Month in brief

IJA condemns anti-India antagonists

The Indian Journalists Association (IJA) issued a statement condemning intimidating behaviour towards some of its members by anti-India protestors in London on 18 April during PM Modi’s visit for the Commonwealth Summit. While demonstrations were generally peaceful, certain individuals were more aggressive, tearing up the Indian flag and physically assaulting journalist Loveena Tandon, who questioned their actions. The IJA said it defended the right of its members to freely discharge their professional duties, and called on the British police to convict the culprits

Park will not appeal

Park Geun Hye, South Korea’s former president who was impeached and removed from office last year over a huge corruption scandal,is not going to appeal her 24-year prison sentence. The disgraced ex-leader,who was found guilty at herApril trialof numerous criminal charges, including bribery and abuse of power,submitted an appeal waiver to the Seoul Central District Court to countermand an appeal filed by her younger sister.

Vanuatu denies China link

Vanuatu has denied holding talks with Beijing to create a Chinese military base on its soil, in the wake of a report in the Australian media that China plans to establish a permanent military presence in the South Pacific. Although the report said China had not made an official proposal, the possibility had allegedly been discussed at ‘the highest levels’. However, the Vanuatu government said it has no desire to host foreign military bases as it is a non-aligned country and not interested in militarisation.

No to UN demand

A call from a UN human rights watchdog that the Maldives’ former president,Mohamed Nasheed, be allowed to stand for office, including in a presidential election later this year, has been rejected by the country’s government. The UN Human Rights Committee said Nasheed’s conviction on terrorism charges was founded on imprecise laws and violated his right to a fair trial, but the Maldives government said none of his rights had been breached. The former president was disqualified from running in presidential elections for 16 years.

Bollywood solidarity

Several Bollywood stars joined thousands in Mumbai to stage a peaceful protest against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, and the killing of another young girl in Uttar Pradesh.  Eight Hindu men will be tried for the Kathua murder, which is seen as a hate crime against the region’s Bakarwal community. The J &K government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in this sensitive case, a move that hopes to ensure neutrality in light of Hindu-Muslim tensions.

 Nun faces expulsion from Philippines

A 71-year-old Australian nun, arrested in the Philippines for ‘illegal political activities’ after she participated in a human rights fact-finding mission in the country’s troubled southern region, is likely to be deported. The detention of Sister Patricia Fox, a superior of the Notre Dame de Sion in the Philippines, came just a day after the deportation of Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist Party official from the EU who criticised President Duterte’s brutal anti-drugs clampdown.

Japan home to world’s oldest man

The world’s oldest manhas been identified by Guinness World Records as Masazo Nonaka, a 112-year-old Japanese former farmer and lumberjack born on July 25, 1905, whoinherited the title after Francisco Nunez Olivera of Spain died this year at the age of 113. The Guinness World Records title for the oldest man who ever lived belongs to another Japaneseman, Jiroemon Kimura, who died in 2013 at the age of 116 years and 54 days.

Pakistan censured over rights record

An independent watchdog condemned Pakistan’s human rights record over the past year in a new report that censured the country’s failure to progress. Issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the report says people continue to ‘disappear’ in Pakistan for criticising the establishment or for promoting better relations with India. Blasphemy laws are also misused, especially against dissidents, and although deaths directly linked to acts of terrorism decreased in 2017, the report said there was a rise in attacks against Pakistan’s minorities.

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