By: Nicole Hoerold
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
MANILA, Philippines – Amnesty International has warned of the human rights violations being committed in South Asia. The organization is reporting that the rights of journalists and activists have been increasingly disregarded over the past few years. According to the organization, LGBT activists, Hindus, Christians, Sufi Muslims, and scholars have all become targets after the 2015 murders in Bangladesh, where five bloggers were killed in separate attacks.
The region has become hostile towards mass media and journalism, as new laws have been invoked against online critics and colonial-era laws are being unleashed against government critics. However, in light of International Women’s Day, Amnesty International recognized six women for their extraordinary efforts in human rights advocacy.
The group of women, comprised of lawyers, activists, and a former justice secretary, were each commended for their dedication to taking stands against injustices, despite the grave danger they faced by doing so. In Thailand, Sirikan Charoensiri, a lawyer who regularly defends clients investigated and prosecuted for peacefully defending human rights, faces 15 years’ imprisonment under charges of treason and a local ban on political assembly of five or more persons.
Similarly, in the Philippines, Senator Leila de Lima, former justice secretary and chair of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, has been arrested under politically-motivated charges in response to her criticism of Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte.
Human rights organizations are working to raise awareness of the injustices faced by advocates, critics, and journalists in the region. These organizations are now trying to protect the human rights which local governments are choosing to ignore.
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