Category Archives: human rights

20 years of injustice

We are posting this story shared by Kapaeeng Foundation.

Kalpana Chakma. Photo retrieved from

Kalpana Chakma. Photo retrieved from

On 12 June 1996, then Hill Women’s Federation Organizing Secretary Kalpana Chakma was abducted and killed at her house in New Lalyaghona, Baghaichari Upzila, Rangamati District by the members of Bangladesh Army.

Up to this date, the case has not been adjudicated. Police repeatedly fails to submit report in the court.

While the Government formed an inquiry committee after three months of the incident, committee members failed to identify the perpetrators. In May 2010, police submitted a probe report with misleading contents, allegedly to cover up for the perpetrators. As the complainant – Kalpana’s brother, protested against tampered reports and documents, the case was continuously and repeatedly transferred to different investigatory departments and courts.

Even with the failure to address the case for the 30th time last 8 May 2016, there are hopes that the Investigating Officer will submit on 12 July 2016, and will finally give progress to Kalpana’s case.

Call for justice, lasting peace, and stability in Cambodia

Police in protective gear block human rights activists during a candlelight vigil in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, May 23, 2016. Photo by Heng Sinith / AP Photo. Photo retrieved from

Police in protective gear block human rights activists during a candlelight vigil in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, May 23, 2016. Photo by Heng Sinith / AP Photo. Photo retrieved from×419.jpg.

As a protest against the detention of five human rights activists last 2 May 2016 under accused bribery charges for covering up a woman’s affair with a government official, various rights groups initiated the “Black Monday” campaign urging the public to wear black T-shirt every Monday and assemble in Phnom Penh starting 9 May 2016.

As the campaign is implemented, more activists are arrested and treated with oppression

ANGOC, together with Asia Democracy Network (AND) and more than 40 CSOs/NGOs support the statement on Working Together for Justice, Lasting Peace and Stability to appeal to the Royal Government of Cambodia to:

  • promote, protect, and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Cambodian people enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenants to which Cambodia is a party;
  • ensure Cambodian citizens are not arrested where their actions have not contravened law and where their actions are the expression of their rights;
  • ensure there is no judicial harassment against Cambodian citizens who are working to protect people’s rights; and
  • ensure there is space for democratic participation, advancement of human rights and development processes.


ANGOC Participates in the Community-based Human Rights Impact Assessment Training + National Action Plan Workshop


Aiming to prevent and document human rights abuses, Oxfam  conducted a training workshop on the Community-based Human Rights Impact Assessment Training + National Action Plan Workshop held 21-22 March 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The workshop provided the participants an opportunity to learn a Human Right Impact Assessment (HRIA) tool created by Rights and Democracy, known as Getting it Right. The tool is designed for CSOs to help them identify human rights impacts of private foreign investments, propose responses, and engage government and corporate actors to take action on human rights.

Through a representative from the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), the participants also learned about the formulation, uses, and limitations of National Action Plans (NAPs) for business and human rights. For more information about NAPs on Business and Human Rights, visit:

Through this workshop, the participants gained a better understanding of the value of community-based HRIA in preventing and documenting human rights abuses. Ultimately, they were equipped with a useful tool on supporting community-based organizations.

Towards a common vision to implement the UNGP on Business and Human Rights in the ASEAN

Participants of the Workshop.Participants of the Workshop.

While globalization aids economic progress, human rights become an intensifying concern in relation to increasing business operations. Hence, a UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) Framework was launched to clarify the responsibilities of both governments and businesses and provide them with guidance on the expectation of all parties with regards to human rights.

To catalyze implementation of UNGPs in the ASEAN countries, the Institute of Human Rights of University of Philippines (UP-IHR) and Oxfam organized the ASEAN Consultation Workshop: Civil Society Role towards Implementation of UNGPs on Business and Human Rights on 12 February 2016 in Quezon City to develop an ASEAN-wide strategy for civil society organizations (CSOs).

Around 50 CSO participants working in the ASEAN region provided updates on the statuses of Business and Human Rights (BHR) developments in their countries, formed a common vision in implementing the framework, and brainstormed for the next steps and concrete activities in achieving the identified visions.

Preliminary common visions formulated during the session include awareness promotion of BHR and UNGPs; creation of mechanism to prevent human rights violation of businesses; upholding State interventions in ensuring human rights; recognition of all gender groups; and promotion of corporate initiative in integrating BHR principles in private business firm policies.

