Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami: Update from Sri Lanka

UPDATE: The ASA secretariat received the email from the YMCA Sri Lanka about the situation after the tidal wave on Sunday. Chrisantha Hettiaratchi, National General Secretary, said:

Sri Lanka plunged into crisis of most unexpected tidal waves that
lashed the Northern, Southern and Eastern Coast on Sunday 25th December, 2004
morning. The day was just after Christmas and most Sri Lankan were on relaxing
mood until the tidal waves took off total villages in the coastal areas. The
waves were so horrifying that people are explaining as the movie "Day After
Tomorrow" As some of the waves had been as tall as 50 feet.

Media reports as of now, convey that there are deaths over 4,900 and over 2000
people reported missing. Over 1.5 mn people are affected and are being sheltered
at schools and places of worship. The Government has declared a state of
National Disaster and have requested International support and assistance to
help the affected people.

Sri Lanka YMCAs and its Membership are
mostly affected as 20 of the 38 Member YMCAs are situated in coastal areas. We
are at present trying to build up contacts with our members and well wishers of
their safety. Most of the buildings are affected and most YMCAs cannot be
contacted due to breakdown of telecommunication. We have declared
most YMCAs as Relief Collection and distributing centres and have appealed
to our members, friends to donate dry rations and clothing. As of now, we are
happy to state that YMCA leaders have contributed a load of dry rations for
distribution through YMCAs. Today we are distributing relief to closer YMCAs and
we intend visiting South and East, moment we hear the areas are motarable.
We seek your prayers for those who passed away and those who lost their
belongings and livelihood.

Condolence to all Victims of Tsunamis

UPDATE: As the people of the world celebrated the holiday of X'mas, at least 13,390 dead across Asia in tidal waves after world's most powerful earthquake, Tsunami, in 40 years. The number of the victims is increasing by time to time.

The toll from the disaster is set to spiral in the worst-hit areas of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Thailand. All these countries are developing countries that needs for decent infrastructure for the relief operation. Most of the people in these areas have to struggle for their survive.

The ASA extends the condolence to the family members of the victims. We strongly feel that the lost of the family, friends, comrades and relatives is something very hard to accept. One of the positive way to stand up under this painful situation is to be strong and work with the people to overcome the damages.

The members of the ASA in those affected countries will be contacted immediately to know the situation. We are looking forward to their briefing and report of the damage control in their respective countries. Their resolution and action for the affected areas will be very much welcome.

At the same time, the ASA secretairat calls the members of the ASA to work with partners in the relief operation. Any relief operation that take place in those area can be the correspondence for the ASA to work effectively with them. The ASA is looking forward to work with them in order to make the relief operation a successful one.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry X'mas or Season Greetings?

Tonight is the X'mas eve, what are you going to do for the X'mas celebration? Any interesting event for you to celebrate the X'mas? However, I think many of you will not feel strange to the greeting of "Merry X'mas" because this is the greetings that we used since the creation of the X'mas.

This year, there were debates in the US about the using of the Merry X'mas as the greeting because of the religious origin of the Christianity. Instead of using "Merry X'mas", they proposed to use the "Happy Holiday" or "Season's Greeting" in order to accommodate the migrants community or non Christian in the US.

Such debate became the target of the conservative Catholic, they strongly criticised such proposal. What do you think about this? Even country like Malaysia, the state is not allowed the word of "Jesus Christ" to be used in the X'mas celebration. Of course, this is another extreme that we have in the Asia.

For the purpose of the debate, I welcome such initiatives that start thinking or even concern about the ethnic minority or migrant community in a country like US. However, the religious celebration should not intervene by the state or any authority.

For instance, for those who are sensitive to the Merry X'mas, they can use Season Greetings or Happy Holiday instead. But there is no reason to ask other people not to use "Merry X'mas". I think this is still can be debated.

Anyway, wish you have a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Crackdown on Students Protest in Patna University, India

UPDATE: On December 15, hundreds of students led by the ASA member, All-India Students Association (AISA) gheraoed a meeting of the Senate of Patna University demanding Central University Status for Patna University, Students Union Elections as well as an end to criminalisation of the campus.

