Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission: ASIA: No end to violence against women without access to justice

Incidences of violence against women are not isolated or sporadic, but a daily occurrence in Asian countries. While women are subjected to various forms of violence in private and public domains, such as sexual assault, rape and acid throwing, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to draw attention to the increasing tendency of violations perpetrated by state agents, mostly the police and military, in the form of torture, rape, extrajudicial killing and being used as sex slaves in military torture cells.

From social and cultural norms to ineffective legal procedures, women are thwarted at every turn as they attempt to complain against their abuse, seek punishment of those responsible and improve their own circumstances. While the denial of justice is a fundamental human rights violation, it is also key in perpetuating the cycle of violence, as the perpetrators remain free to continue their abusive and illegal behaviour.

Supporting all women confronting the denial of justice, the AHRC urges states to improve their complaint making procedures and available remedies.

Complaint making procedure

Registering a complaint is the first step in speaking out against any abuse suffered by women and addressing it. Without any complaint being made, little can be done. State agencies and complaint receiving bodies are generally not conducive to registering complaints of abuse against fellow officials, or against wealthy and influential individuals. Their attitude towards women also makes them indifferent to their complaints. Furthermore, the corruption prevalent within policing institutions throughout Asia makes the police an easy target for perpetrators of violence to bribe and silence. Meanwhile, those bodies specifically meant to receive complaints from women, such as women’s commissions, tend to have limited resources, budgets and authority, which are obstacles in carrying out their functions effectively. For instance, Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women, is often not able to conduct its own investigations, or, at best, may conduct investigations and make recommendations to other state institutions for further action. However, law enforcement bodies do not always take up its recommendations. Similarly, the Commission for Women in India receives a large number of complaints and conducts its own investigations, but these, along with its recommendations, are often ignored by India’s law enforcement bodies.  Continue reading “Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission: ASIA: No end to violence against women without access to justice”

Thailand flooding: Case Story of a Burmese Migrant Worker Impacted by Floods in Thailand

Thousands of migrant workers have been dramatically impacted by the recent floods in Thailand.  In addition to the consequences of the natural disaster, many migrant workers are finding themselves exploited and cheated by Thai immigration officials, brokers, and employers who are taking advantage of the situation at the expense of these workers.  Here is one story of a Burmese migrant workers impacted by the floods:

Aung is a 23 year old Myanmar migrant who was smuggled into Phuket in Southern Thailand to work from Kaw Thaung in Southern Myanmar during 2004. He paid around US$130 to enter Thailand. After working 3 different construction and hotel related jobs on the Southern island, Aung paid 4, 500 Baht (US$150) to be smuggled from Phuket to Bangkok to work at a car wash in 2011. His employer registered him when he arrived in Bangkok for a legal work permit. Aung eventually left this employer however after 3-4 months and started more construction work in Bangkok. When the floods arrived at his construction site in outer Northern Bangkok, the employer laid all of the workers off without assistance but paid all their back wages first. Aung then found another job at another car wash outside of the flooded area. However, within a few days, and as the workplaces Aung had worked in were close together, his previous employer who registered him saw Aung working at the different work site. 3 days later, this same employer returned with the police and arrested Aung and took him to the police station. The police did not investigate anything or ask Aung any questions but simply locked him up in a cell. The day after, despite possessing a work permit, Aung was transferred to the Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok where he was detained for 8 days in a cell with 150 other people and was given food that was so bad that it made him vomit. Aung was then transferred over night to Mae Sot Immigration Center on the Thai-Myanmar border. A day later, Aung and around 50 other workers were deported directly to Myanmar authorities on the newly opened Friendship Bridge separating Mae Sot and Myawaddy, at no cost. Continue reading “Thailand flooding: Case Story of a Burmese Migrant Worker Impacted by Floods in Thailand”