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ASEAN leaders stumble over humanitarian crises

Luke Hunt
 
Five great refugee floods have blighted Southeast Asia over the last half-century—sparked by conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, East Timor (also known as Timor Leste) and Myanmar—in tragedies with far-reaching consequences that should have been averted.
 








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More Philippine Church leaders and rights workers ‘red tagged’

CAGAYAN DE ORO (UCAN): The ‘red-tagging’ of Church leaders and advocates—linking them to the Communist Party of the Philippines—has intensified with priests of the Philippine Independent Church included on a new list of people alleged to have ties with communist rebels.
 
The list also included the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, the Union of Peoples Lawyers, and youth group, Kabataan.
 

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Champion of human rights mourned in Sri Lanka

NEGOMBO (UCAN): American Jesuit Father Benjamin Henry Miller, who documented thousands of abductions and disappearances as well as other abuses during Sri Lanka’s 1983 to 2009 civil war, died on January 1 at the age of 93, in his small but beautiful room in an old attic of St. Michael’s college in Batticaloa, a major eastern city of the island nation.
 
He had been under medical care for age-related illnesses for several years prior to his death.
 

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Death of child at United States border condemned as ‘unacceptable’

WASHINGTON (CNS): “This was bound to happen,” said Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, in reaction to the death of a second child on Christmas Eve at the border of the United States (US) and Mexico.
 
“It’s completely unacceptable. Children are not supposed to be housed at a checkpoint,” he said.
 

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Aung San Suu Kyi fails on rule of law

by Michael Sainsbury
 
 
In Myanmar and across the Western world, there is outrage at the jailing of two local Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, for seven years using antiquated colonial-era laws around state secrets—one of which, bizarrely, was a download of Pope Francis’ schedule for his visit last year.
 








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Calls for accountability over Myanmar atrocities

MANDALAY (UCAN): “Accountability is essential for genuine reconciliation between all ethnic groups and is a prerequisite for regional security and stability,” United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, said, as he called for accountability over the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar which he described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises.
 

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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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