Odhikar believes that ‘democracy’ is a form of the State and presupposes that freedom and human rights are its foundations. Democracy is not merely a process of electing a ruler. Democracy is the result of the peoples’ struggle for inalienable rights, which become the fundamental premise to constitute the State defining collective aspirations and responsibilities. Therefore, the individual freedoms and democratic aspirations of the citizens – and consequently, peoples’ collective rights and responsibilities - must be the foundational principles of the State.
19 February 2016, Manila, Philippines — The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) strongly condemns the recent arrest of 12 Human Rights Defenders and conflict victims, which occurred this morning at around 8.30AM in Baluwatar, Kathmandu and asks for their immediate release. On the occasion of the 66th National Democracy Day of Nepal, the Prime Minister of Nepal was expected to deliver a speech during the ceremony at the Nepalese Army Pavilion in Kathmandu where also the President and other high level officers of Nepal were attending the event.
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Geneva-Paris-Hong Kong, February 3, 2016. The authorities of Bangladesh should immediately release journalist Mahmudur Rahman, who completed 1,000 days in custody without trial on January 6, 2016 as part of the Government’s efforts to stifle critical voices in the country, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a OMCT-FIDH joint programme) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said today.
Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, Acting Editor of the Amar Desh newspaper, has been detained since April 11, 2013, after he was charged with sedition and unlawful publication of a Skype conversation between International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) Judge Md Nizamul Huq and an external consultant in December 2012. At the time of his arrest, the Amar Desh office and its press were raided by the police, journalists and press-operators were beaten and driven out, and the press building was sealed. It has remained closed since. From April 11 to 24, 2013, Mr. Rahman was subjected to torture while in police custody.
Atty. Hermon C. Lagman was a militant labor and human rights lawyer during martial law. He taught the workers not only labor rights but also the value of critical and decisive thinking, self-reliance and steadfastness, collective leadership, and shared responsibility. He motivated trade unions and workers’ organizations to assert and defend their rights even in defiance of the martial law ban on strikes and other concerted activities.
The commission of enforced disappearance, which is a multiple violation of human rights, has been unabated in the Philippines. The Marcos regime registered the highest number of reported victims at 882, followed by the Cory Aquino administration at 825. There were 340 reported victims under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 94 under Ramos, 58 under Estrada, and 25 under the present Aquino government.