According to the report from the AISA, the crackdown faced by these protesting students was remarkable because not only did the police indulge in indiscriminate arrests and lathi charge, they also actively encouraged notorious RJD-sponsored lumpens of the campus to attack the students. As a result, several students were severely injured and admitted to the Patna Medical College Hospital.

In protest against this assault, AISA organised a bandh of the Patna University the next day; in the course of this bandh, students responded enthusiastically but clashes between RJD-sponsored goons and AISA activists and common students continued. AISA is planning to involve other student groups in taking the struggle forward.

We, in the ASA very much concerns about the crackdown in on Indian students in Patna University. The Indian government have to respect the human rights and the democratic rights of the students. The perpetrators have to bring into justice.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Religion Freedom in Korean Schools?!

UPDATE: The Korean high school student, Gang Ui Seok, was expelled by the school due to his refused to attend the religious education in the faith-based private school. He has been on the hinger strike for 44 days, and his ardent cry is winning the public's attention.

According to the editorial from Hankyoreh,

Some of those schools are said to have been forcing students to
participate in religious education and rituals. It does not need to be said that
this is in violation of the spirit of the constitution, which guarantees freedom
of religion. It also goes against religion's lofty aims. Are not conscience and
belief at the core of modern religion? And is that all? The practice can also
become an obstacle to educational goals as well, and it does not fit with the
ideals of pursuing independent and creative development, which is what modern
education is all about.

Actually, there are many faith-base schools in many countries in Asia and Pacific. The freedom of religious become a struggle when there is forcing the people to take the faith education. When we are discussing about the faith dialogue or even integration between different religious background students, we have to start it from the very earlier stage.

The case in Korea just an example of how exclusive the religious school. Indeed, this is another big debate that we might felt in with never ending. However, what we can fight for is the freedom of religious should be implement in all level, including the education system.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ASA have Speaking Tours in Malaysia!

BREAKING NEWS: Following the National Student Consultation Meeting (NSC) in the earlier of 2004, the ASA have another speaking tour in Malaysia before the 2004 ended. Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA), the ASA member in Malaysia can consider as one of the most active members in organizing and promote the ASA.

Rey represent the Regional Secretariat Member to kick off the speaking tours in Penang, the northern region of Penisular Malaysia. He had several talks in the University Science Malaysia (USM). The university authority that punished Soh Sook Hwa for her involvement in the General Election campaign. We hope this speaking tour will provide the student about the experiences of the Philippines and other part of the Asia.

As we received the message from Malaysia, Rey is now having the talk in University Putra Malaysia (UPM). He is sharing the student movement in Philippines and his comments on the Malaysia movement. As we know that the UPM student also under very repressive act from the university authority. The talks may be crackdown by the authority anytime. Anyway, we all will prepare for that.

More interesting, DEMA will have the first National Youth Camp in Malaysia. It will held on December 24 to 26. Why in X'mas?

Anyone want to tell me the reason? Anyway, please tell your answer, even guess!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Students Employed as Military Inteligence!

UPDATE: According to the Bulatlat reports, a Filipino student admitted he received P2,000 (US$35.71) a month to spy on activists and work with the university administration to prevent militant from winning the student council election.

Another case in University of Philippines -Cebu College, pictures of student council officers and editor of Tug-ani, the UP Cebu student publication, were shown. The military alleged the student leaders are communists and terrorist.

In August, students from the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) called for the eviction of American troops billeted at the university hostel. The hostel is located right in front of the USM Annex Elementary School.

Military detachments were also set up inside the campuses of Central Mindanao University (CMU) and Mindanao State University-Marawi campus.

Please read the full report from RONALYN OLEA.

The ASA member in Philippines, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) held their 2nd National Students Convention on December 7. All of the complains were delivered by the different university delegates.

The Philippines government already ruined the university autonomy and academic freedom. The Macapagal Gloria Arroyo (MGA) government already transformed the university to the military garrisons.

With the pretext of anti insurgency, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has victimized the students from different colleges and universities. To assert the rights of education and democratic, the students are labeling as the communists and terrorists.

