Survey of India, who have passed away recently. All these people have contributed to the cause of NFF.

M.Ilango, (Narendra R Patil) Chairperson. General Secretary.

An open letter from a Dalit musician, to whomsoever it may concern

Special Contribution
By Ajith Kumar A S

Ajith Kumar A S

The immediate provocation for writing this letter is TM Krishna's letter to Modi ("Honourable Narendra Modi-ji"). So I think this letter has to be addressed to a large group of people who 'share' TM Krishna's so-called radical mindset when muslims and dalits are attacked and murdered by caste hindus and their hindutva forces. More than the pretensions and dishonesty in his letter I wish to express my discomfort with his liberal discourses, which I think, don't actually extend any form of solidarity to the targeted communities but on the contrary worsen the situation.

mohammed akhlaaq

The honorific suffix "ji" sends shivers up my spine. The Gujarat genocide and the history of Hindutva violence is not something everyone could forget. Krishna talks on behalf of "we citizens", "just normal people", "millions of us, Indians". Where does he get the authority to speak for the "normal people" belonging to various parts ("that make up the sum that is India"!). How easily his nationalist rhetoric erases all the differences and how easily he places himself among the millions of people from different communities who face routine violence! The privilege/power/social status of the Brahmin/caste Hindu self hides itself by claiming as "we citizens" who "have been abused, ridiculed and trivialized". This is how progressive upper castes confront the shame of the privilege they enjoy. Who among the "Indians" enjoy full citizenship? Who are denied citizenship? Why certain communities are always asked to prove their loyalty to the country or that they are "Indians"? These questions are never being addressed. By talking for the victims Krishna presents himself as a victim – the "citizen".

He wants the prime minister to respond as if the prime minister and the politics he practices have no responsibility for the ongoing violence against Dalits and Muslims. It is as if he is talking to a foreigner who is not aware of this situation. He hesitates to admit that it is the same politics, that forms the political atmosphere to lynch a Muslim in the name of beef and a Dalit in the name of entering a temple, that has bought Modi into power. Krishna says:"Therefore you cannot choose when to celebrate your Sangh identity and when to distance yourself from it. This is double speak." Is it double speak? While all that Modi does/speak, the way he speaks, dresses and presents himself reflects the dilemma of the sangh parivar in dealing with the political sphere which has not yet totally come under their control and their strategies to counter the international image he has obtained through his role in the Gujarat genocide. Even the "silence" could be their strategy or the reflection of their dilemma. It is funny that Krishna thinks there can be a Modi (as prime minister) who can distance himself from the 'sangh identity". It is poor understanding of politics. The political figure 'Modi' reflects a particular moment of Hindutva politics.

It could be the authority that the exclusive "classical" music offers or the social status that the Brahmin enjoys, which gives him the authoritative voice. Following most of TM Krishna's writings and interviews on music I had always felt that they are nothing but his struggles with the dilemmas of his Brahmin self. In his so-called radical discourses on music which are celebrated by most of the "progressive" liberals he doesn't question Brahmanism but only demands the Brahmin to be more openhearted and liberal to allow non-Brahmins also into their Brahminic spaces of carnatic music without disturbing their caste hold. His liberal views on caste and gender seem as a project to humanize the Brahmin males, not aimed to question Brahmanism which will shake the foundations of what they call "classical" music. I shall not go into the details of my understanding of his music/discourses because it is beyond the scope of this letter. "Classical" music makes a Brahmin a more authentic Brahmin. That's why Usha Uthup, the music personality I respect a lot, doesn't appear as a "Brahmin "in the music field because of her radical association with western popular music and other genres in world music. It is from the same authority that classical music offers, that K J Yesudas could tell women not to wear jeans. I am sure that most voices of musicians from other music genres like "folk" or from subaltern communities won't be heard or considered as authentic. I have felt that even a critique of the caste in the music field by dalit /non-Brahmin musicians won't be considered worthy like the anti–caste rhetoric of brahmin musicians like TM Krishna. The two approaches are different. When the former shakes the foundation of the idea of the "classical" the latter is sort of reformation within the Brahmin domain. Hence the latter is celebrated as radical.

