Southeast Asia

Razed Rohingya villages turned into military bases

Burma's Rakhine state is being militarized at an alarming pace, as authorities build security force bases on lands where Rohingya villages were burned to the ground just months ago, Amnesty International charges in a new report. The chief UN official investigating human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, called for an immediate investigation into "clearance operations" in Rakhine state, stating she is increasingly convinced that actions by the Burmese security forces amount to genocide. (Photo: VOA via Wikimedia Commons)

Southeast Asia

UN official: ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya continues

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said that the "ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues," after a four-day visit to Bangladesh. During his visit, he focused on the situation of thousands of refugees who have fled from Burma (Myanmar). Recently-arrived Rohingya gave credible accounts of continued violence against their people, including killings, rape, and forced starvation, Gilmour reported. Burma has been saying that it is ready to receive returning Rohingya refugees, but Gilmour maintains that safe returns are impossible under current conditions. (Photo: EU/ECHO via Flickr)

Southeast Asia

Philippine paradox: martial law, medical marijuana

In flagrant violation of the Philippine constitution, President Rodrigo Duterte extended martial law in Mindanao for another year. Simultaneously, he announced a return of the National Police to drug enforcement after they were removed due to outrageous human rights abuses. But opposition lawmakers are trying to put the breaks on the militarization, and have even introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana. (Photo: Anakpawis)

Southeast Asia

Rohingya refugees face forced repatriation

Bangladesh and Burma agreed to complete the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees within two years, establishing a system of camps and "reception centers" along the border zone to facilitate their transfer. But humanitarian and human rights organizations are warning that this time frame is insufficient to guarantee a safe and voluntary return. A representative of the Burma Campaign UK stated: "Bangladesh and Burma are effectively playing ping-pong with the Rohingya, while the rest of the international community stands by. They will be returned to giant prison camps, have no rights, and be at constant risk of further attacks by the Burmese military." (Photo: European Commission via Flickr)

Southeast Asia

Duterte fudges police death toll to justify drug war

The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte—trying to justify sending the National Police back into drug enforcement after he was pressured to withdraw them by a public outcry over their slaying of innocent civilians—has been caught in a lie. He stated that 300 police officers have been killed in anti-drug operations since he took office in June 2016—this by way of providing a rationale for the police killing thousands of Filipinos in this same period. But official figures from the Philippine National Police put the number at 86. Even if one adds army troops killed batting Islamist militants in Mindanao, the number is only 250. (Photo: Anakpawis)

Southeast Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi to face genocide charges?

UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein raised the possibility that Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi could face international genocide charges over the military campaign targeting the Rohingya Muslim people. "For obvious reasons, if you're planning to commit genocide you don't commit it to paper and you don't provide instructions," he told BBC News. "The thresholds for proof are high. But it wouldn't surprise me in the future if a court were to make such a finding on the basis of what we see." (Photo: IRIN)

Southeast Asia

Duterte backtracks on drug war de-escalation —surprise!

Just weeks after the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte won rare favorable headlines by pledging to pull the National Police out of his ultra-deadly "drug war," he's already threatening to send them back if the "drug problem becomes worse again." Not coincidentally, the threat comes just as Trump green-lighted Duterte's campaign of mass murder, meeting with him at the Manila ASEAN summit and issuing only praise—with not a peep about human rights. 

Southeast Asia

Duterte drug war de-escalation: how real?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte won rare favorable international headlines when he said he would pull his National Police force out of his brutal "war on drugs," which has now reached the point of mass murder. The move came after public outrage over the police slaying of an unarmed youth. But Amnesty International notes that he made such promises after a similar outrage a few months back—and nothing changed. 

Southeast Asia

Indonesia unleashes ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, following in the bloody footsteps of the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte, has issued a "shoot-on-sight" policy for drug suspects. The hardline policy comes amid a sudden media blitz about the drug "state of emergency" in the archipelago nation.

Southeast Asia

Philippines: Duterte threatens to kill his own son

Philippine President Rodirgo Duterte—whose "war on drugs" has now reached the point of mass murder—was put on the hot spot when his own son was called to testify before a Senate hearing on drug corruption. He thundered that he had ordered the National Police to kill his son like any other drug suspect. And amid the relentless police killings, he gutted the country's official human rights office, reducing its budget to an insulting $20 a year.

Southeast Asia

Philippines: Duterte in bed with narco gangs?

Is it really possible that Philippine President Rodirgo Duterte—who has unleashed a "war on drugs" that has now reached the point of mass murder—is himself mixed up in the drug trade? With the Philippine Senate now launching multiple investigations into the drug-related violence, charges of involvement in the narco trade have reached some of Duterte's closest family members.

Southeast Asia

Duterte calls for genocide against drug users

National Police troops in the Philippines killed 32 people in a day of anti-drug operations in the working-class Manila suburb of Bucalan. In the resultant outcry, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed open enthusiasm for the bloodshed—and warned that it is just beginning. "There were 32 killed in Bulacan in a massive raid, that's good," Duterte boasted in a speech to his new newly formed anti-drug paramilitary force. "Let's kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country."