This is another implication of the War on Terror. We will never have the justice and peace with this war on terror. What we face is more terror and violence by the state. We, in the ASA will remain the solidarity to the steadfast campaign of the Philippines student and the people.

The Birth of ISYNOW!

BREAKING NEWS: With the fruitful meeting between the ASA, WSCF and IMCS, we decided to set up the International Student and Youth Network on WTO (ISYNOW). The meeting was attended by the representative from different organizations and the local national members as well. It's a boosting for the mobilization works of the ASA together with other regional student and youth organizations.

As we emphasised the stronger alliance to counter the principle value of the Liberalization, Deregulation and Privatization (LDP), ISYNOW will become the important platform for the young people to organize ourselves to become a significant forces in the Anti-Globalization movement. Indeed, without the participation of the national movement, it's very hard to achieve the goals that we shared.

In order to play a more constructive and effective role in the coming International Coordinating Network (ICN) in Hong Kong on Febrauary 26-28, ISYNOW decided to have the meeting before the ICN took place. We are very much welcome to those who are interested to become part of the member in the network. We strongly believe the unity in the network will provide us a wonderful experiences.

For those who want to become the network, please contact the ASA secretariat at

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Forget and Forgive?!

According to The Age (Melbourne), the leaders of Indonesia and East Timor have quietly agreed to discuss setting up a "truth and friendship commission" that would reconsider the massacre of East Timorese about the time of their 1999 vote for independence.

At their first meeting held in Bali late on Tuesday, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao agreed to the idea of the commission to defuse tensions between the two countries.

More importantly, the creation of such a body would allow Indonesia and East Timor to argue that there was no need for the United Nations to take any further action over the massacres of East Timorese for which virtually no one in Indonesia has been punished.

A spokesman for East Timor's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, said the idea of the new body was to "strengthen friendship between the two countries" and increase co-operation. But he said the commission would also discuss "the truth about the events of 1999", although he said there was no plan tomake it a reconciliation commission.

Under heavy international pressure, the Indonesian Government set up an ad hoc human rights tribunal and promised to prosecute those responsible for the bloodshed, but every Indonesian-born defendant was found not guilty or had convictions overturned on appeal.

The United States and human rights groups condemned the trials as a farce and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been under pressure to establish a commission of experts to examine the massacres and Indonesia's failure to punish those responsible.

However, East Timorese leaders have said they want good relations with their much bigger neighbour want and to put the past behind them, something such a joint commission with Indonesia might help them do.

Earlier this year the East Timorese Government opposed an attempt by UN-funded prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for General Wiranto, the commander of Indonesia armed forces at the time of the bloodshed.

I was in the APCET 5 in last May. We discussed about how the justice can be done to the victims of the massacre. We even want to bring those perpetrators to the counrt of justice.

Of course, we welcome such a "friendly" and forget and forgive attitudes by the Timorese government. However, we think the voices of the victims need to consider. They are the one who want to get back their dignity. As the Timorese government, they have to consider this aspects.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

What happened of the GATS to those countries?

UPDATE: What happened in Australia?

The Australian government continues to pursue the services negotiations aggressively, and was a signatory to the paper produced for the December WTO meeting urging more developing countries to make offers.

The Australian government has not released details of its requests to other countries but has indicated that requests have been made in finance and telecommunications, access for professionals and executives, freight transport services, private education services, (English teaching and tertiary education), waste management services but (they claim) not water for human use, private health services including private hospitals and private aged care.

On Australia's own offers, the indications are that they are not likely to make immediate large changes for the May deadline to their initial offer that was published last year. But they may make changes if others make more offers, or in exchange for concessions on agriculture from the EU or the US . This is partly a negotiating tactic because other offers have not been forthcoming. But it is also because they made public commitments as the result of our community campaign last year that they would not make further offers in the areas of public health, public education, ownership of water, and cultural goals (including audio -visual services), and they know that these are very sensitive issues in the community .