Krishna's letter is stemmed in the usual liberal secular argument that accuses all religious communities for "communalism". He writes, "Over the last week or more we have witnessed what can only be described as the molestation of a human tragedy, the perpetrators of this crime being politicians coloured green, saffron and the various shades of every other colour, all no less sullied." No wonder it begins with 'Green'! It is the usual way of accusing Muslims when they face targeted violence. One sided attacks from the hindutva brigade is termed as "communal riots" as if the victims also were responsible for their own "fate". We have seen the media reports on anti-muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 which termed it as "communal riots". (one may remember the pet term of mainstream secular press for the horrendous Hindutva project: "Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute"). The liberal secular places himself/herself in a comfortable/neutral zone outside the "communal". Throughout the letter Krishna doesn't try to problematize his own caste location or what he eats. He is against Hindu hard liners as if there is a "Hindu" who does not sanction caste or religious violence. He doesn't care to admit that the Brahminhood he enjoys is part of the violence of the Hindu caste order and that there is no Hindu outside this. And the 'universal-chaste' music he practices, I believe, makes this whole violent exercise possible. Ajith Kumar A S is a Dalit musician, writer and filmmaker based in Trivandrum.

Supreme Court dismisses Govt. of MP’s Application denying right to land to thousands of adult sons of Sardar Sarovar oustees

Sep 28, 2015

Supreme Court

Right to land of every adult son as per 2000 & 2005 judgement remains intact... NBA welcomes Order: SC Order establishes that large scale pending R&R

New Delhi: In a significant Order, the Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Jst. Madan Lokur and Jst. Uday Umesh Lalit today dismissed an Application filed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) / Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) seeking a ‘modification / clarification’ of the Apex Court’s previous judgements of 2000 and 2005, thereby denying right to land of a few thousand adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) affected farmers.

The Hon’ble Court held among other things that the Application by State of MP suffers from gross delay / laches having being filed many years after the judgements were issued (upholding the right to land of the SSP adult sons) and the rights / entitlements already accrued to the oustees in principle cannot be taken away. The Bench also had to take note of the fact that while the entitlement of most of the adult sons have already been recognized many many years ago, one set of oustees have been offered land / Special Rehabilitation Package (5.5. lakhs for 5 acres) since the judgement of 15/3/2005 of the Apex Court and another set of oustees are being denied the same; this would result in a clear violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees a fundamental right to equality. Terming this “not to be good governance”, the Court summarily dismissed the Application.

Arguing for the oustees, Adv. Sanjay Parikh stated that besides being un-maintainable, the Application is based on a gross misinterpretation of the 2011 judgement of the Apex Court, in the Omkareshwar Dam case, which is not applicable to the Sardar Sarovar oustees. He said that as per the Narmada Tribunal Award and the 2005, 2005 judgements, all adult sons are un-disputably entitled to 5 acres of cultivable and irrigable land. He also informed the Court that the NCA, R&R Sub-Group and the GRA, all 3 authorities concerned with the SSP oustees have already taken decisions / issues orders to the effect that the Omkareshwar judgement if not applicable on SSP and the SSP adult sons are entitled to land allotment separately.

NBA and all the SSP oustees welcome the Order of the Hon’ble Court which is not just an affirmation of the judgements of 2000 and 2005 of the Court, but also is a vindication of the rights and struggle of thousands of adivasis and other farmers, who have been waiting for land-based rehabilitation since many years and many of their families have also faced unlawful submergence in the previous years.

