Human Rights Developments
After taking office in June, India=s new United Front government made several gestures that marked a change from previous governments= human rights policies, such as vowing to sign the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and allowing a visit by Amnesty International in July. However, it was not clear whether the government was prepared to address longstanding human rights concerns ranging from police abuse to bonded child labor. India also maintained its reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the world for human rights activists. The detention and subsequent murder of human rights activist Jalil Andrabi in Kashmir in March and the shooting death of Assamese activist Parag Das in May exposed the security forces= use of irregular militias to carry out abuses. By November, no one had been prosecuted in either murder. Human rights and environmental groups also came under increasing attack for their efforts to organize protests against large-scale development projects.
The tumultuous mid-year election that ousted the Congress government of Narasimha Rao resulted in a hung parliament and gave the Hindu-nationalist Indian People=s Party (Bharatiya Janata Party, best known by its initials, BJP) its first opportunity to form a national government. After failing to win the support of any other party, the BJP lost a vote of confidence after only eleven days in office. On June 1 a coalition United Front government of left and regional parties assumed office and H.D. Deve Gowda became prime minister.
Parliamentary elections were also held in Jammu and Kashmir in May for the first time since 1989. Militant leaders called for a boycott, however, and there were widespread reports that security forces had forced voters to go to the polls. Shortly before the elections, the state government imposed a ban on any reporting that Adirectly or indirectly express[ed] lack of faith@ in the state and federal constitutions or was deemed Aprejudicial to the unity and integrity of the state and country@Capparent references to articles that might advocate a boycott of the elections or call for independence. State assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in September were also marred by reports of coercion and the arrests of leaders of the All-Parties Huriyat ConferenceCan umbrella group of parties opposed to the elections. Following the election, the National Conference party formed the first state government since 1990, and Farooq Abdullah, who together with Congress party leaders had been responsible for rigging state elections in 1987, again became chief minister.
Indian security forces in Kashmir continued their practice of arming and training local auxiliary forces made up of surrendered or captured militants to assist in counterinsurgency operations. These state-sponsored paramilitary groups, along with their counterparts in the regular security forces, committed serious human rights abuses, and human rights monitors and journalists were among the principal victims. On December 8, 1995, Zafar Mehraj, a veteran Kashmiri journalist, was shot and critically injured as he returned from an interview with Koko Parray, the head of the state-sponsored paramilitary group Ikhwan-ul Muslimoon. Although Mehraj had previously been threatened by both the security forces and some militant groups, in this case the evidence strongly implicated the state-sponsored militia force, Ikhwan-ul Muslimoon. Ikhwan-ul Muslimoon forces were also believed to be responsible for the murder of Farooq Ahmed Sheikh, a thirty-one-year-old pharmacist at the Soura hospital in Srinagar, on December 2, 1995.
Extrajudicial executions and torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir also continued. Ghulam Ahmed Bhat, an eighteen-year-old man who was deaf and mute, was summarily executed by troops of the Seventh Battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF) during a crackdown in Nawakadal, Srinagar, on December 21, 1995. During a visit to Kashmir in January, Human Rights Watch interviewed a number of torture victims who described severe beatings and the use of electric shocks. Civilians also continued to complain of assault, including sexual assault, by security forces during crackdowns. No prosecutions of security personnel for torture or murder were made public.
Militant organizations in Kashmir engaged in kidnapping and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. On January 4, fifteen Hindu villagers from the Barshala village in Doda were killed after unidentified gunmen reportedly ordered them to line up before separating Hindus from Muslims. Official sources claimed that Harakat-ul Ansar, a militant group, was responsible. A bomb exploded on December 3, 1995, at a crowded bus stop in Anantnag. At least eight civilians were killed and twenty injured. No group claimed responsibility. A bomb that exploded in the Sadar Bazaar business district of Srinagar in early January killed seven people and injured at least thirty-five others. The Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front claimed responsibility. There was no word on the fate of four foreigners kidnapped by the Al-Faran militant group in July 1995.
Problems of impunity plagued the investigation into communal violence in Bombay. On January 23, Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi terminated the Srikrishna Commission, which had been set up to investigate communal riots that had left over 1,000 dead in Bombay between December 1992 and January 1993. The riots, which followed the destruction of a sixteenth-century mosque in Ayodhya in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, were orchestrated by police and other officials and political leaders, and targeted Bombay=s Muslims. In response to petitions filed by human rights groups in the Bombay High Court seeking to revive the Srikrishna Commission, on May 28, 1996, the commission was reinstated. On October 18, eleven Muslims were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of six Hindus during the riots. However, as of November, not a single member of the police had been prosecuted for attacks on Muslims, nor had the commission=s findings been made public.
In a long-overdue and welcome decision, on August 27, Judge Shiv Narain Dinghra sentenced eighty-nine men to five years rigorous imprisonmentCthe harshest category of imprisonmentCfor their roles in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in which more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed. In his judgment, Dinghra named senior Delhi police officials as the Areal culprits@ and accused them and their Apolitical masters@ of supporting the rioters and suppressing the truth about the killings. Several independent human rights groups had documented the involvement of police and Congress party officials in orchestrating the massacre. In September, Kishori Lal, a butcher from Delhi, was convicted of the murders of two Sikhs during the riotsCthe first such murder conviction in the twelve years since the riots. In June, H.K.L. Bhagat, a former Congress party minister, was indicted for his role in inciting and directing the rioters.
In a report to the Supreme Court on July 30, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named nine police officials responsible for the 1995 abduction of human rights lawyer Jaswant Singh Khalra in Punjab. The Supreme Court directed that the nine officers face trial for the abduction, that further investigations be carried out to ascertain the fate of Jaswant Singh Khalra and that key witnesses be offered protection during the investigations. On July 22 the CBI stated in a report to the court that it had found prima facie evidence that the Punjab police had secretly disposed of 984 bodies between 1990 and 1995, a period in which hundreds of Sikh men Adisappeared@ in police custody. In a separate case, former Director-General of Police K.P.S. Gill was sentenced to three months= rigorous imprisonment for slapping a female police officer. Gill has also been implicated in the torture and murder of hundreds of Sikhs in the police crackdown on the insurgency in Punjab. He has never been charged with these crimes.
Heightened attention to the problem of bonded child labor by organizations both within India and abroad helped spur some reforms by state governments. In a promising development, the newly elected government in the southern state of Tamil Nadu announced that implementation of the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act (BLA)would be a priority and vowed to establish vigilance committees to oversee enforcement of the law throughout the state. The announcement prompted the formation of a coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to work specifically on the issue of bonded child labor, focusing on rehabilitation and public education. At the national level, the Tamil Nadu NGOs, together with Delhi-based activists, began working with the new government on forming a national commission to oversee implementation of the BLA. In its 1994-95 report, the Ministry of Labor recommended raising the rehabilitation allowance for freed bonded laborers from 6,250 to 10,000 rupees (from approximately US$178 to $285). It was not clear, at this writing, whether this recommendation had been implemented. As of November, there were no known prosecutions of employers who made use of bonded child labor.
Police arrests of street children, a frequent occurrence in railway stations throughout India, increased sharply in Bombay during July and August, the height of the monsoon. Street children using the Bombay Central Railway Station for shelter and employment were rounded up almost daily in a police campaign to Aimprove the quality of life" at the station by removing criminals and vagrants. The children were detained and beaten, often for the purposes of extortion, and then left without shelter. Lawyers filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court asking for the court=s intervention to stop the roundups and torture of street children.
Of the forty or so ethnic insurgent groups seeking autonomy in India's northeastern states, the most powerful operated in the states of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, carrying out attacks on security personnel, political assassinations, kidnapping, and murder of executives of key industries. The largest of these were the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN). Civilians were frequent victims of Indian government counterinsurgency operations against these groups. In Manipur, deaths and Adisappearances@ of civilians at the hands of Indian authorities led to a series of strikes and demonstrations calling for independent inquiries, compensation and disciplinary action; journalists in Assam held a protest in May denouncing killings and harassment of their colleagues. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which grants the military broad powers to arrest and detain suspects, destroy property, and shoot to kill remained in place in the northeast. The law has been widely criticized for contributing to human rights abuses. Surrendered ULFA militants, called ASULFAs,@ aided Indian security forces in counterinsurgency and were also implicated in extrajudicial killings.
In Assam's Kokrajhar district, ethnic violence in May and June between members of the Bodo and Santhal tribes killed some eighty people and displaced at least 20,000 others when villages were destroyed by arson.
Between January and March 1996, more than 1,000 ethnic Nepali Bhutanese who had sought refuge in Nepal after their forcible eviction from Bhutan in 1990 began a peaceful march from the camps in Nepal through India to the Bhutan border. They were stopped from reaching the border by police in West Bengal, arrested and detained. Many of the marchers were beaten, and one died in custody. On July 5, 791 of them who had been detained since March were unconditionally released.
