Why Asia’s human rights defenders remain defenseless
Asian activists are the world’s most persecuted, UN rapporteur says
Cambodian security guards arrest a land rights activist from the Boeung Kak lakeside community during a protest in front of Phnom Penh municipal court in November (AFP Photo/Tang Chhin Sothy)
By: Renato Mabunga, PhD, Manila
December 10, 2014
First posted in ucanews.com
Human rights defenders from around the world gathered in Manila last week to consolidate “protection platforms” for human rights workers. The meeting highlighted various protection initiatives on the ground and the challenges for their implementation.
The event tracked various organizational protection systems and mechanisms as stopgap measures against violations of the rights of activists. It also mapped out effective engagement and cooperation with the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
In his speech, Michel Forst, the UN rapporteur, noted that Asian human rights defenders are the most threatened, intimidated or investigated.
They are also the most harassed or criminalized, and the most likely to be prevented from travelling.
Such violations and denials of fundamental freedoms have been aimed to discredit, silence and eliminate human rights defenders in the region, he said.