The effect of today’s order is that all the adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Oustees would be entitled to and have to be allotted 5 acres of cultivable land separately. This includes hundreds of farmers who have been entangled in the fake registries scam (almost 2000 + oustees to be finalized by the Jst. Jha Commission), 1,500 oustees who been received only one instalment of cash but could not purchase land and hundreds of those who have been given uncultivable land out of the land bank. About 500 applications pending before the GRA (M.P.) can also now be immediately decided in the favour of the adult sons on the basis of today’s order.

The Respondents in this case were represented by Adv. Sanjay Parikh, assisted by Adv. Clifton Rozario and Adv. Ninni Susan and Medha Patkar, who is a petitioner-in-person in the connected matters. GoMP was represented by ASG Adv. Patwalia and the NCA by ASG Tushar Mehta. Mukesh Babu Awasya Rahul Yadav Contact Ph: 09179148973

THAILAND: Incommunicado detention of journalist by the junta

Pravit Rojanaphruk

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is gravely concerned to have learned that Pravit Rojanaphruk, journalist for the Nation newspaper and freedom of expression advocate, is being detained in an undisclosed location by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The conditions of his detention are arbitrary and a clear derogation of the Government of Thailand’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The AHRC views his incommunicado detention as a warning sign of the deepening human rights crisis in Thailand.

According to information provided to the AHRC, Pravit Rojanaphruk was summoned by telephone call to report to the First Army Region base in Bangkok at 2 pm on Sunday, 13 September. Although he requested details on the nature of the summons, the military did not provide any additional information. He reported himself to the entrance of the base at the requested time, and was then told to give his mobile telephone to the lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) who accompanied him. Pravit was next taken inside the base alone and the lawyer was asked to leave. The military officials present at the entrance refused to provide any information about where Pravit was being taken or when he would be released. Despite additional attempts by TLHR to ascertain Pravit’s location on 13 September, the only information provided by the officials at First Army Region base was that he had been taken to an unknown location by another military unit.

On Monday, 14 September, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spokesperson for the NCPO, acknowledged that Pravit Rojanaphruk was being held. He said that Pravit and others have been summoned to the First Army Region base primarily as a result of “presenting information that is not in line with the preservation of peace and order.” In addition to Pravit, two former Phue Thai Party politicians, Phichai Naripatapan and Karun Hosakul, are also known to be currently arbitrarily detained by the junta. Colonel Winthai further noted that all of the actions are being carried out sincerely by the officials and are based on reasoned evidence and without any intention to create confusion or conflict in society. Colonel Winthai did not provide information on where Pravit was being held or when he would be released, but noted that he was currently “ …being processed by the officials. How long it will take will depend on the results of the investigation, his cooperation, and the evidence held by the officials” (Matichon, 14 September 2015).

The arbitrary detention of Pravit Rojanaphruk comes after fifteen months of military rule following the 22 May 2014 military coup by the NCPO led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha. Since the coup, there has been a precipitous decline in the protection of human rights. There have been severe restrictions placed on freedom of expression and political freedom, ongoing formal and informal summons to report to the junta for alleged “attitude adjustment,” extensive use of arbitrary detention, the activation of military courts to process crimes against the crown and state, and the creation of a general climate of fear detrimental to human rights and the rule of law. Although martial law was revoked on 1 April 2015, NCPO Order 3/2558 issued under Article 44 of the 2014 Interim Constitution was used to replace the provisions granted by martial law, including the authority to arbitrarily detain individuals for up to seven days. As under martial law, those detained can be held at irregular places of detention, including permanent or temporary military bases or other sites designated as places of detention. Detention in irregular places means that the possibility for rights violations, including torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution is greatly increased.

This is the second time that Pravit Rojanaphruk has been arbitrarily detained by the junta. He was summoned and detained for the first time shortly after the coup, when Order No. 6/2557 demanded that he report himself to the Army Club on Thewet Road on 24 May 2014 (AHRC-STM-100-2014). He was then detained for seven days before being released. Like others released from detention by the NCPO, under Announcement No. 39/2557, Pravit was compelled to sign a statement agreeing to a number of conditions, including that he would not exercise his fundamental human rights to free expression or assembly, or leave the country without permission of the junta.