The Right to Monitor
Many human rights groups in India, particularly those based in major metropolitan areas, operated fairly freely in 1996. Those active in more remote rural areas who challenged the power of influential landlords or business owners, and those based in areas of conflict such as the northeast or Kashmir undertook considerable risks.
Jalil Andrabi, a prominent human rights lawyer and political activist associated with the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, was found murdered on March 27, 1996. According to eyewitnesses, Andrabi had been detained on March 8 by a Rashtriya Rifles unit of the army which had intercepted his car a few hundred yards from his home in Srinagar. The army repeatedly denied that Andrabi was in custody. Andrabi had previously received death threats from government-sponsored so-called Arenegade@ forces, and it was widely believed that Andrabi may have been handed over to such forces after his arrest. The bodies of some of the men believed to have been involved in the Andrabi=s killing were later discovered in April; it was widely believed that they had been killed by the security forces. India=s official National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) launched an investigation of Andrabi=s killing, but as of November, no findings had been announced, and human rights lawyers complained of obstruction by the army and tampering with evidence from the post-mortem examination.
Parag Kumar Das, general secretary of the Assamese human rights organization Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), and editor in chief of the Assamese publication Asomiya Pratidin, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on May 17 as he was taking his son to school. The seven-year-old boy was wounded in the attack. A proponent for self-rule in Assam, shortly before his death Parag Das had published an interview in Asomiya Pratidin with the leader of the militant separatist group, ULFA. Das=s colleagues in Assam suspected that his assassination may have been carried out by gunmen formerly associated with ULFA who had been working with the security forces.
On October 7, Warangal district police in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh threatened to Aliquidate@ Dr. Burra Ramulu and Amabati Srinivas, both members of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, apparently because both men had called for judicial inquiries into police abuses against suspected members and supporters of the People=s War Group, a Maoist guerrilla organization. Earlier that day, seven policemen had been killed by a land mine planted by the guerrilla group. On October 9, the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered the state to provide protection to the two men.
In its annual report to Parliament on September 10, the NHRC accused the state government in Kashmir of concealing reports of human rights abuses by security personnel. At the same time, when provided with reports of abuse from independent human rights groups, the NHRC was seldom willing to push the authorities for impartial investigations. The NHRC vowed to make child labor and child prostitution a priority for its work in 1996; however, the commission recommended no specific reforms or programs to deal with bonded labor.
Activists who have organized protests against the environmental degradation caused by prawn aquaculture and the use of bonded labor on such farms have been harassed and arrested. On December 15, 1995, five activists of the Institute for Motivating Self-Employment (IMSE), an organization devoted to freeing farmers in Orissa from debt-bondage to landlords and money lenders and raising awareness about the harmful effects of aquaculture, were reportedly detained without charge after local police invited them to a meeting to discuss their work. On December 17, three IMSE activists who were protesting the arrest of their colleagues were also arrested. All eight IMSE workers were detained until January 19, 1996. When the director of IMSE and two human rights activists from Bangalore arrived to investigate the incident on December 20, their car tires were punctured by unidentified armed men who threatened them with Adire consequences@ if they continued their investigation. The driver attempted to file a complaint, but the police refused to register the charges and instead detained the driver overnight. On returning to the car, the driver found that all documents had been removed.
Medha Patkar, leader of the Save the Narmada Movement (Narmada Bachao Andolan), was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh police on August 20. Patkar had organized a peaceful protest against the government=s failure to provide rehabilitation to people ousted by the construction of a dam on the Narmada river. A number of activists were also beaten by police who broke up the demonstration. Patkar was held under a preventive detention law until August 30.
On June 27, police entered the villages of Mitihini and Khairi, in the Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, where villagers had protested forced resettlement to clear the area for an ash dike for the Rihand Super Thermal Power Project. A number of villagers were reportedly beaten, and thirteen protesters were detained.
The Role of the International Community
As had been the case in previous years, trade issues dominated international interest in India in 1996, and expressions of concern about human rights were limited to a few prominent cases. For example, the murder of Jalil Andrabi and the ongoing problem of child labor and bonded child labor led a number of countries to raise concerns with the government of India, both publicly and privately. However, the long-standing issue of impunity for the military in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country and the endemic problem of custodial violence received virtually no attention from the international community.
Following Andrabi=s murder, on April 2, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights José Ayala Lasso called on the government of India to Aundertake a thorough investigation ... with a view to establishing the facts and imposing sanctions on those found guilty of the crime.@
The issue of bonded child labor received considerable attention at the World Bank convened donor meeting on India that took place in Tokyo in September, as a number of participant countries raised concerns about World Bank-funded projects that have made use of bonded child labor and about the need for donor involvement in rehabilitation efforts.
The European Council and the European Commission held talks in New Delhi with then Prime Minister Rao in early May, at which the EU agreed to support India=s participation in the next EU-Asia summit. India was not invited to the meeting in Bangkok in March.
In late June, the European Commission issued its first official position paper on EU-India relations, outlining a long-term agenda for an Aenhanced partnership.@ The paper focused on the impact of India=s economic reforms in a democratic, multi-cultural society and was aimed at developing a framework for the EU to pursue its main interest in India: getting better access to India=s Aenormous market.@ There was a deliberate effort to downplay controversial issues, especially human rights. In the framework of an EU-India Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, signed in 1993 and conditioned on respect for human rights, an EU-India Joint Committee was set to meet in December 1996 in New Delhi. The joint committee was to outline specific priorities, including intensification of dialogue on Apolitical issues@ though the emphasis would clearly be on trade and investment; a business forum was scheduled for Brussels the month before. As the year ended, it was not clear what level of priority human rights would be given by the joint committee.
Most countries took a timid approach to the elections in Kashmir. Both the U.K. and the U.S. called on officials to ensure that the vote would be free and fair; however, neither publicly criticized widespread intimidation of voters by security forces. British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind also urged India to allow international observers at the polls. (The government did not permit international observers.) U.S. officials stated that they believed a fair vote could lead to Astability@ and begin a political process. A visit to Srinagar by U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner in August sparked criticism by most leaders of the opposition All-Parties Huriyat Conference, who refused to meet with Wisner because of what they claimed was his pro-India stand on the elections, and by opposition parliamentarians in New Delhi, who accused the U.S. ambassador of interference in an internal matter.
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi continued to relegate human rights concerns to a low priority. Although the State Department issued a strong statement condemning Andrabi=s murder and calling for a Afull and transparent investigation,@ embassy personnel expressed no further concern about reports of army obstruction of the investigation and the lack of progress in the case. Although the ambassador raised concern about child labor, the embassy played no notable role on any other human rights issue.
The U. S. Department=s report on human rights was markedly less forthright about government abuses than had been the case in previous years. While attempting to characterize the situation in Kashmir as improving, the report completely failed to address abuses by state-sponsored militias. Elsewhere, the report appeared oblivious of documentation by Indian human rights organizations about deaths in custody and other abuses.
The U.S. continued to expand its program of military cooperation with India, holding special joint naval exercises and a visits to the U.S. by Chief of Army Staff Shankar Roy in September. Joint air force exercises and a visit to India by senior U.S. defense officials were scheduled for later in the year.
INDONESIA AND EAST TIMOR
The most serious riot in Jakarta in two decades in July underscored increasing tension in Indonesia as demands of various groups for more political participation, less abuse by the security forces, and a greater share of the economic pie continued to be met with repression. Jakarta was not the only site of unrest during the year; demonstrations followed by riots broke out in Irian Jaya in March, July and September; in Ujungpandang (South Sulawesi) and Ngabang (West Kalimantan) in April; and in East Timor in June.
Freedom of expression and association continued to suffer with opposition politicians, journalists, nongovernmental organization (NGO) activists, trade unionists, students, and an independent election monitoring group all facing various forms of harassment, in some cases involving arrest and torture. The government-engineered ouster of Megawati Soekarnoputri as head of the opposition party, Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (PDI), in June, and the arrests in July, August and September of dozens of student leaders and independent labor leader Mochtar Pakpahan were only the most severe manifestations of government intolerance of dissent. The government also attempted to fan fears of a resurgence of a communist threat in order to legitimize its actions against critics and to discredit opposition parties and their members.
At the same time, there were more prosecutions of military officers for human rights abuses -- at least four cases involving over twenty men -- than in any previous year. The prosecutions were welcome, but given other developments in Indonesia, it was difficult to conclude that they were evidence of a greater sense of the need for government accountability. In East Timor, a wide range of human rights violations continued to take place, compounded by increased training of civilian and paramilitary militias composed of East Timorese and by increasing incidents of religious and ethnic violence. The granting of the Nobel Peace Prize in October to two East Timorese was expected to increase international pressure for human rights improvements there.
