This week Just Asia begins with Sri Lanka, where investigations are ongoing into the abduction and murder of two businessmen from Rathgama. Until now, two police officers have already been arrested. Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department has revealed that the two businessmen, Manjula Asela and Rashin Chinthaka were abducted and murdered, and their bodies were then burnt. Just Asia speaks to Basil Fernando, Director of Policy and Program Development, AHRC, for details.
Next, in the Philippines, Senator Leila de Lima marked her second year in detention last Sunday. She was arrested in 2017 on false drug related charges. International groups and individuals have renewed their call on the Philippine government to drop all charges against De Lima, and immediately release her. While De Lima has expressed doubt about being released or getting a fair trial while President Duterte is in office, she continues her work from prison, calling out the president on the extra-judicial killings, the plan to revive the death penalty and the renewal of martial law in Mindanao.
Burma saw thousands of people rallying in support of constitutional reform on Wednesday, after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party launched a surprise bid in January to make amendments to the constitution. Protesters gathered in the centre of Burma’s capital Yangon to hear speeches by veteran democracy activists, while singers led the crowd in chants of “take a rest, military dictatorship”. The military drafted constitution of 2008 allows the military control over the defence and home affairs ministries, as well as a quarter of parliamentary seats.
Next, in Indonesia, Amnesty International launched a special report regarding murder and impunity in Papua. The report documented 69 cases of human rights violations occurring between 2010 and 2018, with a total of 95 victims. Amnesty Indonesia invited human rights activists and lawyers from Papua and elsewhere for the launch, which was organized in response to the lack of debate on human rights in Papua by the two presidential candidates.
Lastly, India’s north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh is seeing protests for the second time this year. The violence sparked by the protests has claimed two lives in police firing, and left several houses and vehicles burnt, including that of the deputy chief minister. The violence and protests were sparked by the state government’s decision to grant Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) to six non-native communities living in Arunachal for decades, without taking the indigenous communities into confidence.