The continued arbitrary detention and constriction of freedom of expression by the NCPO are clear derogations of Thailand’s responsibilities as a state party to the ICCPR. In particular, the incommunicado detention of Pravit Rojanaphruk and others is a violation of the obligations under Article 9, which provides specifically that, “1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. 2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him. 3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release...” The AHRC would like to emphasize that there is no legal basis for the detention of citizens without charge because they do not share the same political opinions as the junta.

At this time, Pravit Rojanaphruk’s location and safety are unknown. The Asian Human Rights Commission calls on the NCPO to immediately release Pravit Rojanaphruk and all citizens being arbitrarily detained without charge. The AHRC unequivocally condemns the coup in the strongest terms and wishes to express grave concern about the ongoing decline of human rights protections it has engendered. Further, the AHRC calls on the NCPO to recognize that tolerance for different ideas and dissent are part of building a polity grounded in human rights and the rule of law. To think differently than the junta and defend human rights are not crimes.

Sardar Sarovar Oustees Demand Cancellation of Acquisition and Full Ownership of Property Acquired Years Ago

Protest by Sardar Sarovar Affected families

Badwani | 2nd Sept. 2015: While Modi government has already stepped back declaring that there will be no ‘Land Acquisition Ordinance’ anymore as a result of the strongest ever alliance of people’s movements and organizations of farmers to fisher folk and labourers , with the support from most of the political parties, the same 2013 New Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act is now resorted to by the thousands of Sardar Sarovar Affected families on the struggle path in the Narmada valley.

On the twenty second (22) day of Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha, hundreds of farmers, labourers and fisherpersons gathered at the Collector’s office in Badwani district, Madhya Pradesh. Asserting that they all have become owners of their houses and /or agricultural land that was acquired 10-15 years ago, have become owners of the same and the acquisition is already cancelled since 1 January 2014, as per section 24(2) of the New Land Acquisition Act 2013, they have demanded that the name of NVDA, the state-level Narmada Authority in MP should be deleted and their names should be entered through mutation on the said property.

The farmers and others from village Pipri, Piplud, Chhota Barda and Bhilkheda of Badwani district and Chikhalda and Bhavaria of Dhar district, totaling about 80 have already filed their petitions before the High Court of MP, Indore Bench and got stay against dispossession of theirs, directing the State not to elicit or even drown their properties. This, the people rightfully claimed, is applicable to all, above 40,000 families residing in the submergence area of SSP, in Madhya Pradesh. They all are confident since the section of the new Act is already interpreted by the Supreme Court in 2014 and 2015, preventing Modi government and any lower court from misinterpretation or amendment of the same. The Supreme Court has also rightly interpreted that even if the 2013 Act section 24(2) gets amended or deleted, the ownership rights already granted under the Act since 1 January 2014, cannot be compromised with.

The above said section is indeed a relief to the project affected whose lands/houses etc are acquired years or even decades ago, receiving meager compensation while rehabilitation begins much after, when the oustees become penniless. Lack of Rehabilitation Planning and no land resources make the policy, plans and promises get derailed, with oustees becoming the loser as they cannot start a new life at that time.

Same being the situation in the Narmada Valley, Sardar Sarovar affected families from village after village, have had to resort to the New Act. It is now a legal position that unless these houses and farms in the submergence area, still in actual possession of the affected families are reacquisitioned, no government can claim their right to submerge/drown the properties. The SS Dam now raised to 139 metres almost (17 mtrs above 122 mtrs, the height stayed for last 8 years) cannot lead to brutal submergence and inhuman eviction to destitution. Andolan continues its “Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha”, awaiting challenge of raising waters i.e. by the callous corporatized governments of today.