The right to monitor the human rights situation in the country was compromised by the intimidation and harassment of NGOs that followed the emergence of KIPP, the election monitoring organization, and the crackdown on the student-led People=s Democratic Party in July and August.
The July riots led to criticism of Indonesian government actions internationally, particularly from the European Parliament and the United States, and nervousness among foreign investors, but few concrete actions were forthcoming.
Human Rights Developments
The most significant political and human rights developments in the country surrounded the rise and removal of Megawati Sukarnoputri as a political opposition leader; the occupation of PDI headquarters in Jakarta by her supporters and their removal by army-backed paramilitary forces on July 27; the riots that followed; and the arrest and detention of members of a small leftist party that the government blamed for the violence.
In a clear violation of freedom of association, Megawati was ousted from the PDI in a special party congress held in Medan, Sumatra in June. The government ceased to recognize her as an official of the PDI, her supporters were removed from the PDI candidate list for the 1997 parliamentary elections, and her efforts in September to open a new office were thwarted by the government on the grounds that the office violated a zoning ordinance.
Following the Medan congress, Megawati supporters occupied PDI headquarters in Jakarta. On July 27, hundreds of youths linked to the newly installed PDI head, Soerjadi, backed by police and military personnel, forcibly entered and physically removed Megawati's supporters and set fire to the headquarters. The attack sparked a full-scale riot, affecting the area around the PDI offices and spreading into other parts of the city. Protestors stoned and set fire to more than twenty buildings; at least five people were killed and some 150 wounded. More than 200 people, including bystanders, were arrested; some of the latter were held up to five days and tortured to force confessions of involvement in the violence. Some 124 were later charged with crimes under the Indonesian criminal code and initially were denied access to lawyers. Virtually all of those formally charged were suspected Megawati supporters; meanwhile, none of the youths involved in the storming of the PDI headquarters were arrested.
The government, looking for a scapegoat for the riots, blamed a small leftist student-led organization called the People=s Democratic Party (Partai Rakyat Demokratik, PRD) and its student, worker, peasant, and cultural affiliates. The PRD was accused not only of masterminding the riots but of being the new incarnation of the banned Indonesian Communist Party. By November 1, some thirty-nine students were in detention, at least five of whom had been tortured with electric shocks during military interrogation. Also in detention was labor leader Muchtar Pakpahan, general secretary of the Prosperous Worker's Union of Indonesia (Serikut Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia, SBSI), who was arrested at his home on July 30. Pakpahan was head of the NGO coalition supporting Megawati called the Indonesian People=s Council (Majelis Rakyat Indonesia, MARI) which had the PRD as one of its members.
Both Muchtar and the head of the PRD, Budiman Sudjatmiko, who was arrested on August 11, were charged with subversion. While subversion is a capital offense, prosecutors were unlikely to seek the death penalty. The trials were expected to begin in late November or early December.
The government used the riots and the new "threat" posed by the PRD as a pretext for summoning and interrogating political critics. Prominent intellectuals such as Goenawan Mohammad, the former editor of Tempo magazine; former prisoner and internationally respected writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer; Bambang Widjojanto, head of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute; and Megawati herself were among those summoned.
The Ministry of Information and the social and political affairs office of the armed forces, which had tried to suppress reporting about the dispute within PDI prior to the July riot, issued a strong warning afterwards to three tabloid newspapers about their coverage of events. Of the three, Mutiara, Target, and Paron, the latter had carried an interview with PRD leader Budiman Sudjatmiko that some said led to the discovery of his hiding place and subsequent arrest. Controls on the press continued through the end of the year; members of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, who defied bans on reporting and provided in-depth analysis of events in an underground magazine called Suara Independen (Independent Voice) faced dismissal and arrest. On October 28, police confiscated 5,000 copies of the magazine and arrested two printing press workers on charges of defaming the president and distributing an insulting publication.
The government=s crackdown on the PRD was foreshadowed by its moves in April and May against the independent election monitoring group set up in March called the Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (KIPP), in which student and NGO activists were deeply involved. Thirty branches of KIPP sprang up across the country within three months of its founding; government harassment of NGOs linked to KIPP increased as a result, with KIPP meetings banned in Solo, Lampung and elsewhere. On April 22, the Medan office of the Legal Aid Institute was firebombed following a KIPP meeting, and the office of an NGO in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, whose members were active in the local KIPP branch, was raided the same month. Also in April, a local government office in Bogor, West Java, made public accusations that KIPP secretary general Mulyana Kusumah was affiliated with a communist group as a high school student, more than thirty years earlier. Newspapers and magazines were told they could no longer to publish Mulyana's writings. The allegations seemed designed to discredit the election monitors.
In another example of violations of freedom of expression, prominent government critic and former parliamentarian for the United Development Party (UDP), Sri Bintang Pamungkas, was sentenced on May 8 to two years and ten months in prison on charges of "defaming the president." Bintang had been arrested and charged under Article 134 of the criminal code for remarks made during a lecture given in Berlin, Germany in April 1995 (see 1996 World Report). The sentence was upheld by an appellate court in October.
Political unrest erupted in several different areas of Indonesia during the year. In Irian Jaya, tensions resulting from the army killing of civilians in the Timika area in 1994 and 1995 remained high, with local groups convinced that the huge Freeport copper and gold mine that dominates the area bore some responsibility, directly or indirectly, for the problem. In February, a military court in Irian Jaya sentenced four soldiers to prison terms ranging from eighteen months to three years for killing three Timika villagers. A week after the trial, the then Irian Jaya military commander Major General Dunidja issued a booklet for soldiers on human rights and military professionalism, indicating a new sensitivity on the part of the army to human rights criticism.
Between March 10 and 12, thousands of Irianese took part in demonstrations of unprecedented scale in Timika following an incident in which a local man was injured and taken to the hospital by a Freeport employee. Rioters stormed and attacked security posts as well as property belonging to the mining company and its employees. The riot led to unfounded accusations that NGOs had organized it and complicated efforts to release twenty-six hostages seized by a guerrilla group, the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM), in January, in violation of international humanitarian law. After negotiations to free the hostages failed, the Indonesian military mounted a rescue operation in May in which nine were freed and two were killed, apparently by Papuans but not by their immediate captors.
A second riot broke out on March 18 in Jayapura, capital of Irian Jaya, after the body of an independence leader, Thomas Wanggai, was returned for burial following his death in prison in Jakarta on March 12. Demonstrators were convinced Wanggai had been killed, although he seems to have died of natural causes.
Following the March riots and in light of the continued tensions between Freeport and the indigenous people within Freeport's contract of work area, the company indicated its intention to create a trust fund to be used for the benefit of the local community. On June 29, LEMASA (Lembaga Musyawarah Adat Suku Amungme), the representative body of the Amungme people, rejected the trust fund offer on the grounds that the funds would be channeled through the government rather than being given directly to the people. Disputes over that decision led to a demonstration on July 18 and subsequent allegations by the army that those who rejected the offer were subversives. Members of the Amungme group filed a class action suit against Freeport in U.S. district court under the U.S. Alien Tort Claim Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991. As of July 29 more than 1,000 individuals had joined in the suit against Freeport.
Another hostage-taking incident took place in mid-August 1996. Thirteen employees of the Djajanti Logging Company were taken hostage about sixty kilometers from the town of Timika. The Indonesian press reported that the hostage-takers were OPM members, but the circumstances surrounding the incident remained murky. Army spokespersons initially insinuated that WALHI, an environmental NGO that had been openly critical of Freeport's activities in Irian Jaya, and Tom Beanal, executive director of LEMASA, were somehow involved, but the allegations, yet another form of harassment against NGOs, were subsequently dropped.
On April 7, some 2,000 resident of the village of Ngabang, 186 kilometers east of the West Kalimantan capital of Pontianak, stormed an army camp to protest the severe torture of a local man named Jining. Jining was tortured because he drove by an army post too quickly. The army responded to the demonstrators with force, resulting in the death of a villager named Taku. On May 14, the National Human Rights Commission (KOMNAS) promised NGOs that it would investigate the incident, and the KOMNAS findings led to the prosecution of fourteen soldiers in July.
On April 22-24, riots broke out in Ujungpandang after student activists organized transport workers and others to protest a rise in transportation fares. Armored personnel carriers entered the campus of the Indonesian Muslim University (UMI), and in the ensuing turmoil, five students died. Three drowned after apparently jumping in a nearby river to escape army vehicles. Following an investigation by the government-appointed human rights commission, twelve soldiers were indicted on charges of procedural violations. On September 25, six of the twelve appeared in the Ujungpandang military court as their court martial began; in late October, the prosecutor recommended sentences of between five and six months for the accused.