On education services, the Howard government wants to set up a national publicly funded but privately run vocational education service. (currently vocational education is run by state governemnts). This could have implications for GATS commitments, as private companies may demand access to other public education funding. The Howard governments are also planning a major review of public health services which could result in privatisation.

What happened in France?

Dec 3, with the second anniversary of the Paris call of elected officials for the suspension of GAT negociations. It also marks the official burial of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) in 1998, and the defeat of the launching of the Millenium Round in Seattle in 1999.

The national, regional, departmental and municipal elected officials present adopted a charter through which they refuse to forsake their rights and responsibilities as peoples' representatives to an unelected body, the WTO. A body bent upon privatising services of all kinds, including public services.

They decided on a programme of action, in particular to take part in the April 10/17 international week of action, in order to exert pressure on government/s ahead of the sixth WTO ministerial, a ministerial which could spell disaster for farmers, for biodiversity, for peoples' rights, social rights, and indeed democracy itself, throughout the world.

GATS: The Enemy of the People of the World

UPDATE: End of November/beginning of December the second negotiating week in fall 2004 took place. Among the "highlights" of this negotiating session figures a joint statement of 13 developed countries, plus Mexico, Chile and India, calling for an acceleration of negotiations in services.

Furthermore, El Salvador tabled its offer, while Malaysia and Egypt indicated that they plan to table an offer soon. According to Geneva source, the Chair of the services negotiations and the WTO Secretariat try to portray the negotiations as being at a critical stage and that something urgent needs to be done to make them more dynamic.

Among other ideas, it seems there is a discussion on whether to revisit the negotiating process. To date issues such as subsidies, safeguard measures, government procurement and questions related to domestic regulation are discussed in a multilateral setting. Market access is negotiated in bilateral meetings.

One proposal suggests to establish quantitative benchmarks, such as agreement that a certain number of new sectors should be covered by commitments, or a certain number of trade barriers eliminated. Such an approach would define a certain minium level of progress. The mere fact that such proposals are discussed undermines the highly praised flexibility of the GATS that is supposed to leave each member free to decide whether they wish to commit to liberalization of any given services sector at all, and if so, to what extent they would liberalize.

The next services session will take place in February (7th to the 25th). It is expected that the demandeurs in this area (EC, US, Japan, Switzerland etc.) will present revised requests to developing countries. The three weeks will certainly be used to further excert pressure on developing countries to submit offers. A large number of business representatives are again expected to be present in Geneva to meet and lobby developing country delegates.

What will your respective government going to offer or request? Do you know any information about their negotiation process? What we can do to get out from the dark?

The ASA will work together with you to expose the hypocrisy and the greedy of the TNC in influence the government to agree the GATS. We need to pressure our government to let u sknow the process.

Friday, December 17, 2004

On the Road to the New Year Publication...

BREAKING NEWS: The ASA secretariat is now busy with the new year publication. It will be the newsletter that provide the restropect about the 2004 and forsee the future in 2005. For those who are always follow with the progress in ASA, this publication will also serve as your reflection.

The 2004 is going to end for another 14 days. Many of the organizations busy with their annual report, activities and gatherings. For the ASA, we try to give you another perspective about the new year celebration.

The ASA secretariat committed to provide you a comprehensive and informative New Year Publication. With the professional of the CEGP, ASA member in Philippines, Rey is doing a very attractive layout.

With the different experiences from the trips and activities, Madhav and Khai Loon will tell you more about the outcome of the past activities. This is the collective work that ASA always emphasize.

We hope the 2005 will be another breakthrough for the ASA.

Of course, we will publish the New Year Publication in PDF as well for the ASA supporter. As usual, we are looking forward your response and feedback after you read the New Year Publication. We will let you know more about that...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Please Register for ICN Meeting in February

UPDATE: For those who are interested to join the coming International Coordinating Network Meeting on February 26-27, 2005 in Hong Kong. Please register quickly.

The ASA secretariat alerady sent out the email to all the member and network. We hope all of you will take time to fill uip the form and sent back to us ASAP.

For those who decided to attend the upcoming ICN meeting, please inform to the ASA secretariat as well because we are going to coordinate the meeting as well. The ASA still plan to have the back to back meeting after the ICN.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

What's next for Taiwan?