Dayaram Yadav, Kailash Avasya, Shanta Bai Yadav, Medha Patkar Contact: 09179148973


Special Report
By Salai Thang
Aug 16, 2015

Korea-Dokdo-Love members protested beside a Korean girl statue

Korea-Dokdo-Love members’ protest rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul took place on the Korean Independence Day, Aug 15, 2015. In Korea, this day is called “Gwangbokjeol,” (literally "Light Restoration Day") in order to celebrate the end of the Japanese colonization on the August 15, 1945. On that day many Korean patriots were released from prisons by the Japanese colonial government. As a result, this day is an annual public holiday to celebrate this historic Independence Day across the Korean Peninsula.

Korea-Dokdo-Love members protested beside a banner of patriot An Jung-geun

During the most recent annual protest, on the Aug 15, 2015, in the presence of many Korean policemen surrounding the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, the Korea-Dokdo-Love Chairman Mr. Sunggon Oh condemned Mr. Shinzo Abe for his reluctance to admit Japanese war crime and sexual abused comfort women issue.

Korea-Dokdo-Love members protest in front of Japanese embassy in Seoul

In 1895, for instance, the Japanese assassinated a Korean Empress Myeongsong during their attempt to occupy Korea. In addition, the Japanese pursuit of occupying Korea was a part of its larger plans to establish and control Japanese led Greater East Asian Empire. However, this Japanese led Greater East Asian Empire was destroyed and controlled by US forces after World War II.

Mr. Suh Hansool

The Dokdo Crisis

Dokdo is still a critical issue between Korea and Japan, where both countries claim ownership. At the moment, Dokdo is the primary cause of tension between the two nations. In ancient time, Korean people used to live there for fishing, said Mr. Suggon Oh.

Korea-Dokdo-Love Chairman Mr. Sunggon Oh

In conclusion, Japan states in its school textbooks that Dokdo is a part of its national territory. Nevertheless, Dokdo remains under the control of South Korean policemen to this day. “Permanently, Dokdo is Korean soil,” said Mr. Oh Sunggon, Chairman of Korea-Dokdo-Love.

A Korea-Dokdo-Love member Mr. Jong-yeol Jin

Confronting with polices during protest at the Japanese Embassy


Vietnam: UN committee review unmasks grave violations of women’s rights

VCHR President Vo Van Ai and VCHR Vice-President Penelope Faulkner briefing the UN CEDAW experts

PARIS, 29 July 2015 (FIDH & CVDDH) - UN committee experts expressed serious concern over persisting gender inequality and the widespread abuse of women’s rights in Vietnam at the conclusion of their review of the country’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva on 9-10 July. “Vietnam has made extensive legal commitments to guarantee women’s rights on paper but has taken no steps to enforce or protect them in practice. Thirty-three years after Vietnam’s ratification of CEDAW, Vietnamese women and girls are still relegated to the status of second class human beings,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.

In its concluding observations released on 27 July, the CEDAW committee criticized Vietnam for the failure of its policy-makers and government officials to grasp the “concept of substantive gender equality.” The committee expressed concern over the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women in the family and in society. It noted that discriminatory gender bias and stereotypes were perpetuated in educational materials and in the media. The strong preference for male offspring had resulted in the sex selection of fetuses and an imbalance of the sex ratio at birth, the committee added. The committee voiced its concern over the “high prevalence” of violence against women and girls and recommended Vietnam amend its legislation with a clear resolve to criminalize all forms of violence against women, including marital rape and sexual harassment.

The committee was also concerned over allegations of harassment, arbitrary arrest, detention, and ill-treatment of women human rights defenders. In this regard, the committee urged the authorities to carry out investigations, prosecute those responsible, and provide remedies to the victims of such violations. It also recommended Vietnam take specific steps to create an enabling environment in which women human rights defenders and women’s rights organizations can be freely established and operate. Throughout the review, the Vietnamese government delegation frequently responded to the questions posed by the committee experts in vague, evasive, and even contradictory ways. Several experts of the CEDAW committee expressed grave concerns about the recent escalation of police violence against women human rights defenders, and asked for a list of women human rights defenders in prison. Their statements were met by the Vietnamese government delegation’s blanket denials that no women had ever been assaulted or detained because of their human rights activities.