A series of labor rallies took place during the year involving thousands of workers demonstrating for freedom of association and a higher minimum wage; Indonesia has only one legal trade union federation that is largely controlled by the government. One of the largest rallies took place in Surabaya, East Java, on July 8 involving 20,000 workers and led to the arrest of its student organizers on incitement charges. At year=s end, it seemed likely that they would be charged with the political offense either of subversion or of Aspreading hatred against the government.@
Ethnic and religious violence increased in East Timor, some of it apparently deliberately provoked. In June, riots broke out in the town of Baucau after an Indonesian guard at a mosque in Baguia posted a picture of the Virgin Mary with a derogatory caption. The incident led to a protest march, security forces were called in to contain the demonstration, and upon their arrival, violence broke out. Over one hundred people were detained for their involvement in the demonstration.
Extrajudicial executions and torture continued in East Timor. In April 1996 a high school student, Paulo Dos Reis, was shot and killed by an Indonesian soldier after being suspected of resistance activities. Also in April Andre Sousa was shot and killed by an Indonesian soldier after he removed an Indonesian flag that had been flying at half-mast in honor of the death of President Soeharto=s wife.
The Right to Monitor
Indonesian human rights organizations faced widespread harassment during the year throughout the country, although by year=s end, fears of new regulations to curb their activities had not materialized. The alliance between human rights groups and pro-democracy activists in the formation of the independent election monitoring committee and the involvement of the largest human rights organization in the country, the Legal Aid Institute, in a coalition that supported Megawati and the PDI, led to tightened surveillance of NGO operations and intimidation of individual activists.
KOMNAS continued to function as a cautious but effective challenge to the military and helped bring about several prosecutions of soldiers accused of human rights abuses. KOMNAS at year=s end was experiencing greater pressure from the government than ever before as a result of its preliminary findings of human rights violations in connection with the July riots, and there was widespread concern in Indonesia that the institution would emerge somewhat weakened as a result.
KOMNAS opened an office in Dili, East Timor, in July, but its effectiveness was compromised by the fact that it was located directly across the street from the district military command and was headed by a former prosecutor from the Indonesian island of Flores who did not speak the local language.
The Role of the International Community
The international community was sharply critical of Indonesia following the government's raid on the PDI headquarters in July and its subsequent actions against political activists. Other issues, such as East Timor and restrictions on freedom of expression, also received attention during the year at the U.N. and at the annual meeting of the World Bank-led donor consortium for development aid, the Consultative Group on Indonesia. Labor rights violations were the subject of debate in the U.S. as well as in the World Bank. But in general, governments studiously avoided linking trade privileges or arms transfers to human rights abuses. At the ASEAN Regional Forum, Jakarta largely succeeded in deflecting concerns about human rights as Ainterference in internal affairs,@ although it could not keep Burma off the agenda. The controversy over Freeport-McMoRan=s role in Irian Jaya and abuses in the region had an impact on both U.S. and World Bank-provided political risk insurance programs provided to the company.
A consensus chairman=s statement on East Timor was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva in April, reiterating concerns raised by the commission in previous years and calling for a clarification of the 1991 Dili killings, early release of detained East Timorese, and expanded access by international human rights monitors. But there was no attempt to promote a resolution despite Indonesia=s continuing failure to respond positively to these recommendations. Meanwhile, the All-Inclusive Intra-East Timorese Dialogue continued, under the U.N.=s auspices, with a meeting in Austria from March 19-22. Nigel Rodley, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, tried but failed to obtain permission from the Indonesian government to visit the territory. The government said that, as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights José Ayala Lasso had just visited in December 1995, there was no need for Rodley to come.
In March, the first Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit in Bangkok became the occasion for unscheduled bilateral talks between Portuguese Prime Minister Manual de Oliveira Guterres and President Soeharto on East Timor, where Guterres offered partial diplomatic relations with Indonesia in exchange for the release of imprisoned East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao. Not only did Soeharto reject the offer, but efforts were underway in late 1996 to ensure that East Timor was kept entirely off the agenda of the 1997 summit.
The European Parliament, on June 20, adopted a resolution following the suppression of protests in Baucau, East Timor earlier in the month; the motion also called for a halt in all military assistance arms sales from the EU to Indonesia, for the release of all political prisoners, and for the dropping of charges against ousted parliamentarian Sri Bintang Pamungkas.
When European Commission Vice-President Manuel Marin met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas in Jakarta on July 26, he said that the EU and ASEAN were looking for ways to separate their trade and investment relationship from discussion of human rights issues, and suggested this might meet putting a freeze of any discussion of East Timor at an EU-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting scheduled for February 1997 in Singapore.
On September 19, the European Parliament met in plenary session and adopted a resolution on Indonesia condemning the violent seizure of PDI headquarters and calling for the release of peaceful activists. The resolution also urged that the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions undertake an investigation into the deaths that occurred during the storming of the PDI office.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl visited Indonesia from October 26-29, and while he raised East Timor and other human rights issues in passing, the main subject of the trip was trade. He was accompanied by three ministers and seventy business leaders, and the trip produced agreements on the setting up of several large German-Indonesian joint ventures.
In the U.S., concerns about East Timor caused some members of Congress to press for a broadening of the existing U.S. ban on small arms sales to Indonesia, but the Fiscal Year 1997 foreign operations appropriations bill adopted in September contained funding to continue an expanded International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, while continuing the existing restrictions on arms sales. In addition, prominent members of Congress in March protested the prosecution of Sri Bintang Pamungkas in a letter to Foreign Minister Alatas.
The ASEAN annual ministerial meetings took place in Jakarta from July 23-27. U.S. Secretary of State Christopher used the opportunity to meet with members of Komnas and said, in an unusually pointed barb at the Soeharto government, that the U.S. had a Adeep interest@ in encouraging Apolitical pluralism@ in Indonesia.
After the July riots, officials of the U.S. expressed concern both in Jakarta and in Washington. In August, thirty-six members of the House of Representatives wrote to Foreign Minister Ali Alatas urging Jakarta to respect the rights of those arrested, to ensure restraint by the security forces, and to cooperate fully with KOMNAS in its investigations.
Members of the House and Senate also urged the administration to suspend the sale of F-16 advanced fighter planes to Indonesia as a way of signaling U.S. concern about the decline in human rights; by the time a Senate hearing took place in September, the administration had put the sale on hold out of deference to congressional opposition, while also stating its intention to proceed with the sale early in 1997. During a visit to Indonesia early in September, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Winston Lord failed to bring up the F-16 sale with Indonesian officials or suggest specific human rights improvements that would allow the sale to go forward. He did meet with NGOs and raised human rights concerns in his meetings with officials; he also briefly visited two detainees (Pakpahan and Budiman) in their detention cells, and in his public comments repeatedly gave the authorities credit for this gesture.
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as of October had yet to issue a determination on whether to reinstate the formal review of Indonesia=s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade benefits on worker rights grounds. United States law conditions the program on progress in protecting labor rights in recipient countries. In September twenty-nine members of the House of Representatives wrote to USTR to urge reinstatement of the review, noting, in particular, the arrest of Mochtar Pakpahan and other labor activists. (The GSP program was newly funded by Congress in mid-1996, leaving the status of petitions filed in 1995 unaddressed; a petition on Indonesia calling for a review on worker rights grounds had been pending since August 1995).
The Australian government did its best to avoid any criticism of Indonesia=s human rights record. In August, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer issued a weak statement following the July 27 riot, expressing the hope that conditions would return to normal quickly. But when Australian Prime Minister John Howard visited Indonesia in September, he avoided bringing up human rights altogether, despite pressure from Australian NGOs and members of parliament. The newly appointed Australian ambassador to Jakarta, John McCarthy, due to be posted in January 1997, told journalists he would avoid embarrassing the government publicly on human rights, while acknowledging that Australia was concerned about East Timor, freedom of expression, and other issues.
Japan also downplayed human rights concerns following the July crackdown, although the government did quietly urge Jakarta to release those detained solely for their peaceful political activity. Tokyo took no steps to review its large development aid program to Indonesia despite clear evidence of human rights violations.
Donors and Investors
At the World Bank-convened annual donors meeting in June, governments pledged $5.3 billion in development assistance for Indonesia, an increase of 7 percent over 1995 levels at constant exchange rates. In 1996, the bank loaned over $991 million to Jakarta and was the country=s largest single donor. Some governments did express concern regarding Indonesia=s human rights record in general terms, but no conditions were imposed and the bank congratulated the government on its overall economic performance.
