JUST ASIA BULLETIN: Thai student activist Pai Dao Din sentenced

This week Just Asia begins with Thailand, where student activist Pai Dao Din has been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for sharing a BBC biography of King Vajiralongkorn. Despite more than 2,000 people sharing the controversial BBC article on Facebook and millions reading it, Jatuphat was the only one arrested for lèse majesté. A week earlier, a 61-year-old man was jailed for 18 years under the same law, while award winning journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk has been accused of sedition for his online comments criticising the military.

Next, the Indonesian police have so far reportedly shot dead 56 drug dealers since the government has declared a war against illegal drugs. President Widodo has specifically told law enforcement agencies to shoot drug traffickers, especially foreign drug dealers who enter Indonesia and resist arrest. To learn more, Just Asia speaks to human rights defender Mr. Bustami Arifin.

Incessant rainfall in southern Nepal is severely affecting the country’s Tarai region. Thousands of houses have been inundated across the Tarai, and 80 percent of arable land has been affected. Since last Friday, the death toll from floods and landslides has reached 123, with more than 35 persons missing. Without enough food, clean drinking water and shelter, many flood displaced people are at high risk of contracting various diseases. Many people are suffering from diarrhea. The flood victims are also in a dire need of essential medicines and health workers.

Moving to Pakistan, a nine-year-old child, Hamid, was crushed to death by the motorcade of former prime minister, Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, during a protest against the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify him from his post. The motorcade did not bother to stop and carry the injured child to hospital, despite many ambulances and police vans being present. The child lay injured on the road for some time, before bystanders carried him to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Moving to India, filmmaker Divya Bharathi has been forced to leave her home state of Tamil Nadu after repeated threatening phone calls and suspected stalking, due to her film on manual scavenging called ‘Kakkoos’. The film implicates the Dean of a well known Tamil Nadu university, and his supporters have attacked her for ‘besmirching’ the name of their community.

Finally, the Urgent Appeals Weekly features three cases from Indonesia and India.

The bulletin can be watched online at www.alrc.asia/justasia and AHRC TV YouTube. We welcome both human rights feeds to be considered for weekly news bulletin, and your suggestions to improve our news channel. Please write to [email protected]. You can also watch our Weekly Roundup on Facebook.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

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