Many issues raised by the 23-member UN committee in its concluding observations echoed the concerns expressed by FIDH and the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) in their joint submission presented to CEDAW in June 2015 ahead of Vietnam’s review. The joint submission described gender-discriminating laws and mechanisms such as the ‘ho khau’ or household registration permit, as well as discrimination with regard to access to healthcare, education, and the enjoyment of land rights. Such discrimination is exacerbated for female members of ethnic minorities. The submission also detailed serious abuses, such as trafficking of women and girls for sexual and labor exploitation, abuses of female worker rights, domestic violence, and violations of reproductive rights, and made 25 specific recommendations to the Vietnamese government to improve the situation of women’s rights.

“Vietnamese officials claim that its shortcomings in implementing CEDAW are due to the lack of financial resources. The CEDAW Committee said they are due to Vietnam’s lack of political will. But most of all, it is the one-party state with its lack of transparency, political freedoms, and the pervasive control of the Communist Party that impedes the realization of women’s rights in Vietnam,” said VCHR President Vo Van Ai. Although the CEDAW’s concluding observations were made public on 27 July, immediately after the review, on 10 July, Vietnam’s state-run press deceivingly announced that the CEDAW committee had “approved” Vietnam’s periodic report on the national implementation of the convention.

Press contacts: FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66 88 6117722 (Bangkok) FIDH: Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) - Tel: 33672284294 / Ms. Lucie Kroening (French / English / German / Arabic) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris) VCHR: Ms. Penelope Faulkner (French / English / Vietnamese) - Tel: +33611898681 (Paris)

Vietnam Committee Report to the UN reveals grave violations of women’s rights in Vietnam

Vietnam's report

GENEVA, 9 July 2015 (Vietnam Committee) – As the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviews the case of Vietnam at its 61st Session in Geneva, Vo Van Ai, President of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) expressed grave concerns about persisting gender discrimination and violations of women’s rights in Vietnam. He presented the UN experts with a an alternative report prepared jointly with the FIDH, and called on the UN to press Vietnam to make concrete steps towards reform.

Vietnam aceded to the CEDAW Convention in 1982. Mr. Ai regretted that “Thirty-three years later, Vietnamese women are still not aware of their fundamental freedoms and rights”. “Vietnam’s country report to CEDAW describes a faultless record in promoting women’s rights, and blames any shortcomings on its lack of resources” said Mr. Ai. “Our report reveals a completely different reality. Women in Vietnam today are the victims of a toxic mixture of economic liberalisation and political repression. The government has created a climate of fear in which women cannot effectively defend their rights. Not only does the government neglect this most vulnerable polulation, but it represses all those who try to stand up for women’s rights”.

The VCHR and FIDH Joint Alternative Report notes that the main obstacle to the realization of women’s rights is not the lack of resources but the political structure of the one-Party State, with its lack of transparency and political freedoms and the pervasive control of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). There are no independent civil society organizations, no free trade unions, no free press, independent judiciary or mechanisms through which women may express their grievances and seek remedy. Under Vietnam’s broadly-defined “national security” laws, acts perceived to “infringe upon the interests of the State” carry heavy prison sentences. Women who are victims of abuses are therefore afraid to take action to prosecute State organs, or speak out publicly to defend their rights. Recently, Police violence, harassments, intimidation and even sexual assaults on women human rights defenders, bloggers and activists has increased alarmingly, and women imprisoned for human rights advocacy are subjected to extremely harsh detention conditions.