In Irian Jaya, Freeport-McMoRan=s $100-million political risk insurance contract with the U.S.-government-funded Overseas Private Investment Corporation, canceled in November 1995, was restored in April 1996 until the end of the year; the contract had been canceled on environmental grounds, though human rights concerns also were a factor. In September, the company itself abruptly canceled a separate $50-million political risk insurance contract with the World Bank=s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), shortly before an investigation team from MIGA was due to leave for Irian Jaya to examine human rights and environmental problems surrounding the mine.
Human Rights Developments
Japan continued to confront allegations of poor prison conditions and discrimination in the legal system against foreigners, including women trafficked into the country for prostitution, migrant workers and Chinese dissidents who entered Japan as students. Its handling of the issue of Acomfort women@ who provided sexual services to the Japanese military during World War II continued to be controversial. Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto=s government was generally cautious in raising human rights concerns in other countries, particularly when dealing with its Asian neighbors where Tokyo has major economic and political interests at stake. The exception was Burma, subject of increasing concern and activism by the Japanese government in response to deteriorating conditions there. In its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program, Japan emphasized Apositive linkage,@ offering assistance to governments in transition. Beyond its bilateral relations, Japan took some significant steps forward in 1996 by deciding to support the international campaign to ban land mines worldwide, and by announcing during a visit to Tokyo by President Clinton a joint program with the U.S. to build civil society and strengthen judicial systems in Anew democracies.@ On the other hand, Japan continued to play a disappointing role in the U.N. discussions about an International Criminal Court, supporting the court in principle but slowing down the process of moving towards a diplomatic conference.
Within Japan, human rights abuses continued to occur during pre-trial detention and in prisons. Detention and prison facilities were characterized by draconian rules, arbitrary punishments, the use of prolonged solitary confinement, and severe restrictions on contact with the outside world. A number of lawsuits challenging the mistreatment of prisoners were filed over the course of the year. Indeed, there were over one hundred lawsuits pending in the Japanese courts that involved assaults by prison guards, the painful and degrading use of physical restraints as punishment, and other such abuses. The Center for Prisoners= Rights, a Japanese organization that litigates on behalf of prisoners, believed that as an increasing number of such suits were being filed, judges were becoming more inclined to rule in favor of prisoners.
Foreign workers in Japan continued to face major problems with the Japanese legal system, often not being provided with adequate interpretation or being informed of their rights, including their right to counsel, upon arrest for immigration or other offenses.
Asylum-seekers faced major hurdles in Japan. In September, the Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal from a prominent Chinese dissident, Zhao Nan, for political asylum. His initial application was turned down by the Ministry of Justice in 1991, on the narrow technical grounds that he had not filed his original appeal for refugee status within sixty days of his arrival in Japan in 1989. The High Court upheld that ruling. Zhao Nan had been imprisoned in China for two years from 1982 for his pro-democracy activities and continued his advocacy while in Japan. Since the 1989 massacre in China, no Chinese dissident has been recognized as a political refugee by the Japanese government, although at least forty-eight dissidents have obtained a special visa, renewable every six months, allowing them to remain in Japan. Zhao planned to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The treatment of some 200,000 so-called "comfort women" from China, Korea and the Philippines, forced by the Japanese army to serve as sex slaves during World War II, continued to receive international attention in 1996. U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Radhika Coomaraswamy filed her report at the U.N. Human Rights Commission in April and urged the Japanese government to identify and punish those responsible for the use of sex slaves, to pay compensation to the victims, and to issue a public apology to the individual women in writing. Japanese officials questioned the accuracy of the report and lobbied unsuccessfully against its adoption by the commission. A voluntary fund established by the government began paying US$18,500 each to former sex slaves, which some NGOs and rights advocates welcomed and others criticized as insufficient either to fulfill the women's needs or to discharge the Japan's government's legal and moral responsibility.
The Foreign Ministry=s annual report on ODA for 1995 (published in February 1996) noted that Japan was once again the largest bilateral aid donor worldwide, providing $14.5 billion in 1995. Among the top ten ODA recipients were major human rights abusers, including the governments of China (more than $1.4 billion) and Indonesia ($880 million), as well as India ($886 million) and Pakistan ($271 million). In describing implementation of the ODA Charter=s provision calling for consideration of human rights conditions in giving aid, the Foreign Ministry emphasized Japan=s efforts to assist newly emerging democracies or market economies in Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and countries in Africa and Central America. It also cited some examples of Anegative linkage,@ where ODA was suspended due to human rights violations, including Nigeria and Gambia in 1994. In other cases, instead of cutting off aid, Japan Aurged recipient countries to improve@ human rights, such as Thailand and Peru; or it took steps to reduce balance-of-payments support assistance, as with Kenya and Malawi.
In Burma, Japan had suspended in principle most of its ODA in 1988 but following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in 1995 had moved to restore some limited grants assistance, such as $15.1 million for a nursing school, on Ahumanitarian grounds@and was preparing to restart major infrastructure projects.
Developments in 1996, however, pushed Tokyo to put any new ODA on hold and to take a tougher posture in response to the crackdown in Rangoon. Aung San Suu Kyi, in repeated interviews with the Japanese press, urged Japan to withhold aid and investment. Japan=s ambassador in Rangoon, Yoichi Yamaguchi, met with her on several occasions and tried to play an intermediary role to help stimulate talks between her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and the government.
When the Burmese government rounded up NLD members in May, Prime Minister Hashimoto quickly condemned the arrests saying they Arun counter to democratization@ and publicly called on SLORC to hold a dialogue with the NLD. Japan=s foreign minister, Yukihiko Ikeda, issued a strongly worded protest to his Burmese counterpart, who was visiting Tokyo at the time, calling the arrests illegal and Aunacceptable to Japan.@ He also indicated privately that the increased repression would have a negative effect on Japanese investment in Burma. This message was followed up in July, at the ASEAN ministerial conference in Jakarta, where Ikeda again met with Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw and protested a new law enacted by Rangoon banning public gatherings. At the same time, however, Japan actively supported Burma=s bid to become a member of ASEAN.
Members of the Japanese Diet (parliament) urged Tokyo to go even further; a multiparty caucus called the ADiet Members= League for the Support of Myanmar=s Democratization@ issued a statement condemning the May arrests and urging Japan to Astop all cooperation@ with Burma until those detained were released and the government began a dialogue with the opposition.
Reports in the Japanese press in June that Aung San Suu Kyi=s arrest might be imminent provoked a warning from Tokyo that stronger action would be taken if she were detained, and the Foreign Ministry discussed possible contingencies for reacting to any further deterioration in conditions when two U.S. official envoys visited Tokyo to discuss Burma policy.
In contrast with its policy towards Burma, Japan reacted far less firmly to a major crackdown in Indonesia that began in July. While the government quietly urged Jakarta to release members of nongovernmental organizations and others detained solely for their peaceful political activity, it refused to condemn the violent arrests of those who occupied PDI (Democratic Party of Indonesia) headquarters, or the Indonesian government=s use of the anti-subversion law. Tokyo took no steps to review its large ODA program to Indonesia. Foreign Minister Ikeda met with President Soeharto at the time of the ASEAN ministerial conference in July (prior to the crackdown); he raised the issue of human rights in East Timor during discussions with the Indonesian Foreign Minister Alatas.
Japan continued to downplay human rights in its relations with China, focusing instead on nuclear testing and regional security issues. Prime Minister Hashimoto met Premier Li Peng in Bangkok in March at the ASEAN summit meeting and urged China to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; he also pledged Japan=s support for China=s early entry into the World Trade Organization. The Chinese Foreign Minister visited Tokyo in March, but discussions were focused mainly on Taiwan. Early in 1996, the Japanese Foreign Ministry indicated it was considering putting a cap on ODA to Beijing in fiscal year 1996 due to China=s nuclear testing program. But it continued to ignore the ODA Charter=s human rights provisions in its relations with China. Amid tensions over Taiwan and the Diaoyu islands, the Japanese government was even more reluctant to raise human rights concerns with China except in the most general way. The Japanese government did, however, cosponsor the resolution on China at the U.N. Human Rights Commission in April, despite strong protests from Beijing, and it privately urged China to uphold its international commitments on Hong Kong during and following the transition to Chinese rule in 1997. Foreign Minister Ikeda noted this during a visit to Hong Kong in August following his meeting with Hong Kong Chief Secretary Anson Chan.
