Doctrine divides, Action unites


  October 2014

Famers of Hacienda Luisita in the Philippines protest against their inability to own the land they work in spite of a Supreme Court decision in 2012 ordering a distribution of the land to them. (Photo from

A Hacienda of Injustice in the Philippines
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

In November 2004, Hacienda Luisita in Central Luzon in the Philippines witnessed a strike by its workers, some of whom were earning only 9.50 pesos, or about 20 U.S. cents, per day. In addition to higher wages, the workers were striking for the reinstatement of their union leaders, better benefits and genuine land reform in the country. On Nov. 16, seven farmers and farm workers were killed, including children, and more than 120 people were wounded on the picket line by a joint operation of the police and military to end the strike at the hacienda, which is owned by the family of the country’s current president, Benigno Aquino III. A decade later a number of solidarity and fact-finding missions have visited Hacienda Luisita. This article contains the preliminary report of one mission that focused particularly on the lives and rights of women. [Read more]

Poverty Reflects a Failure of the Government, Not the Person
Danilo Reyes

The author shares his personal account of the death of his cousin and her infant son in the Philippines due to illnesses aggravated by severe malnutrition. The family’s pain was also aggravated by the “illnesses” of the government’s social welfare policies. [Read more]

Paving the Way for Peace in History Class
Tirmizy Abdullah

Different identities based on the faith of the people of the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines have created divisions and conflicts for generations. The author, a university history professor, seeks to bridge these tensions by incorporating into some of his classes the lessons of peace that the history of the island and the faiths of its people teaches. [Read more]

Civil Society’s Review on Myanmar’s Transition Process: Prospects for 2015 and Beyond
Myanmar Civil Society Organizations Forum

A forum with hundreds of participants met in mid-October in Yangon to discuss the current problems facing Myanmar and to offer recommendations for bringing about meaningful change that will benefit the people of the country. This summary of their deliberations shares their analyses and conclusions. [Read more]

ICC Preliminary Examination Requested into Crimes Stemming from Mass Land-Grabbing in Cambodia
International Federation for Human Rights and Global Diligence LLP

The forcible eviction of people from their land in Cambodia is regrettably not a new phenomenon. Now, however, this widespread practice is being challenged through a complaint brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in the Netherlands. The next question is whether the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor will investigate the case. [Read more]

‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ and the Filth of Democracy in India
Avinash Pandey

A national campaign to improve sanitation in India was launched with much fanfare on Oct. 2, 2014, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi even publicly wielding a broom in the media. The author questions, however, whether this latest sanitation campaign will also include eliminating the practice of manual scavenging in which the country’s Dalits, or Untouchables, clean human excrement from public toilets and sewage systems—a tradition that India has tried to eliminate for decades. [Read more]

Dalits Trapped in India
Asian Human Rights Commission

India’s state of Bihar has a history of violence in which Dalits, or Untouchables, are the victims of attacks by members of the country’s upper castes. This article explains why recent incidents of caste-based violence are likely to continue. [Read more]

Will Aasia Bibi Ever See Justice?
Nasir Saeed

An argument with a group of Muslim women in 2009 has put Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, on death row in Pakistan for violating the country’s blasphemy law. The question raised in this headline is valid for Aasia Bibi and all people in Pakistan charged with violating this law. The article explains not only the recent legal developments in her case, but also the fate of others who speak out for justice on behalf of the law’s victims. [Read more]



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