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June 2011

Countries in this issue: Cambodia, p. 2 Indonesia, p. 3 Myanmar, p. 5 Delivering Keys to the Embassy of Myanmar
By Claudia Vandermade On June 17 , Amnesty members were finally able to deliver more than 2,000 Keys to Freedom to the Embassy of Myanmar in Washington, DC. We had attempted this once before, during the April Get on the Bus DC event, but the embassy inexplicably closed on the day we had told them we were coming. This time we decided to catch them first thing in the morning, unannounced. Co-country specialist, Nancy Galib, IAR interns Natasha JessenPetersen and Jasmine Heiss, and I rang the front door bell of the embassy at 9:30 AM. A polite and very young man answered, and we asked if we could deliver a letter along with the AI Annual Report, as

Philippines, p. 5 Thailand ,p. 6

well as a scroll more than 50 feet long that held the keys. He was a bit unsure of who we were or what we wanted, but we basically employed the time-tested activist technique of just shoving everything into his hands. Mission accomplished.

Claudia Vandermade and Nancy Galib deliver keys to represent the locked prison cells of over 2,000 political prisoners still being held in Myanmar.

SEAsia Action Network Newsletter

Check Out Current UAs from Southeast Asia Indonesia Fear for Safety

June 2011

Amnesty fears for the safety of 42-year-old human rights activist Yones Douw who was beaten by military officers on June 15th and has been denied medical treatment. After he attempted to calm protesters he was struck on the head many times with pieces of wood. He went to the Siriwini hospital for treatment and to obtain a medical report, but was told by the medical staff that he would need a letter from the police before they could treat him. Expires 29 July. Click to take action.

Myanmar Risk of Torture/Risk of IllTreatment

Political prisoners in Myanmar who have initiated peaceful protests in three prisons, including hunger strikes, are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International has received credible reports that seven prisoners who were on hunger strike were placed in solitary confinement in cells designed for military dogs between 24 and 26 May. Expires 14 July. Click to take action.

Across Southeast Asia

Forty-eight million children in the Asia Pacific region are involved in hazardous child labour - out of 115 million globally according to a 10 June report by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Most are engaged in agriculture, including fishing. Children's bodies absorb up to two times more toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, than adults with the same exposure, and are more likely to be injured or die due to workplace hazards, the report said.

Update: Cambodia Amnesty News:

Amnesty International has been joined by a number of other organizations in issuing an open letter to officials in Cambodia
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regarding the arbitrary detention of union leader and human rights defender Sous Chantha. He has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest seven months ago on drug trafficking charges. However, the circumstances surrounding his arrest have raised doubt surrounding these charges and there is concern that the charges at have been brought about I retaliation for his union activities in advocating for labor rights.

June 2011

Amnesty International has issued a public statement expressing concern that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia are moving towards dismissing the cases against additional suspects (involving the actions of the Khmer Rouge), amid an atmosphere of excessive and unnecessary secrecy, disciplinary measures jeopardizing prosecutors independence and reports of political intervention.

Update: Indonesia Amnesty News:

In a joint statement with numerous Indonesian civil society organizations, Amnesty International issued a public statement calling on the Indonesian authorities to immediately repeal the newly issued government regulation permitting female circumcision (sunat perempuan), and instead enact specific legislation with appropriate penalties prohibiting all forms of female genital mutilation (FGM). The new regulation legitimizes the practice of female genital mutilation and authorizes certain medical professionals, such as doctors, midwives and nurses, to perform it. Amnesty International has stated that Indonesias support for an international convention on domestic workers must be followed by the enactment of a domestic workers law in Indonesia. Amnesty International welcomed the adoption of the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention and Indonesias support for this key instrument. This commitment must however be followed through by adoption of domestic legislation protecting an estimated 2.6 million domestic workers in Indonesia the majority of whom are women and girls who face specific risks of abuse because they are not fully legally protected as workers.
SEAsia Action Network Newsletter 3

