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Indonesia takes softer approach with drug users

JAKARTA (UCAN): Church leaders and activists in Indonesia welcomed what they think is a possible softening in the government’s hardline drug policy after the anti-narcotics agency said it would push for drug users to be rehabilitated rather than imprisoned.
 
The move was announced on June 26 when the Indonesia National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) agreed on June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, to boost cooperation in rehabilitation efforts for drug addicts.

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Jailed for protecting Tibetan language and culture

On the morning of May 22, the Yushu Intermediate Court in China’s Qinghai province, sentenced shopkeeper and Tibetan language advocate, Tashi Wangchuk (also known as Tashi Woeser), to five years in jail for inciting separatism.
 








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Filipino workers complain of continuing rights abuses

MANILA (UCAN): Workers in the Philippines are complaining of continuing rights abuses even as the country’s economy grew by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
 
A study conducted by the non-government Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights recorded at least 345 rights violations, including 28 killings of workers in the past two years.
 
The same study also cited complaints involving at least 9,919 workers whose rights to organise and be part of a trade union were reportedly not recognised.

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Human rights report slams Bangladesh

DHAKA (UCAN): The information minister of Bangladesh, Hasanul Haq, has trashed the Bangladesh 2017 Human Rights Report from the State Department of the United States of America.
 
He called the report one-sided, unethical, baseless and fictitious, but Church officials say the report sheds lights on worsening violations.
 

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Vietnam jails human rights lawyer

HANOI (UCAN): The People’s Court of Hanoi sentenced Christian lawyer Nguyen Van Dai to 15 years in prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the communist government on April 5, while Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton and journalist Truong Minh Duc were each jailed for 12 years and advocate Nguyen Bac Truyen was sentenced to 11 years. 
 
Le Thu Ha and Pham Van Troi were sentenced to nine and seven years respectively.
 

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Plan to deploy troops along Mexico border knocked by bishops

MEXICO CITY (CNS): The Mexican Bishops’ Conference has criticised a plan floated on April 4 by the president of the United States of America (US), Donald Trump, to deploy National Guard troops along the border with Mexico and issued a strong defence of migrants, saying the Catholic Church could not stand by “in the face of suffering by our brother migrants as they seek better conditions by crossing the border to work and contribute to the common good.”
 

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Court denies appeal of rights advocate

VINH (UCAN): People’s Court of Nghe An province in north-central Vietnam, has been criticised for upholding the five-year prison sentence of jailed Catholic rights advocate, Nguyen Van Oai, who was arrested in January last year.
 
The appeals court upheld the prison term on January 15, plus four years’ probation on the charge of resisting security officers and violating the terms of probation from an earlier conviction that saw Nguyen imprisoned from 2013-2015 for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government. 
 

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Vietnam condemns criticism

HANOI (SE): A court in Vietnam sentenced Nguyen Van Hoa, a blogger and advocate for human rights, to seven years in prison on December 4 on a charge of conducting propaganda against the state.
 
The prosecution claimed he tried to incite protests over the government handling of the devastating toxic waste spill by the Formosa Plastics Group in Ha Tinh province in April last year.
 
The industrial spill killed about 115 tonnes of fish and wiped out the fishing and tourism industries in four provinces.
 

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Conviction of a mass murderer

It is a spark of light from the darkness of human rights violations, horrific war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing that caused the suffering, torture, starvation and mass murder of thousands.
 
That spark is the conviction and sentence to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, on November 22 of Ratko Mladic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb forces, better known as the Butcher of Bosnia.
 








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All in the name of progress

BEIJING (AsiaNews): A family of seven in Hanzhong, a village in Shaanxi province, northwestern China, was dragged from their home, bound and gagged, by a demolition team, The Beijing News has reported.
 
The family had refused compensation from local authorities, who responded on July 1 by sending in a wrecking crew.
 
Operating under the dictum, anything in the name of progress, the team secured the family with zip ties and tape, dragging all seven out of the house before beginning to demolish it.

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