UPDATE: Taiwan's opposition coalition won 114 seats out of 225 legislative seats. The result seems very positive for the Chinese official because at least President Chen Shui-bian will become the lame duck to past through the "provocative" legislation including the referendum.

With the result in Taiwan, will Chen-Shui-bian change his position about some controversial agenda especially the pro-independent? How about the opposition coalition? Will the discussion about the independent and reunification become more intensified?

Hopefully we will get more insight from the member organization in Taiwan, TAISO.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Taiwan Parliamentary Election: Who will get more than 50% of the seats?

After the controversial Presidential Election in the early of 2004, Taiwanese today have another opportunity to elect their legislature in the parliament.

The most interesting part is the President led ruling coalition and the opposition coalition both are claiming to get more than 50% of the 225-seats. What will happened to the result? The counting is going on now. The result will come out very soon.

Anyway, the victory on this election will likely to provide the confident for Chen Shui-bian to promote the new Taiwan campaign. Once again, it will increase the tension of the strait again. The China will be very worry about the result of the coming legislature election. However, the Chinese official seems more wisely to response this time. There were no "provocative" and emotional statements from the Chinese officials.

Let's keep the update time to time. The ASA will update about the situation as soon as we got any breaking news.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Human Rights in Asia Pacific: A Numbers Game?

Open Statement of the Asian Students Association on International Human Rights Day
December 10, 2004

Twenty-two year old Soh Sook Wah may not ever get to hold or see her university diploma, what for many a key to unlocking their future.

For her political involvement in the recent Malaysian general election, she was charged by the University of Science Malaysia for violating the University College and Colleges Act. With this, she may face suspension, expulsion or worst, a space in the list of blacklisted youth in the university.

Her rights to free association and affiliation, free expression and speech, movement and decision have been grossly violated by laws the Malaysian government itself has passed and implemented for many years.

Soh Sook Wah is not alone.

The young people of Aceh in Indonesia, Mindanao in the Philippines and West Papua wake up to see barrels of guns aimed at their houses, guns held by the military and paramilitary who are supposed to protect them.

The Apartheid wall in Palestine remains as foreboding as the Israeli Zionist’s terrorist intent, constricting their right to education, livelihood and movement.

The cost of human sacrifice in the recent Iraq war reached 16,000 - how many of them are young people?

This is not to mention those who have lost their right to education with the commercialization of universities and schools; the indigenous youth whose rights to ancestral domain and self-determination displaced because of what the state calls development; the youth section in many unemployment records of governments the world over; the young women forced into hard labor, prostitution and abuse aggravated further by sexism and patriarchy.

While the states of the world celebrate International Human Rights day today, many of the youth don’t even know they have human rights.

December 10 may be another regular day for those who live in fear, for those who have been taught to succumb and blindly follow, for those who don’t know that such a day exists.

The ASA sees this day not a day to celebrate but review the human rights record and the situation of people, especially the youth in Asia Pacific.

It is not simply an event to celebrate existence of human rights conventions but to review if they are implemented and push various states to sign, recognize and follow them.

International human rights conventions exist yet many still have their rights violated. Human rights defenders and advocates themselves become the target of torture, harassment and even murder.

The strong determination of the United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights to uphold human rights in the world is virtuous yet various governments fail to promote and uphold democracy in their respective countries and constituencies.

The International Criminal Tribunal may just be another answer in a law aptitude examination with war criminals and human rights violators running scot-free around the world, holding office and running business.

As an independent student platform in the Asia-Pacific, we in the ASA take up the challenges by intensifying the human rights campaign.

We recognize and support movements and organizations and institutions who have stood up against guns, goons and gold to uphold freedom, democracy and human rights. We remain in solidarity with states and peoples asserting their self-determination and sovereignty.

The repression and suppression from the state will not stop us but rather will push us to rise up and resist. Their assaults and efforts of repression only show the weakness of the state to gain the support and confidence from the people. Their irrelevance becomes clearer.

