Southeast Asia
burma

Burma junta leader accused of crimes against humanity

Burma’s military junta leader Gen. Min Aung Hliang was accused of crimes against humanity in a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP). Article 15 of the Rome Statute empowers the ICC prosecutor to initiate an investigation upon receiving information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. MAP, a human rights advocacy group, has requested that the ICC under Article 15 launch a criminal investigation into “the use of torture as part of the violent crackdown against the protest movement in Myanmar.” MAP’s submission is accompanied by evidence of the widespread and systematic use of torture in Burma (Myanmar) since the military seized control from the democratically elected government in February. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

Oceania
Free West Papua

Indonesia: ‘treason’ charges over West Papua flag

Indonesian police arrested eight Papuan university students on charges of treason for raising the banned “Morning Star” flag at a demonstration for the independence of the West Papua region. The demonstration took place in Jayapura, capital of Papua province. The region, comprising the contemporary provinces of Papua and West Papua, was liberated from Dutch colonial rule on Dec, 1, 1963 now considered by Papuans to be their “independence day.” Following a UN-sanctioned referendum, the region fell under Indonesian rule in 1969. But an independence movement rejects the referendum as illegitimate, and has adopted the flag as a symbol of West Papuan sovereignty. Independence activist Felip Karma served an 11-year sentence for raising the outlawed flag. (Photo of Melbourne protest via Wikipedia)

Southeast Asia
burma protest

Burma: resistance escalates as Suu Kyi sentenced

Ousted Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of “incitement” and breaking COVID restrictions—the first of a series of 11 charges that could see her imprisoned for life.Despite harsh repression, protests continue against the junta—now usually organized through social media as “flash mobs.” The day before Suu Kyi’s sentencing, a military truck rammed into a crowd of protesters in Yangon, with troops firing on the fleeing demonstrators. At least five were killed. The armed resistance network known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF) has meanwhile carved out a liberated zone in the northern Irrawaddy plains. Thousands of locals have fled their homes amid attacks by junta soldiers as part of Operation Anawrahta, a military campaign aimed at crushing the armed resistance. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

South Asia
underground asia

Book review: Underground Asia

A dauntingly detailed book from Harvard University Press on the roots of Asia’s anti-colonial movements documents the early influence of anarchism, and how it was ultimately displaced by nationalisms of different stripes—from the Moscow-aligned Leninist nationalism of Ho Chi Minh, to the fascist-inspired Hindutva movement that effectively rules India today. The early vision of a universalist, libertarian anti-colonialism evokes a tantalizing sense of what might have been. A timely book for a moment of re-emerging popular rebellion, from the militant farmer protests in India to the pro-democracy upsurges in Thailand, Burma and Hong Kong. (Image: Harvard University Press)

Southeast Asia
mohibullah

Fear in Rohingya camps after slaying of activist

The killing of Mohib Ullah, a prominent Rohingya community leader, has drawn international condemnation and renewed deep-rooted fear in the Bangladesh refugee camps. Mohib Ullah was shot and killed outside the office of the civil society group he headed, the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace & Human Rights (ARSPH). A relative reportedly blamed members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a militant group active in the camps. Mohib Ullah had become one of his community’s most prominent voices in the aftermath of the 2017 Burmese military assault that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh. He led early attempts to document atrocity crimes, stood up for his community before governments and aid agencies, and addressed the United Nations. (Photo: HRW)

Southeast Asia
Rohingya

Court: Facebook must reveal role in Burma genocide

A US federal judge ordered Facebook to produce documents relating to its involvement in violence against the Rohingya people in Burma. The Gambia brought a claim against Facebook, Inc before the International Court of Justice alleging that the social media platform played a key role in the genocide of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority. The Gambia then filed suit against Facebook in the District of Columbia, seeking documentation related to the World Court case. The Gambia’s case contended that it was only in 2018, six years into the genocide, that Facebook began deleting accounts and content used by Burmese government officials to enflame attacks on the Rohingya. (Photo: UNHCR)

Southeast Asia
Duwa Lashi La

Burma shadow government declares ‘resistance war’

The acting president of Burma’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) announced that the people’s “resistance war” against the coup-installed regime has started, and urged the public across the country to revolt against the military junta. In the video statement from an unknown location, Duwa Lashi La also called on the NUG’s People’s Defense Force (PDF) and allied ethnic rebel armies to target “every pillar of the junta’s ruling mechanism,” as well as to protect the lives of Burma’s people. He warned local administrators working under the junta’s authority to resign immediately. He urged citizens to stock up on food and medical supplies, and to help the PDF and civilian resistance forces by informing them of the military’s activities. “This revolution is a just and fair revolution and is necessary to build a federal union with sustainable peace,” Duwa Lashi La said in the speech. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

Southeast Asia
lawan

Malaysia: black flag protests challenge government

Hundreds of activists have repeatedly filled the streets of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Themed #Lawan (Fight), the movement is also demanding the resumption of parliamentary sessions and a moratorium on the repayment of all loans. Protesters accuse the Muhyiddin government of using the pandemic to suspend parliament in order to consolidate power, and relying on harsh emergency regulations to silence and intimidate critics. Protesters chant hidup rakyat (long live the people), and carry black flags and effigies of dead bodies wrapped in white cloth to signify the high daily COVID-19 death tally in the county. (Photo: Misi:Solidariti via Twitter)

Southeast Asia
Mother Nature Cambodia

Cambodia: ecologists charged with insulting king

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Cambodia charged four environmental activists with conspiracy and insulting the king, a prosecutor confirmed after three activists were arrested for documenting raw sewage discharge into the Tonlé Sap River. Three of the charged conservationists were sent to pre-trial detention, while the fourth, Mother Nature Cambodia co-founder Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, was charged in absentia. The four face a sentence of up to 10 years for the conspiracy charge. The charge for insulting the king carries an additional one to five years. (Photo of Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson via Phnom Penh Post)

Southeast Asia
mandalay

Burma: urban warfare erupts in Mandalay

Gunfire erupted in the streets of Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city, as regime troops raided a building where a cell of the incipient armed resistance movement was sheltering. The raid sparked hours of running street battles. Resistance fighters erected barricades of flaming tires to slow the advance of troops. Both the military, known as the Tatmadaw, and the rebel People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed casualties on the opposing side and denied deaths among their own forces. “We’ve declared war,” the Mandalay PDF said in a statement. “The day we’ve been waiting for is finally here.” (Photo: Myanmar Now)

Southeast Asia
Khet Thi

Burma: poet killed under military interrogation

Ko Zaw Tun, a poet who wrote under the pen-name Khet Thi, was tortured to death in military custody, according to family members after his bruised and mutilated body was returned to them. Khet Thi was arrested at his home in Shwebo, Sagaing region, along with his wife who was later released. He was an outspoken opponent of the February coup d’état, in which the military removed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi. A line from one of his poems has been taken up as a slogan by the pro-democracy movement: “They shot us in the head; They don’t know the revolution dwells in our hearts.” (Photo via Myanmar Now)