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HRC34 Side Event – Closing the Net: Attack on Asian Human Rights Defenders Active Online

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Date: Thursday 9 March 2017

Time: 14:30 – 15:30

Venue: Room XXVI, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) have organised a side-event on attacks on human rights defenders (HRDs) active online. In recent years, the internet has become a dangerous place for HRDs. More and more HRDs are being attacked every year of their activities online. Several online activities ranging from simple Facebook likes to critical blog posts have been penalised by both state and non-state actors. Harassment, intimidation and silencing of HRDs online has ranged from intruding their privacy to physical attacks, arrests, disappearances and killings.

Asians governments have failed to protect HRDs from these attacks and in several cases have themselves been the perpetrators of such attacks. The side event will bring together HRDs from Asia who have faced increasing attacks online and will discuss the condition of HRDs online in Asia and the need for legal and policy change to ensure a safe and enabling environment for HRDs working in this context.


  • Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury, Blogger, Bangladesh
  • Ahmad Waqass Liaqat, Blogger, Pakistan
  • Amarin Saichan, EnLAWThai Foundation, Thailand
  • Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice, Myanmar
  • Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs)


  • John Samuel, Executive Director, FORUM-ASIA