At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

Special Rapporteur’s report: Asian countries in focus

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

United Nations Human Rights experts have presented 39 reports at the second session of the UN Human Rights Council, currently being held in Geneva, from 18 September to 6 October. Out of these report, 11 are on Asian countries. What follows are highlights on three countries – Burma, North Korea and Cambodia.Burma (Myanmar) has confirmed its invitation for a United Nations official to visit the country in early November for high-level talks to try to help the Asian country make serious progress in human rights, political freedoms and humanitarian assistance.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, said after briefing the Security Council behind closed doors in New York, that Myanmar has confirmed its invitation to him to visit in early November.

Gambari said he hopes to hold talks with all the key figures in Myanmar during his trip, including those he spoke to when he last visited, in May of this year.

He said he told Council members that Myanmar has made progress recently in some areas, including the release of a prominent political prisoner and reforms on the issue of forced labour.

But Mr. Gambari added that much more progress is still required from Myanmar’s Government on various fronts, including democratisation, improving humanitarian access to those in need, and agreeing to a cessation of hostilities with rebel forces in Karen state.

Earlier, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said although he had not been permitted to conduct a fact-finding mission in Myanmar since November 2003, he was pleased to observe that in the recent months, the government had replied to a number of official communications sent by him and by other mandate holders of the special procedures. He considered this a positive indication of the Government's will to cooperate with the Council. The stability of the country was not well served by the arrest and detention of several political leaders or by the severe and sustained restrictions on fundamental freedoms. Grave human rights violations were indulged not only with impunity but authorized by the sanction of laws.

The second session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (Council) is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland. The session began on 18 September, and will continue until 6 October, spanning a period of three weeks in total.

To date, 39 reports by the UN human rights experts have been presented. Of these reports, eleven Asian countries were mentioned in varying degrees—Burma (Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on Myanmar), Cambodia (SR on housing, SRSG on Cambodia), China (Special Rapporteur (SR) on torture), India (SR on the right to food), Japan (SR on racism), Maldives (SR on freedom of religion and belief), Mongolia (SR on torture), Nepal (SRSG on internally displaced persons), North Korea (SR on Democratic Republic of North Korea), Sri Lanka (Working Group on disappearances, SR on freedom of religion and belief) and Thailand (SR on trafficking, who is considering a joint mission to the country).

Meanwhile, on 27 September, Vitit Muntarbhorn painted a grim picture of the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), highlighting egregious transgressions involving the rights to food and life, humane treatment and a host of other freedoms in a report given to the Human Rights Council.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, said that the State had declined to cooperate with him and had not invited him to the country, while the North Korean representative who also spoke during today’s debate flatly denied all findings in the report.

The situation in the country provides a continuing cause for concern – there are still many transgressions and discrepancies of an egregious nature, which require effective redress, Muntarbhorn said, in a press release from the Council.

Specific concerns raised in this report include: women’s rights, particularly violence against women, children’s rights, particularly to protection and participation, the rights of older persons/the elderly, the rights of those with disabilities and ethnic issues.

In a related development, Special Raporteur for Cambodia, Yash Ghai expressed concern that few of his, or his predecessors, recommendations were implemented, and that human rights continue to be violated on a systematic scale. Many policies have subverted the essential principles of democracy and due process, deprived people of their economic resources and means of livelihood and denied them of their dignity.

He said these policies are integral to the political and economic system through which the government rules, which has manipulated the democratic process, undermined legitimate political opposition and used the state for the accumulation of private wealth.

The law limits people’s right to associate, to assemble and to express their views. All major constitutional institutions have been subverted, there is no effective separation of power and legal systems do not provide redress and protection.