In Indochina, Japan stepped up its support of the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia. Foreign Minister Ikeda visited Vietnam in late July and signed aid agreements worth $3.6 million and offered economic and cultural aid worth $32.4 million over the next three years, primarily for bridge-building. In meetings with senior Vietnamese officials, he urged continued economic reforms and offered Japan=s support in building up the legal system; otherwise, human rights were not explicitly on the agenda. On Cambodia, Japan cochaired with the World Bank an international donors= meeting in Tokyo on July 11-12 and arranged a separate meeting with the two Cambodian prime ministers and donor representatives to discuss the domestic political situation and plans for elections in 1997 and 1998. The Japanese ambassador to Phnom Penh underlined the need to prepare carefully for the elections in order to sustain donor support, but did not raise specific human rights concerns. Japan announced it would give $2.5 million for removal of land mines in Cambodia in 1996 and 1997.
In South Asia, human rights concerns were largely overshadowed by Japanese efforts to promote regional stability and denuclearization. Pakistan=s prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, visited Tokyo in January and was urged to begin a dialogue with India on Kashmir. An ODA mission visited India in July, and though Japanese officials routinely discussed Kashmir as a source of tension and potential instability, they refrained from discussing human rights except by referring to the ODA Charter. In advance of an international India donors= meeting in Tokyo on September 16-18, cohosted with the World Bank, the Foreign Ministry ordered the Japanese embassy in New Delhi to investigate the use of bonded child labor.
In July, the Foreign Ministry cosponsored with U.N. University in Tokyo its second annual symposium on Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region. Though the seminar broke no new ground, it provided a useful forum to debate the pros and cons of establishing a regional human rights mechanism, and highlighted the positive role of NGOs throughout Asia.
The government announced in June, at the G-7 summit meeting in France, its plans to join the global campaign to ban land mines. Tokyo said it would hold an international conference in 1997 to support U.N. land mine clearance, as well as assistance for land mine victims, and that it would cosponsor at the U.N. General Assembly a resolution promoting a total ban on land mines. On the other hand, Japan planned to continue to produce and use self-destructing and self-deactivating land mines until the enactment of an international treaty
banning all antipersonnel land mines.
At the August session of the Preparatory Committee on an International Criminal Court in New York, Japan again argued for a lengthy negotiation process on the grounds that major legal issues had not yet been resolved. That position reflected Japan=s lack of enthusiasm more generally about the whole concept of the ICC.
The Right to Monitor
Human rights groups in Japan faced no legal restrictions on their activities.
The Role of the International Community
The president of the European Commission, Jacques Santer, visited Tokyo in October 1996, but in his meetings with the prime minister, business leaders and others, he focused mainly on economic and trade relations, following up on the E.U.-ASEAN summit in Bangkok in March. He made only general references to the common interests of the E.U. and Japan in promoting Athe rule of law, human rights, market principles (and) free trade,@ and called for greater coordination in development policies, especially in Africa.
The Clinton administration made some progress in 1996 to increase cooperation with Japan on human rights. The Administration sent two envoys to Asia in June to discuss policy towards Burma, and the discussions in Tokyo were considered productive by both sides. The U.S.- Japan Global Partnership Agenda, which had omitted human rights at Tokyo=s urging, was updated during President Clinton=s visit to Japan in April. A new component was added, aimed at encouraging the development of civil society in Ademocracies@ by providing assistance with election preparation and monitoring and strengthening judicial systems. A working group meeting was projected for El Salvador to develop a pilot program with the Salvadoran government.
In preparation for the G-7 summit in France, Japan had agreed to the inclusion of human rights language on China, Hong Kong and Burma in the final communiqué, though this was later dropped. Informal contact and consultation took place during the year on other issues, including the resolution on human rights in China introduced at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Human Rights Developments
Three significant concerns in 1996 were symbolic of the ways in which the Republic of Korea undermined international human rights standards even as it played a largely positive role in defending those standards in international fora. Those concerns were the trials of two former presidents, the massive arrests and indictments of students participating in a banned unification rally, and the government=s failure to change repressive labor laws.
The trials of former presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo on mutiny, treason and corruption charges provided the most spectacular example in Asia of the tension between the need for accountability for past human rights abuses and the importance of upholding international norms. Chun was sentenced to death in August in connection with his 1979 coup d=etat and the 1980 Kwangju massacre in which hundreds of people were killed; Roh was sentenced to a twenty-two-and-a-half-year-term on similar charges.
While the verdicts were an extraordinary demonstration of how far Korea has come in its transition from the dictatorship of Chun to the democratizing government of Kim Young Sam, they also raised troubling questions about the use of the death penalty, the independence of the judiciary, and fair trial procedures. The court refused to accept the majority of defense witnesses. Some observers also charged that prosecutors appeared to be carrying out politically motivated orders from President Kim. Until October 1995 he had avoided advocating trials, maintaining that the cases of the ex-presidents should be evaluated by history. When he publicly announced he had changed his position, the prosecutors, who had already closed their investigations and declined to indict, immediately reopened the cases and proceeded quickly to indictments. An argument about the applicability of the statute of limitations which had been going on for several years was immediately resolved by passage of a new law in favor of the prosecution. Appeals of the two presidents were pending at the end of the year.
In late July as it has done every year, the Korean government banned the Pan-National Rally for Reunification, a student event organized under the auspices of Hanchongryon, the Korean Federation of University Student Councils, which campaigns for a confederation model of reunification with North Korea and the rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces. For nine days in August, some 26,000 police and other security forces mounted a violent offensive against the 7,000 students gathered at Yonsei University, many of whom used violence in return. Police detained 5,848 students and indicted 438 of them on September 17, thirty-eight under the National Security Law and the rest under the Act on Assembly and Demonstrations and the Law Against Violence. Another twenty-seven were kept in detention, and the rest were released. Of those indicted, fifty-one had been sentenced by late October to prison terms ranging from eight months to three years. Korean human rights organizations reported that the police used beatings to demand false confessions from students in custody stating explicitly that they had instigated and engaged in violence.
While violence on the part of the students and excessive use of force on the part of security forces are to be condemned, President Kim Young-sam also bears responsibility for outlawing what could have been a peaceful demonstration, labeling it a Aviolent revolutionary pro-North Korean guerrilla operation@ and insisting that student protests were no longer necessary now that he was president. Korean authorities, in an attempt to justify the violence, labeled Hanchongryon an anti-state organization and announced their intention to ban it, although a ban requires court action. As of November, that action was still pending.
On August 28, police carried out search and seizure procedures at student government offices at twenty-three universities. Immediately after the police search, Korea University officials closed the campus Hanchongnyon office. On August 30, Seoul police closed Hanchongryon=s internal communications network on the grounds that it had been used in support of North Korea. At the same time, the government made a decision to investigate the organization=s home page on the World Wide Web. On September 2, Yonsei University authorities seized the facilities of the student newspaper, claiming it was prejudiced in favor of North Korea. A few days later, the government announced that all student newspapers would be investigated. Editors and writers at newspapers which praised North Korea would be prosecuted under the National Security Law. In addition, the Agency for National Security Planning and the police intensified their efforts to track down persons posting Internet messages Abeneficial to North Korea.@
The National Security Law itself remained a major human rights problem. In its response to Korea=s 1992 report on fulfillment of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the U.N. Human Rights Committee called
the NSL Aa major obstacle to the full realization@ of the rights enshrined in the ICCPR. Article 7, section 1 of the law permits prison terms of up to seven years for anyone who Awith the knowledge that he might endanger the existence or security of the State or the basic order of free democracy, praised, or encouraged, or propagandized for, or sided with the activities of an antistate organization.@ Other sections criminalize forming or joining such an organization and importing or disseminating materials in support of such organizations. Its repeal continues to be a major objective for Korean human rights and labor organizations.
In addition to those indicted under NSL provisions for participation in the student demonstrations, 264 people were arrested between January 1 and September 5 for NSL offenses. Almost fifty arrests were in connection with reopened investigations into organizations shut down in 1991-92.
On July 10, Yi Eun-soon, vice-president of the Women=s Student Association at Kyoungsan University was arrested for producing T-shirts which included the name of a North Korean university. Police arrested Kim Jae-woo, chair of the Honam University Reunification Committee, on July 15 for allegedly showing a video to farmers about visits to North Korea. Although plans to show the video had been made, the event was canceled. Jang Dae-up was indicted in late June or early July for inserting a phrase from the Communist Manifesto into the student planner produced by the Sogang University Association. On August 28, Kwon Taek-hun chair of the Yongnam Student Council received a two-year sentence for distributing literature at a student meeting and leading a student demonstration in April. On February 3, Lee Eun-jin, a singer and Won Yong-ho, a publisher, were arrested for praising North Korea by disseminating a pro-North Korean songbook entitled Song of Hope. Dozens of other such arrests, in violation of the right to freedom of expression, took place during the year.
