Asia and the Pacific Human Rights

Amnesty International monitors and campaigns on all countries in Asia, where human rights abuses are occurring on a daily basis. Human rights defenders are often at risk of harm, torture is rampant, and the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are often denied.

East Asia

In China, serious human rights violations continue to be committed. This includes torture, execution (in which China is world leader), excessive use of force in public order policing, repression of dissent and forced repatriation of asylum seekers without recourse to a refugee determination procedure.

Foreign governments continue to fail in challenging China's disastrous human rights record, however, the recent award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese human rights defender, Liu Xiaobo, may lead to some positive change in that regard.

East Asia sees continuing serious human rights abuses across the region. Freedom of expression is still significantly limited in South Korea. In North Korea the government still fails to uphold its population's basic right to food and health care. Most East Asian governments, including Japan, continue to apply the death penalty.

South East Asia

Grave violations of fundamental human rights are a daily reality throughout the region. Freedom of expression and association is routinely denied in many countries, with political dissidents often sentenced to long terms in prison following unfair trials.

Legal frameworks for the protection of human rights are weak, allowing human rights abuses to be carried out with impunity and leaving victims, particularly women and members of ethnic minorities, with little opportunity for redress.

Human rights defenders across the region suffer violence, intimidation and imprisonment. The death penalty continues to be used in many countries, often after unfair trials, for crimes that include drug-related and economic offenses.

In this joint statement, international human rights organizations express their concern that the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has yet to take the necessary steps to ensure that the process of drafting the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) is transparent and fully consultative with civil society organizations in the ASEAN region. This document also includes the statement released on 8 April 2012 by national and regional NGOs expressing their disappointment over the continuing secrecy in the drafting process of the AHRD.

South Asia

Key issues across South Asia include the denial of civil and political rights, armed conflict, 'war on terror', violence against women, poverty, impunity, freedom of expression, human rights defenders at risk, and the death penalty.

Grave human rights violations continue as a result of armed conflict in Afghanistan, several regions of India, and Pakistan. Armed political groups commit frequent human rights abuses, while the "war on terror" continues to provide excuses for grave abuses of rights by governments.

Impunity for disappearances, killings, and torture remains a serious problem in the region. In Sri Lanka there has been no accountability for reported war crimes and other human rights abuses committed by both sides during the 26-year civil war which ended in 2009. In Nepal, not a single perpetrator of the thousands of grave human rights abuses committed during the 10-year civil conflict (1996-2006) has been brought to justice.

Widespread poverty, food insecurity, and economic disparities continue to pose threats to the basic human rights and well-being of tens of millions of South Asians. Women, children, indigenous people, minority groups, lower castes, migrants, and displaced people face abuses and discrimination across the region.

Featured Issues and Campaigns

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More Information on Asia and the Pacific Human Rights