Gender inequality in Vietnam, the report reveals, is exacerbated by government control mechanisms such as the household registration permit or hộ khẩu. This compulsory permit is a prerequisite for all administrative demarches, such as enrolling children in school, gaining access to health care and other public services, and without it, people are virtually illegal citizens. Because local Communist Party cadres have full powers to issue or withdraw the hộ khẩu, power abuse and corruption is widespread. Rural-to-urban migrants, 70% of whom are women, do not have hộ khẩu. They must pay higher prices for water and electricity, and are excluded from government aid and public services. Children born overseas to women who are victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation or labour are denied hộ khẩu and citizenship rights on returning to Vietnam.

The report identifies land rights, forced evictions and state confiscation of land as major source of women’s rights abuse. In Vietnam, people do not own their land, but are issued with “Land User Rights Certicates” (LURCs) which the State can forcibly recover it at any time. Only 10.9% of LURCs for agricultural land bear the names of both husband and wife. Widows therefore find themselves expropriated without the slightest compensation when their husband dies. In a vast rural protest movement, known as “Dân Oan” (Victims of Injustice) rural women march to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and camp outside the Complaint’s Offices to demand justice. Vietnam has responded by violently disbanding the protesters and passing Decree 38 banning demonstrations outside public buildings, causing a number of women to self-immolate in despair.

Mr Vo Van Ai told the UN experts that Vietnam’s policy of “đổi mới” – economic liberalization under authoritarian control – has seriously impacted gender rights. Vietnamese women are exposed to new forms of violence, and the introduction of “user fees” for health and education has penalized women significantly, especially in the rural areas where 70% of the population live. Vietnam has adopted a policy named “socialization” which is tantamount to a privatization of education, obliging parents to share the costs of tuition, school repairs, textbooks and food. As a result, many poor pupils, especially girls, drop out of school at a very early age. This especially affects girls from the ethnic minorities, 20% of whom have never attended school.

As Vietnam races to compete in the global market, worker rights – especially those of women - are routinely sacrificed for profit. Minimum wages in Vietnam, which are fixed by the government, are amongst the lowest in Southeast Asia, and many foreign companies are now re-localizing to Vietnam to take advantage of its low-paid and submissive work-force. Women’s wages are merely 80% those of men in the formal sector, and 50% in the informal sector. Women are in poorer health than men, work longer hours and receive less bonuses. But they rarely dare to complain because the sole labour union, the Vietnam Conferedation of Labour, protects the employers rather than workers, and the right to strike is severely restricted in Vietnam. Trafficking of women for labour or sexual exploitation is increasing alarmingly. Young girls trafficked to China or Cambodia frequently have ther passports confiscated and are treated as slaves. One young girl in China was reportedly raped by 47 men on her first night of captivity.

Gender discrimination, according to the VCHR/FIDH’s findings, is perpetuated in Vietnam by government policies and practices. In the sole textbooks used in Vietnam’s schools, women are stereotyped as home-makers or market vendors, with men as doctors and engineers. Prostitutes or women infected with HIV/AIDs are stigmatized as perpetrators of “social evils” and placed under the charge of the government’s “Department of Social Evils” and “Social Evils Police Prevention squads.” Vietnam’s “2-child policy”, abandonned in theory but active in practice, has resulted in widespread abortions because of ‘son preference”, and because of the lack of contraception advice for unmarried couples, abortion has become the principal form of “family planning”. Vietnam has one of the highest abortion rates in the world, with over 40% of pregnancies ending in abortion.

Mr. Vo Van Ai concluded by calling on Vietnam to “initiate political reforms” and “create a climate of diversity and political pluralism so that all women may participate in the process of social, economic, intellectual and political development”. Amongst specific 25 recommendations, the VCHR/FIDH report called on Vietnam to authorize the establishment of independent women’s NGOs and civil society movements, a free press and free trade unions. Such institutions would provide “safety nets” to expose discriminatory practices and provide alternative mechanisms to protect women’s rights, said Mr Ai. Contact : Penelope Faulkner : +33 6 11 89 86 81 – Vo Tran Nhat : +33 6 62 17 42 29 –

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