Labor rights also continued to be a major issue. Efforts to secure labor rights improvements as a condition for Korea=s membership into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the exclusive twenty-seven-member club of developed nations failed when Korea was invited to become a member in October, but in a precedent-setting development, a committee was created to monitor Korea=s labor practices on a systematic basis. Four major laws denying free expression and association and the right to collectively bargain through representative unions remained on the books in Korea: a ban on Amultiple@ unions which legitimizes company- and government-sponsored and Aghost@ unions formed during the period of military rule; prohibition of third-party intervention in labor disputes by federations not recognized by the government; restrictions on the right to organize by teachers, many of whom work in the private sector; and mandated compulsory arbitration for Apublic interest workers,@ including those working in transport, utilities, public health, banking, broadcasting, communications and the post office.
In response to a complaint filed by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions in January 1996, the Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labour Organization (ILO) recommended that the government drop charges against the first president of KCTU, Kwon Young-kil, who had been arrested in late 1995 for giving a solidarity speech to the Seoul Subway Workers Union a year and a half earlier. The committee also called for repeal of the bans on third-party intervention (organizing activities by non-union personnel), union fund-raising appeals, unimpeded union formation and the free election of union representatives.
The Right to Monitor
The government has placed no direct restrictions on the monitoring and dissemination of information about human rights violations but both the National Security Law and the ban on third-party intervention in labor disputes have been used to restrict human rights activities.
On October 2, the forty-eight-year-old monk Chin-kwan, co-chair of the Buddhist Committee for Human Rights, was detained on suspicion of violating the NSL for using telephone and fax to exchange information on dissident organizations= activities with Pak Tae-ho, chair of the Cho-sun Buddhist Alliance in North Korea. He also allegedly met three North Koreans at a hotel in Beijing in September 1995 and received from them $4,000 in travel expenses; and he allegedly traveled to Canada where he handed over materials about dissident organizations to a pro-North Korean overseas representative of the Pan-National Alliance for the Unification of the Fatherland. Chin-kwan is a prominent labor rights activist in KOHRNET, an alliance of Korean human rights organizations.
The Role of the International Community
The twenty-seven members of the OECD decided in October to admit Korea but required that Korea=s labor rights practices be monitored on a regular basis. The decision had been delayed in part because of concerns over labor legislation and violations of worker rights.
Members of the European Union were particularly active in holding Korea to international standards. When a delegation of parliamentarians from Korea visited Brussels in October, Sir Leon Brittan, European Commission vice-president for external relations, said the E.U. favored Korea=s membership in OECD but also noted that reforms in the labor laws would remain on the OECD=s agenda even after Korea was admitted.
Given its Aspecial relationship@ with South Korea and its preoccupation with trade, security and North/South tensions, the U.S. was notably reluctant to press Korea publicly on human rights concerns, though the issue was raised privately by State Department officials. While supporting Korea=s OECD membership, the U.S. also urged Korea to reform its labor laws, including during Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor=s visit to Seoul in June.
Human Rights Developments
Malaysia=s harassment of nongovernmental organizations and its violations of freedom of expression were issues of concern during the year, and the arrest and trial of human rights activist Irene Fernandez, director of a women=s and migrants= rights organization in Kuala Lumpur called Tenaganita, exemplified both.
On March 18, Fernandez, aged fifty, was arrested at her home and charged with Afalse reporting@ under Section 8A(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 in connection with a brief report Tenaganita had issued in July 1995 on the treatment of migrant workers in Malaysia=s immigration detention centers. She was released on bail and was at liberty throughout the court proceedings.
The Tenaganita report, quoted widely in the national and international press, contained allegations of torture, mistreatment and deaths of migrant workers in the period 1994 to 1995 and focused in particular on a major detention camp outside Kuala Lumpur in the town of Semenyih. The report was denounced by the Home Ministry as defamatory, and when Fernandez=s trial opened on June 10 in a Kuala Lumpur magistrate=s court, the prosecution cited sixteen statements it said were false. Unlike the Malaysian penal code, the Printing Presses and Publications Act places the burden of proof on the accused in defamation cases and assumes malice unless the accused can show that he or she took steps to verify the news. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
The trial, still going on at the end of the year and expected to continue through early 1997, became a cause célèbre among Asian NGOs and international advocacy groups working on behalf of migrants and women. NGOs were concerned that the charges diverted attention from the real problems of custodial abuse of immigrants and from state responsibility to investigate and prosecute those abuses. If there were errors in the report as the government alleged, the government could have provided a detailed refutation and given Tenaganita a chance to respond publicly or privately. Human rights activists were concerned that if NGOs were to be tried on criminal charges for errors in their publications and their daily activities disrupted as a result, freedom of expression and association both would be severely jeopardized.
The trial also led to questioning of Tenaganita=s legal registration under the Companies Act, rather than the Societies Act. The latter has more onerous registration procedures and allows wider liability of personnel; as a result, many NGOs had elected to register under the former, but the government=s investigation of Tenaganita suggested that more intense state scrutiny of NGO registration would be forthcoming.
The Afalse reporting@ section of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, together with the Sedition Act, were used against opposition parliamentarian Lim Guan Eng from Malacca in a trial that opened in January and that many observers saw as an assault on free speech. In a lecture in January 1995, Lim had charged that a former Malacca chief minister, who also happened to be a powerful member of the ruling UMNO party, had raped a fifteen-year-old girl and that the girl had been detained for three years in a welfare home while the minister went free. The prosecution charged that his accusation constituted sedition because it instilled hatred and Aaroused sentiments against the administration of justice in the country.@ The charge of Afalse
reporting@ was based on a pamphlet Lim had published with the title AVictim Jailed.@
Lim=s trial was adjourned shortly after it opened to await a federal court ruling on a landmark burden of proof case. The ruling, which came on July 26 and was welcomed by civil liberties groups in the country, established that the prosecution must prove its charge beyond a reasonable doubt before the defense is presented. It was not clear when Lim=s trial would resume.
In the government=s efforts to avoid communal conflict, basic civil liberties sometimes suffered. By the end of the year, at least eighteen members of the banned Al-Arqam sect had been arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA), and at least nine had been served with two-year detention orders. The ISA, which the government placed under review during the year, provides for indefinitely renewable two-year detention periods without trial for people considered a danger to state security. All eighteen detainees were accused of trying to revive the sect banned in 1994. The Malaysian government had accused it of Aexclusivist@ and Adeviationist@ teachings; press reports suggested that the ruling UMNO party was concerned about the extent of its business holdings.
The government closed the last transit camps for Vietnamese boat people at the end of June with the forced repatriation by ship of hundreds of asylum-seekers from the Sungai Besi camp outside Kuala Lumpur. A riot broke out in which Vietnamese reluctant to return clashed with Malaysian security forces. Many of the Vietnamese employed violence, mostly throwing stones and molotov cocktails and also, in a few cases, firing homemade bows and arrows. However, the security forces responded with excessive force, firing on the Vietnamese, killing one man and injuring others.
The Right to Monitor
Malaysian human rights groups faced harassment and intimidation as noted above but were legally free to operate. The consequences for NGOs of the Irene Fernandez prosecution and trial were not clear at the end of year.
The Role of the International Community
The Fernandez trial attracted international attention particularly from countries whose nationals work as migrants in Malaysia: Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines in particular. Observers from the first two countries attended sessions of the trial, as did a diplomatic representative from the U.S. embassy. In addition, when the government confiscated Irene Fernandez=s passport in March to prevent her from traveling to Geneva for the U.N. Commission on Human Rights meeting, the U.S. made appeals on her behalf. Members of the U.S. Congress also protested her arrest and trial; in March, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mahathir urging that all charges against her be dropped.
Malaysia appeared to take the lead within ASEAN on granting membership to Burma despite the latter=s appalling human rights record.
Human Rights Developments
In the most significant human rights development in Pakistan during the year, the decade-old political and security crisis crippling Karachi entered a new phase as the government adopted a markedly more hardline stance towards the Immigrants National Movement (Mohajir Qaumi Movement, MQM), a political party representing Urdu speakers, about 60 percent of the population of Karachi. Both sides were responsible for severe human rights abuses: the government responded to the MQM=s consistent use of violence and intimidation by labeling the party Aterrorist@ and indiscriminately targeting its constituency.
Following mid-1995 when violence in Karachi reached record levels and security personnel were systematically attacked, the government initiated its latest and most brutal offensive against the MQM, which continued through 1996. Law enforcement agencies routinely used illegal and excessive force against suspected MQM militants with complete impunity. Although the offensive restored a measure of calm to Karachi city after years of spiraling violenceCthe death toll for the first half of the year was 300 people compared to more than 2,000 killings during 1995Cthe country=s internal security apparatus was severely discredited in the process.