Activity recommendations and points gathered from the consultation will be reviewed by the UP-IHR and Oxfam together with the CSOs to finalize the concrete next steps and activities to undertake. For ANGOC and International Land Coalition, Asia (ILC Asia), efforts will be undertaken to contribute in the formulation process of the action plans.

Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights continues to work with CSOs

Participants of the human rights dialogue.

Participants of the human rights dialogue.

In October 2008, a project on “Community-based Dialogue Sessions on Human Rights Between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, and Civil Society Organizations and Local Communities” was launched to contribute to the improvement of the Human Rights situation in the Philippines through strengthening relationship among security forces, local communities and civil society organizations. This project, supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany, is a partnership among the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP), Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF), the Philippine National Police through the Human Rights Affairs Office (PNP-HRAO), the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the Human Rights Office (AFP-HRO), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and the Alternative Law Groups (ALG).

As a component of this project and as a part of the celebration of the Human Rights Week, a “Top-Level Policy Dialogues on Human Rights” was held on 7 December 2015 in Quezon City where the newly appointed CHRP Chairperson Jose Luis Martin Gascon and Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit presented the Strategic Direction of the CHRP under the 5th Commission (2015-2022).

More than 70 participants representing different human rights organizations, civil society organizations and members of the AFP, PNP, CHRP, and local government officials attended the forum.  A panel of reactors was also invited to share their ideas and insights on the Commission’s strategic direction.

Chairperson Gascon acknowledged the issues and opportunities raised by the panel and the participants. He also committed to continue working with CSOs and the security forces sector in enabling the marginalized and vulnerable to assert their basic rights.

Companies: main perpetrators of agrarian-related violence in Indonesia, 2015

We are sharing this news posted by The Jakarta post on 6 January, 2016.

Mr. Iwan Nurdin of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA). Photo by KPA.

Mr. Iwan Nurdin of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA). Photo by KPA.

Iwan Nurdin of the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) revealed that 2015 marked the first time companies accounted for the largest number of cases of violence resulting from agrarian conflicts as shown in their year-end report. There were 35 cases attributed to the companies from the 252 recorded agrarian conflicts covering more than 400,000 hectares of land in 2015.

In the past years, Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police were the main perpetrators of agrarian-related violence. The National Commission on Human Rights confirmed the trend. This was due to hiring of armed civilian groups, Pam Swakarsa (formed by TNI in 1998), by these private firms to suppress people’s demands and resistance.

Now online: new journals, issue briefs, and land monitoring report of LWA

We are happy to share our newest publications!

With limited land, access to it has been a prevailing issue which leads to human rights violations to farmers, and to the disadvantaged women and indigenous peoples.

These Land Watch Asia (LWA)’s Lok Niti journals compile scoping studies from seven Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Philippines) telling of how women and indigenous peoples struggle to claim their land rights:

Lok Niti women_resizedwomen issue briefThe Lok Niti on “Women stake their claim to land” outlines the statuses of women’s land rights in each country, the legal frameworks covering such rights, the key factors promoting or impending women’s land rights, and the strategies to address gender inequality and advance women’s rights to own and benefit from the land. Its issue brief, “Women’s land rights in Asia,” may also be downloaded here.

lok niti IPIP issue briefThe Lok Niti on “Indigenous peoples and their sacred lands,”on the other hand,reveals how the basic bond of indigenous peoples to land are threatened by forces far more powerful than they are equipped to face. The IP issue brief, “On the customary rights of indigenous peoples in Asia,” is also available here.

1LWA also started the Land Reform Monitoring Initiaive in 2010 strengthening evidence-based advocacies of CSOs on access to land and security of land tenure. The “2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land in Asia” features the 2014 CSO land reform monitoring reports on the status of land tenure and access to land of the seven countries. It also reflects the recent expansion of the monitoring initiative to a ridge-to-reef framework providing a more holistic approach in addressing ancestral lands, rural lands, and marine resource concerns.

1A proceedings on “A Regional Workshop on Land Monitoring Initiatives”was also prepared to highlight  LWA’s “Regional Workshop on Land Monitoring Initiatives: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land” held in Manila, Philippines on 21-22 April 2015 – which includes the country land monitoring reports; the country updates in Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam; and the new land reform monitoring framework modified for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report focuses on resource conflicts

Participants of the presentation and discussion.

Participants of the presentation and discussion.