June 2011

Amnesty International has called for the immediate and unconditional release of seven prisoners of conscience, arrested and charged merely for their involvement in a peaceful political protest and flag-raising. Their case highlights the continued failure of the Indonesian government to distinguish between armed groups and peaceful political activists. A group of activists including students took part in peaceful Keep up-to-date with march on 14 December 2010 human rights in protesting against injustice and human rights violations by the Southeast Asia. Join us Indonesian security forces against Papuans. During the ceremony the on Facebook. 14 Star Flag, a symbol of West Melanesian independence, was raised. The Manokwari Sub-district Public Order Police (Polres) immediately responded by dispersing the crowd and arresting five students: Jhon Wilson Wader, Penehas Serongon, Yance Sekenyap, Alex Duwiri and Jhon Raweyai. They also arrested Melki Bleskadit and Daniel Yenu, two other political activists at the demonstration. Amnesty International takes no position whatsoever on the political status of any province of Indonesia, including calls for independence. However the organization believes that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate referendums, independence or any other political solutions that do not involve incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

In the News:
A number of Asian news outlets have picked up the story about the Obedient Wives Club in Indonesia. The club was founded by the conservative Islanic group Global Ikhwan in Malaysia where hundreds of women are members. Organizers claim they can cure social ills such as prostitution and divorce by teaching women to be submissive and to keep their men happy in the bedroom. Husein Muhammad, a commissioner of an Indonesian commission on womens rights, said such a club is needless and would not get support in the country. (Jakarta Globe, 6.19.11)

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Update: Myanmar
Amnesty News:

June 2011

The UN Human Rights Council adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Myanmar on 8 June 2011 its 17th session. Prior to the adoption of the report of the review Amnesty International delivered an oral statement summarizing its particular concerns. In the statement, Amnesty International estimated that there are more than 2,200 political prisoners in Myanmar, and some have been detained since the 1990s. More recently, people have been sentenced to more than 60 years imprisonment, and are held in inhumane conditions.

In the News:
Actress Michelle Yeoh was deported when she tried to enter Myanmar last week. Yeoh plays Aung San Suu Kyi in a film to be released later this year. Yeoh had previously visited Myanmar in December while preparing for her role, and was able to visit Suu Kyi just after she had been released from seven years of house arrest. (Voice of America News, 28 June).

Update: Philippines In the News:

Philippine country specialist Perfecto Boyet-Caparas has noted that this action by the Philippine Supreme Court can be considered a milestone in Philippine jurisprudence: Retired Maj.Gen Jovito Palparan was commander of the 7th Infantry Division during former President Gloria Arroyos reign, before he unsuccessfully ran for senator in 2010. Often labeled berdugo or the butcher by activists, he is being held responsible by the Supreme Court for the abduction, torture and forced disappearances of two UP students and a farmer in Nueva Ecija

The Supreme Court has ordered the military to immediately release two University of the Philippines activists and a Bulacan farmer missing for five years, and named retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and five others as apparently responsible for their disappearance. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 6.21.11).

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On 14 June 2011 private guards employed by Central Mindanao University (CMU) opened fire and beat protestors who had set up camp outside the university in Dologan, Maramag, Bukidnon in the southern Philippines. Human rights defenders Messrs Billy Jardin, Gregorio Santillan and Larry de Vera received gunshot wounds and Messrs Wenni Loable, Jos Benemerito and Ms Marilou Portin were seriously injured. The protestors were members of Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (BTL) Farmer's Association and BTL Women's Association. BTL is an umbrella organisation of the three local peasant groups Buffalo,Tamarawa and Limus. They have tilled the lands inside CMU for over thirty years and have been protesting against the forcible eviction from these lands. (FrontLine, 6.15.11)

June 2011

Update: Thailand In the News:

Last month the government of Thailand announced that the country will hold a national election on July 3. The Asian Human Rights Commission reports that it might have been expected that this announcement would result in a lessening of the threats against, and arrests of, persons trying to exercise free speech. In fact, the opposite is the case. Since the announcement, the government seems to have gone into overdrive in its efforts to criminalize free speech, shutting down radio stations and ordering the arrest of dissident voices on the pretext that they are anti-royalist. Click to read more.

SEAsia Action Network Newsletter

June 2011

Meet your amazing and dedicated team of Country Specialists:

Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia Indonesia Jeanne Marie Stumpf Max White (and Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea) Gartini Isa Carole Marzolf Laos, Thailand Myanmar Tyrell Haberkorn Jim Roberts Nancy Galib Anil Raj Philippines, Perfecto Boyet-Caparas Leila Chacko (and Pacific Islands) Vietnam Co-Group and RAN Coordinator, Newsletter editor Jean Libby Claudia Vandermade

Have a question about AIs work in a particular country? Wondering how to take your country work a step further? Contact a Country Specialist, or the Co-Group Coordinator, Claudia Vandermade.

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