We remain in solidarity with the people of the world who contribute their strengths, ideas, freedom and sweat to uphold the human rights. We pay tribute to those who sacrificed themselves in the struggle to realize the dream of a better life for the people.

For the youth belong to and are with the people who struggle now.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

ASA Celebrated International HR Days in Hong Kong

This is the jointly booth that worked out by the ASA and HKFS. The International Human Rights Day Carnival was successful held in Hong Kong Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

Donors Needed for Relief Operation in the Philippine

URGENT APPEAL: The ASA Secretariat received the email from the League of Filipino Students (LFS) about the relief operation in the Philippine.

Here are the details of the new establishment of the task force:

The Task Force BALSA (Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan) is a network of people's organizations and institutions in the Philippines that was formed in response to the natural disasters that threaten to break the backs of the Filipino people. The destruction caused by the typhoons Winnie and Yoyong in the Philippines have left near one thousand Filipinos dead or missing and thousands more homeless. Floods and landslides have washed away homes and means of livelihood.

This December 11-13, TF BALSA will be holding relief operations in the province of Aurora, Philippines. The two typhoons left in its wake around 150 dead and another hundred still missing. 10 159 families or about 50
300 individuals were affected by the typhoons, most of them from poor peasant families with nowhere else to turn. It is because of this that TF Balsa asks for your support. Any assistance you may extend is more than

If you wish to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us through telephone (+632 7807448 or +632 7144357) or email address ( You may also contact our project manager Mark
through (+63) 9214663648.

What's New in East Asia Community (EAC)?

ALERT: More interesting update from the regional cooperation! Now, East Asia Community (EAC) is going to form!

Malaysia notched up a victory at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos last week when leaders endorsed its proposal for a regional summit which would include Japan, China and South Korea, despite initial objections from Indonesia.

ASEAN has held annual dialogues with the three nations since 1997 under a loose framework known as ASEAN +3. Analysts and diplomats said a formal summit would underscore the region's serious intent to become a European Union-style single market and community by 2020.

The East Asia Community (EAC) is the realisation of a 1990 proposal by then-premier Mahathir Mohamad for an East Asian Economic Caucus, which failed to take off due to opposition from the United States which feared it would undermine the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

More interesting was Abdullah listed six key markers as the way forward to the world particularly East Asia:

1. a regional charter,
2. a free trade area,
3. a monetary and financial cooperation pact,
4. a zone of amity and cooperation to prevent an arms race,
5. a transportation and communications network and,
6. a declaration of human rights and obligations.

These six key markers really progressive and attractive even for the regional organization like the Asian Students Association (ASA). A declaration of human rights and obligations is really important as many of the Asian government still not rectify the International Civil and Political Rights which also one of the fundamental human rights.

It's great to have this positive remark as the International Human Rights Day just 4 days to go. We just hope this is not something work out by Abdullah's spin doctor. He is so promising in many aspects of reform in Malaysia, but until today, we don't see any significant achievement. He needs more actions instead of political statements.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

ASA Celebrated International HR Days in Hong Kong

UPDATE: The ASA together with the Hong Kong Federation of Students joined the International Human Rights Day Carnival in Mongkok, Hong Kong. We had registered a counter to deliver the ASA brochures and the promotion of the PRO-RACE activity.

At the same time, HKFS also distributed the newsletter, orientation book and leaflet about the political reform in Hong Kong. It's a great opportunity to reach out the public in Hong Kong because Mongkok is a hottest shooping area. We managed to distibute all the materials that you brought.

Actually the International HR Day Carnival was participated by more than 20 organizations in Hong Kong. From student to women groups, the democracy advocates also participated in the Carnival. Different kind of activities were carries out. Each counter had some interactive activities for the visitors. It's really a great event for the Hong Kong people to learn the Human Rights education.

For the ASA, Khai Loon, member from the Secretariat also speaked on the Internal Security Act (ISA). The theme of the Carnival is about the Detention without trial. The ISA in Malaysia and even Singapore are the best case study for the Hong Kong people to understand the damage and the seriousness of the Internal Security Act to the civil liberty and human rights.

