Posts Tagged ‘Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award’

Award winning Bersih 2.0 saw speech censored by Taiwan award giver

December 18, 2017

How sensitive human rights awards can be is shown again in the case of Taiwan’s Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award. The award (see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/asia-democracy-and-human-rights-award) is technically independent but closely related to the Government, which probably explains why the part concerning the “1MDB” corruption scandal in Malaysia  was deleted from Maria Chin Abdullah’s acceptance speech.

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[Parts of Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah’s acceptance speech when accepting the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in Taiwan last week were censored by organisers. A copy of the speech made available by the electoral reforms coalition today showed the censored portion was on state investment fund 1MDB and the allegations of corruption plaguing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration. The section of the speech, titled “Unfettered corruption”, was removed “due to diplomatic sensitivity”, the coalition said.]

Bersih 2.0 received the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award on 10 December 2017. The event was attended by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy chairman Su Jia-chyuan, the foundation’s president Hsu Szu-chien and civil society leaders. Bersih 2.0 received earlier the Gwangju award: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/26/malaysian-bersih-2-0-walk-for-democracy-wins-gwangju-human-rights-award/

Maria in her speech also touched on the lack of freedom of expression, attacks against human rights defenders, and the government’s use of laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2015 (Sosma). She charged that hate politics was part of a strategy to vilify rights activists. “The politics of hate, religious intolerance and exclusion, which adversely affect the freedom and human rights, are used against human rights defenders. Yet, impunity against wrong doers is not addressed,” she said, adding that change was still a long road ahead“Malaysians’ voices are loud and clear – racial hostility, generated hatred, intolerance, violence and poverty have no place in our nation…Our clarion call: They can jail us. They can beat us up. But, they can never break our spirit”.

 

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/12/18/human-rights-award-taiwan-censors-bersih-chiefs-speech/

Human rights defender Khurram Parvez (reluctantly) released in India

December 1, 2016

On 23 September 2016 I reported on the arrest of  human rights defender Khurram Parvez [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/khurram-parvezs-re-arrest-in-kashmir-illustrates-draconian-use-of-public-safety-act/#more-8476] in Jammu and Kashmir. A great many interventions by human rights NGOs focused on this case which highlights the draconian use of India’s Public Safety Act (PSA).

On 30 November 2016, Khurram Parvez was released from jail but even this was not done without wrangling by the police as reported by Front Line on 30 November: On 25 November 2016, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar quashed the order of detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and ordered the immediate release of Khuram Parvez.  Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar in his order said Khuram Parvez’s detention was “illegal”. However, in the judge’s order there was a small clerical error, so the police at Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail decided to keep Khurram Parvez in detention until a corrigendum could be issued. On 29 November 2016 at 3 pm the Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail received the corrigendum, but did not release Khurram Parvez. Instead, at around 5 pm of the same day, he was taken to the joint interrogation centre at Meeran Sahib, Jammu. No reasons were provided for his continued detention to the human rights defender or his legal counsel. Khurram Parvez was released on the morning of 30 November. 

[Khurram Parvez is the Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), a collective of 13 non-governmental organizations from ten Asian countries, that campaign on the issue of enforced disappearances. He is also the Programme Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which is a coalition of various campaign, research and advocacy organisations based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, which monitor and investigate human right abuses. See: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/khurram-parvez]

Note that Khurram’s Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) won the 2016 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/anti-disappearances-ngo-wins-asian-human-rights-award/]

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Anti-Disappearances NGO wins Asian human rights award

November 11, 2016

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) has won the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award 2016 for its efforts to resolve the problem of forced disappearances in Asia.

AFAD has made indelible contributions in pushing states to address the rights of families of the disappeared and in seeking justice for the victims,” said Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, chairman of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. He said that AFAD was a major force behind the UN’s adoption in 2006 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, and has in recent years been active in lobbying Asian governments to sign and ratify the convention.

[Su said that many instances of politically motivated disappearances also occurred in Taiwan when the nation was under authoritarian rule. As someone who took part in rescue missions for missing people at that time, Su said he could deeply empathize with the fear experienced by the victims’ families and the hardships faced by human rights organizations in authoritarian nations.]

Founded in 1998 in Manila, AFAD facilitates searches for people who are abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization, and works to ensure the attainment of truth, justice, redress and the reconstruction of the collective memory of the missing. Recipients of the award include Reporters Without Borders, Rescue Foundation of India, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International, as well as Kim Seong-min, founder and director of Free North Korea Radio. The award comes with a prize of US$100,000.

Source: AFAD wins human rights award – Taipei Times