Around 20 CSO, academic, and government representatives concerning land, municipal water, ancestral domains, and human rights, participated in the Presentation of the 2014 Philippine Land Reform Monitoring Report on 10 September at the College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines Diliman (CSWCD-UPD). Apart from report discussions, the event also aimed to identify possible linkages and collaboration among participants in addressing resources conflicts; and in implementing the recommendations identified in the report.

The 2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report is a collaboration of the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), Xavier’s Science Foundation, Inc. – Xavier University (XSF-XU), and UP-CSWCD focusing on conflicts on land, municipal waters, and ancestral domains.

Findings include:

  1. Four of five cases on land conflicts are ‘violent’ (the highest stage of conflict) which involves physical aggressive actions among parties resulting to killings and harassments.
  2. Three of four resource conflict cases on ancestral domains are under the ‘manifested’ stage where conflicts are a public issue.
  3. Intrusions of an international organization in the Philippine municipal waters lead to amending laws on water resource use and management.
  4. The perpetrators of conflicts are the outside actors (e.g. extractive industries, agribusiness, and real estate developers); while the victims are the indigenous communities, landless farmers, and agrarian reform beneficiaries.
  5. The common causes of resource conflicts are varying interests in using and managing resources, relative power of conflict actors, institutional failure, and non-inclusive natural resource management.

Recommendations made for the CSOs include further case documentations; prioritization of protection of farmers and resolution of resource conflicts; and enhancing capacities of farmers and indigenous communities in evaluating business contracts offered to them.

Moreover, responsible land governance, establishing monitoring system, and conflict resolution mechanism are recommended for Government’s action.

The event resulted to the following agreements:

  1. There is a consensus that land conflicts would progress from latent to manifest and even violence given the overlapping land claims and weak governance in all lands but particularly for ancestral domain. Along this line, the participants agreed for the Philippine Government to recognize land right as human right.
  2. Government agencies led by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and CSOs have agreed to give a special focus on these potential conflicts in three ways: first, setting up of human rights desk in all government agencies having a mandate of governing land and other natural resources; second, the CHR will assign a Commissioner to look specifically on issues related to land rights; and third, the CSOs will assist these government agencies by providing venues for inputs and discussions and other needed support.

    Michele Esplana of ANGOC presenting the 2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report.

    Michele Esplana of ANGOC presenting the 2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report.

Welcoming address by the UP-CSWCD Dean, Prof. Jocelyn Caragay.

Welcoming address by the UP-CSWCD Dean, Prof. Jocelyn Caragay.

Environmental activist in Indonesia murdered

We are sharing this news posted in Jakarta Post last 24 May.

Jopi Peranginangin, an environmental activist from Sawit Watch, was stabbed to death at a venue bar and lounge in Kemang, South Jakarta on 23 May.

A group of men attacked Jopi in a parking lot after mediating a fight against his friend. Jopi then was found stabbed. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead at 6am.

Jopi was a campaigner and project head of an oil palm plantation licensing research of Sawit Watch. Sawit Watch Executive Director Jefri Gideo Saragih says, during an interview, that Jopi just finished a research on massive oil plantation expansions that allegedly involved corruption and improper licensing procedures.

However, the relation of the incident to Jopi’s activism remains unclear, says Jefri. Moreover, according the South Jakarta Police Chief Senior Commander Wahyu Hadiningrat, the police do not know the motive of the murder yet.

Nevertheless, based from a  more recent post, the case adds to the list of violent crimes against activists and human rights defenders in Indonesia.

Jopi was also one of the leaders of Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), an independent organization working on the welfare and rights of indigenous communities. Together with AMAN, LWA encourages the signing of an online petition for solidarity and for demanding justice for Jopi.

Bangladesh: ALRD holds trainings on human rights and land reform

We are posting these updates shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

ALRD conducted trainings on human rights and land reform during the months of May and June 2015.

Training:  Human rights and advocacy for young human rights defenders

Thirty-two youth human rights activists in Bangladesh participated in a training on Human Rights and Advocacy for Young Rights Defenders organized by ALRD on 5-7 May in Dhaka. The three-day training aimed to build the capacities of the activists on human rights in handling issues related to human rights violation.

Training of the trainers: Land reform, land laws and management

ALRD’s Training of trainers: Land Reform, land laws and management gathered 25 CSO partner representatives on 25 May to 1 June in Dhaka to enhance the capacities and knowledge of the trainers on land reform, laws and management, and the art of conducting training sessions. Crafting of an updated training module was also an output of the event.