Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in a press release stated that the announcement of the Government of Sri Lanka today to start a census on the deaths, missing people and damage to property in the conflict with the Tamil minorities from 1983 to 2009 is a sham and an attempt to scuttle the impending resolution to be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 25th session in March 2014 authorising a full, credible and independent international inquiry into the war crimes in Sri Lanka.
“The crux of the issue with respect to Sri Lanka’s human rights record is not the lack of census or data but accountability for gross human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan security forces from 1983 and 2009. “- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights. Read more »
By Hassan Naqvi
Fifty-six women have been killed in Pakistan this year for giving birth to a girl rather than a boy, human rights activist IA Rehman said at a symposium here on Monday.
“A country where mothers are killed for giving birth to baby girls can’t be called an ethical society,” Rehman said at the symposium, titled ‘Youth emerging as a force for positive change’, meant to mark the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women. The event was arranged by the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA).
From January 2012 to September 2013, there were also 90 acid attacks on women, 72 cases of burning caused by other means, 491 cases of domestic violence, 344 cases of gang rape and 835 cases of violence, he said. “Young girls are being raped in Pakistan and all we do is shout rather that do anything practical,” he said.
Rehman said that giving girls and boys equal access to education and introducing a uniform education system for the rich and the poor would bring about positive changes in Pakistan. “It has taken us 62 years to say that education is a basic right,” he said. Read more »
Crimes against Afghan women rose sharply in 2013 compared with 2012, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) cited the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) as saying November 25.
In the first six months of 2013, authorities recorded more than 4,150 cases of violence against women, almost a 25% increase compared to the same period last year, the AIHRC said in a statement coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
But those cases were reported and many others go unreported, authorities say. Read more »
Proposal to bring back one of the most repugnant symbols of Taliban regime is in draft revision of country’s penal code
Afghan government officials have proposed reintroducing public stoning as a punishment for adultery, Human Rights Watch said, even though the practice has been denounced both inside and outside the country as one of the most repugnant symbols of the Taliban regime.
The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country’s penal code being managed by the ministry of justice.
There are several references to stoning in a translated section of the draft seen by the Guardian, including detailed notes on judicial requirements for handing down the sentence.
“Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances to one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning [to death],” article 21 states. The draft goes on to specify that the stoning should be public, in article 23. Read more »
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was marked on Monday with an aim to educate society about the rights of women.
In this regard, different seminars and conferences were organised in which speakers urged the government to enact proper legislation including strict punishments for torture on women. The speakers also urged society to play their role in educating individuals about human rights, especially in the rural areas.
A seminar was organised by different organisations including South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-P), Aurat Foundation, Sungi Foundation Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) and others at a local hotel in connection to ‘16 Days of Activism on Violence against Women’. The main agenda of the conference was based on legislation in provincial assembly on Qisas (retribution) and Diyat (blood money). Conference was attended by activists of civil society, lawyers, journalists and politicians. Read more »
Sri Lanka’ External Affairs Ministry has announced that a special representative of the United Nations in Geneva will be visiting the country next week.
Secretary to the Ministry Karunathilaka Amunugama has told local media that Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Dr. Chaloka Beyani will be arriving in the island on the 2nd of December.
During his visit Dr. Beyani is scheduled to tour the conflict-affected North. He is also scheduled to meet and External affairs Minister Professor G L Peiris and several other Ministers. Read more »
Four and a half years after the Government of Sri Lanka declared an end to decades of civil conflict with separatist rebels, thousands of people are still missing, according to the United Nations and Sri Lankan activists. Family members of these missing persons are still asking for a credible investigation that would enable them to leave the past behind and face the future. Many of these family members of those who have disappeared charge that at the end of the war, many who surrendered to the army had disappeared. Many mothers have lost their children during the war.
Among those missing are journalists, human rights defenders, humanitarian workers and civilians, but, according to activists, the real tragedy has been the reluctance of law enforcement authorities and state institutions to confront these allegations and provide answers to the families of these missing persons, so they could bring closure to their torment. Most mothers in the North say that they cannot simply forget the past, not knowing to date what had happened to their children.
During his recent visit to the war-torn Northern peninsula of Sri Lanka (on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit), UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that some very serious questions needed to be answered. These questions probed into human rights violations in present day Sri Lanka – the fact that there are so many people who have disappeared – and the freedom of the press. Cameron was swamped by groups of protesting family members of the missing persons, pleading for justice for their loved ones and seeking for a credible investigation that would shed some light on what had happened to their family members. Read more »
By Anuradha M Chenoy
Human rights has always been a contested issue in foreign policy matters. Strategic experts advise that human rights should play no role in foreign policy. They believe that states have only interests and power has no ethics. This is patently wrong. Apart from interests, the power of the state has to have norms if it has to have any legitimacy. For this, a state has to believe in rights.
Recently, India has taken a somewhat different stand with the prime minister pressured not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting in Sri Lanka on account of human rights violation. India took the soft option of sending the foreign minister. So, what is the relation of human rights with foreign policy?
States and those who govern them feel that state sovereignty is absolute and indivisible and whatever happens within a country should not be questioned by outsiders. For example, Sri Lanka currently feels that no other country, especially India, should question their record in war crimes during the recently concluded civil war. They take umbrage in the belief that talking of human rights is a threat to their national security. The argument is that as an elected regime they can legitimately use as much violence that they deem necessary to protect their nation from threat and disintegration. The question then is should the world community at large forget about human rights and each state stick to their concept of state sovereignty, allowing each other to deal with their own citizens with as much violence as they wish? This is where the human rights and foreign policy debate come in. Read more »
By Nita Bhalla
NEW DELHI, Nov 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A boycott of a meeting of Commonwealth leaders this month in Sri Lanka could help pressure Colombo to address alleged war crimes against minority Tamils, South African peace campaigner and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Thursday.
The Sri Lankan government, which defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, is under increasing pressure from the international community to try those responsible for rights abuses during the nearly three-decade-long conflict. Read more »