Different organization also present their perspective about the HR and the issues of discrimination. Due to the legislation of the racial discrimination in Hong Kong, the organizer also conducted a special forum for the discussion about the racial discrimination in Hong Kong.

The whole activity started from 2pm to 5pm. People still busy with their shopping activity. At least, people get to know about the International Human Rights Day before or after or during they shop.

Friday, December 03, 2004

20th Anniversary of Bhopal Disaster: ASA Protest in front Dow Chemical

UPDATE: Dec 3 is the 20th anniversary of Bhopal Disaster. The company responsible for this disaster is the Union Carbide, was taken over by the Dow Chemicals.

The ASA together with other groups in Hong Kong had the protest action this afternoon. The secretariat member of ASA, Madhav Nepal attended the protest action. We handed up the protest letter to the CEO of the Dow Chemical.

According to the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, a coalition of people's organizations, non-profit groups and individuals who have joined forces to campaign for justice for the survivors of the Union Carbide Disaster in Bhopal, call:
DOW, QUIT lying or quit INDIA!

They also questioned about the accountability of the corporate in US, because the accountability only for Americans, not for the Dow-Carbide's victims in Bhopal.

Worse, when Dow-Carbide practiced the double standard on the compensation towards the victims in India and American. Dow paid the family of Joshua Herb, a child who became brain-injured after being exposed to their pesticide, Dursban, $10 million in an out-of-court settlement.

However, brain-injured victims of its Bhopal gas leak got around $500 to last them the rest of their lives. When Dow was asked about the double standard practice, the spokeperson said,

"$500 is plenty good for an Indian"

How ridiculuos responses. The people's live in Bhopal already destroyed. Justice should be done to the Bhopal people.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Soh Sook Hwa Found Guilty

BREAKING NEWS: According the report from the, the disciplinary board of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) today found 22-year-old final year journalism student Soh Sook Hwa guilty of breaching university regulations over her involvement in the March general election campaigns.

The five-member panel presided by deputy vice-chancellor Assoc Prof Dr Jamaluddin Mohaiadin issued a stern warning and a fine of not more than RM200 against Soh. The actual amount of the fine will be decided later.

The decision was made during a 90-minute-long disciplinary proceeding held in the Penang-based university this afternoon.

Soh, who is also USM Chinese Language Society president and former student representative was said to have campaigned for Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Tian Chua in the Batu parliamentary seat during the general election, which he eventually lost.

For more information, you can log on the to follow the most update news. The ASA secretariat also would like to send our gratitude to all who send the protests, memos and kinds of support to Soh. We remain solidarity to the DEMA and the people in Malaysia.

Proposal to Introduce National Security Laws in Thailand

BREAKING NEWS: After one month of the tragedy in Tak Bai, Southern Thailand since Oct 25, Thaksin government even have more aggressive step to introduce the National Security Law that provide the police to detain anyone without the trial.

This will be going to similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Malaysia and Singapore. We are really worry about the human rights and democracy situation in Thailand especially under the Thaksin authoritarian adminstration.

The human rights violation cases increasing under his premiership. Now, to deal with the opponents or even the "extremist", he suggests to have something like ISA in Thailand. This is the first step for him to become the dictator. From the Malaysia and Singapore, we can see how these countries treat their opponents.

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in their press released mentioned:

A similar law if introduced into Thailand would have a chilling effect on
this struggle, and the entire political order would be adversely affected.
Although the pretext for introducing the law is the current concern with
catching "terrorists", such a law will apply to everyone.

As criminal cases are routinely fabricated for political reasons in
Thailand, there can be little doubt that any person in the country could become
a target of the law. Just going by the manner with which odious and outdated
criminal defamation provisions are applied to stifle legitimate criticism of
public figures, there are very good reasons for all people in the country to be
concerned by this latest proposal.

As we are going to celebrate the International Human Rights Day coming December 10, it's discourage that Thaksin came out with such repressive statement. However, as a human rights defender, we in the ASA and the people in Thailand will make sure Thaksin could not process his agenda.

As Thaksin only consults the Minsitry of Justice in Thailand, the judiciary in Thailand have to speak out the principle of "Rule of Laws".