As part of a tightly coordinated effort with a streamlined chain of command headed by Home Minister Naseerullah Babar, the police, backed by paramilitary Rangers with sweeping powers of search and arrest, conducted systematic pre-dawn cordon-and-search operations in pro-MQM localities, indiscriminately rounding up all able-bodied males and parading them before informants for purposes of identification. Between July 1995 and March 1996 an estimated 75,000 Urdu speakers were reportedly rounded up in this way; towards the end of the year, hundreds remained in jail awaiting trial.
Several key MQM militants were the victims of extrajudicial executions, either during targeted police raids; or in custody, allegedly after being tortured or severely beaten; or in staged Aencounters,@ often during transit between prisons. Police rationalized the illegal killings on the grounds that witnesses= reluctance to testify against militants in open court made it nearly impossible to secure convictions. Notorious MQM operative Naeem Sharri, accused of scores of murders, was among those summarily executed on March 11, in Karachi, without any court proceeding. His case sparked intense controversy, as strong evidence emerged to refute the police claim that Sharri had been killed in self-defense.
Between mid-1995 and mid-1996 at least 150 alleged militants were killed and 800 suspects arrested. The deputy inspector general of police (DIG) for Karachi, Shoaib Suddle, in March 1996 acknowledged the security forces= abusive conduct, although he rejected accusations that they routinely overstepped their authority. He told The Guardian of London, A[T]here have been a couple of cases where we also feel excessive fire power was used.@ To Human Rights Watch=s knowledge no security personnel were prosecuted for illegal actions. Police authorities made no effort to ensure that proper post-mortems were conducted on the bodies of those killed in custody or in Aencounters.@
A surge in incidents of sectarian violence took place during the year, mostly tit-for-tat attacks by extremist Sunni and Shi=a groups in the Punjab and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), that caused scores of casualties. Although some incidents were extremely serious, such as heavy fighting in mid-September in the NWFP town of Parachinar that left over a hundred civilians dead, the government failed to make a consistent or concerted effort to bring the perpetrators of religiously motivated violence to justice.
Government agents were involved in intimidation of the press during the year. Shaikh Aziz, a senior journalist working at the daily Dawn and Aftab Syed, the news editor of The News, were picked up and interrogated by intelligence agents in Karachi in June and September respectively. On July 5, district police warned journalists in Dadu, Sindh province, against reporting on alleged government harassment of a local opposition leader of national stature. Karachi police, on September 20, severely beat up several reporters and photographers and smashed their cameras. The journalists were covering the death of Murtaza BhuttoCbrother of the prime minister and head of a breakaway faction of the ruling Pakistan People=s PartyCwhich had occurred during an Aencounter@ with the police earlier that night. On October 20, in the town of Khuzdar in Balochistan province, the general secretary of the Khuzdar journalists= union, Hyder Baloch, was illegally confined for thirty-six hours by the local supervisor of the irrigation department for critical reporting. Gas, electricity and the water supply to Baloch=s house were cut off, and his family members were harassed.
The press was given a boost, however, when the Lahore High Court dismissed a defamation action brought by Prime Minister Bhutto against a leading daily newspaper, The News, for reporting that Bhutto had requested the extradition of MQM chief Altaf Husain during a meeting with the U.K. Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd. The court held that those holding public office must be open to criticism by a free press, which played an important role in exposing political corruption.
The status of women in Pakistan remained tenuous, with legal setbacks offsetting positive developments. On March 12, in a long- overdue step, President Leghari ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAR). However, like some other signatories to CEDAR, Pakistan=s ratification included a debilitating reservation to the effect that treaty provisions in conflict with the national constitution would not be implemented. On June 10, the federal cabinet approved a draft bill to abolish the death penalty for women in all cases except for haded (mandatory Islamic punishment) and caisse (retribution) crimes. While these steps were welcome, human rights would have been better served by abolishing the death penalty for everyone without exception and regardless of offense.
In a judgment that represented a stunning setback for women=s rights in Pakistan, the Lahore High Court ruled on September 24 that an adult Muslim woman, even a widow or divorcée, cannot enter into marriage without the consent of her (male) guardian. Without consent she, as well as her chosen spouse, risks imprisonment on charges of fornication, which carries a maximum punishment of death by stoning if the convict is muhsan (a sane, adult Muslim who has previously had lawful sexual intercourse) or one hundred lashes if the convict is not muhsan. The judgment had immediate implications for hundreds of women currently under arrest in connection with their marriages, usually on account of charges filed by their families for marrying without their consent. The court=s decision denied women the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the law and contradicted the principle of equality of the sexes enshrined in CEDAR.
At the end of the year, women=s groups were hoping that a similar caseCthat of Saima WaheedCpending before a full bench of the same court would overturn the precedent, which had been decided by a single judge. Waheed, aged twenty-two, was fighting a case brought by her father to have her marriage judicially annulled because he did not consent to it. Meanwhile her husband and his family suffered reprisals: Waheed=s husband was imprisoned in May 1996, for allegedly having had the marriage contract registered on a false basis, and was denied bail although charged with a bailable offense. After some of her husband=s relatives were beaten up by thugs, the family went into hiding. Religious zealots attempted to pressure the presiding court by issuing threats of violence, attempting to bring arms into the courtroom, and launching a smear campaign against Waheed and her counsel. Because of such harassment, there was reason to believe that the lives of Waheed, her husband, her husband=s family, and her counsel were in danger.
The institution of karo kari (black deed) or instant killings of suspected adulterers remained unchecked in rural parts of Balochistan, Punjab, and especially Sindh province. There were allegedly two such killings a day in the borderlands between Sindh and Balochistan, and in Sindh proper 246 karo kari murders were reported over a fifteen-month period ending in March 1996; in 148 of the cases, the victims were women. According to tribal custom, any man who suspects a female relative of sexual relations with a man to whom she is not married is obligated to kill both individuals immediately to preserve his family=s honor. The police as a rule refrained from intervening or seeking to prosecute the perpetrators. In any event, convicted karo kari murderers rarely serve more than two years in prison.
Religious minorities in Pakistan continued to face discriminatory laws, such as those against blasphemy, which are used disproportionately against non-Muslim minorities and against the Ahmadi minority. The government, however, did address an issue which has served to marginalize minority constituencies in the political process. In February, the Bhutto government proposed, as part of an electoral reform package, the abolition of the separate electorate laws enacted by former President Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, under which non-Muslims could vote only for candidates of their own communities standing for reserved parliamentary seats. The proposed law would give non-Muslims the right to cast votes for the general parliamentary seats as well as the reserved seats. Pakistan=s main opposition party and the religious right objected to the proposed reforms, which have yet to be enacted into law.
In a far-reaching decision handed down on March 20, the Supreme Court of Pakistan put an end to the government=s practice of appointing temporary or acting judges against permanent vacancies in the superior judiciary and delaying their confirmations for political purposes. The judgment also prohibited the government from transferring judges at will. The ruling was generally hailed as furthering judicial autonomy by giving judges security of tenure.
In view of mounting international criticism and threats of trade sanctions for its labor practices, Pakistan stepped up implementation of its child labor laws relative to previous years. Enforcement mechanisms were potentially strengthened through reforms that made the Ministry of Labor directly responsible for overseeing enforcement in conjunction with district-level vigilance committees. As one initial step, the Labor Ministry and the International Labor Organization launched a study to estimate the number of children in the workforce. In June the ministry reported that between January 1995 and March 1996 provincial labor departments conducted 7,003 raids on businesses suspected of employing child labor. Authorities prosecuted more than 2,500 employers, of which 395 were convicted and fined. Reflecting international demands, the labor minister asked the commerce ministry to institute a special marking scheme for carpets and footballs to certify that no child labor had been used in production. Human Rights Watch was particularly concerned about the use of bonded labor, including bonded child labor. It remained to be seen whether these efforts would have any significant effect on improving labor practices. There was no evidence of government resolve to tackle the problem of bonded labor in the agricultural sector.
November began on a dramatic note with a change in Pakistan=s political leadership. On November 5 President Farooq Leghari dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto=s government, in a move he said was mandated by unchecked corruption, political violence and financial mismanagement. He appointed a Acaretaker@ government to serve for at least three months until constitutionally mandated elections could be held. The president cited systematic human rights violations, specifically the extrajudicial killings in Karachi (see above), as one of the reasons for dismissing the former government.
The Right to Monitor
Human rights lawyers in Pakistan faced threats of violence more from religious activists than from the government. Asma Jehangir, attorney for Saima Waheed in the case mentioned above, received death threats from those who backed her client=s father=s claim that a woman cannot marry without the consent of her guardian. A case involving a boy who reverted to Christianity after converting to Islam had to be adjourned because of the danger to the boy=s attorney from religious extremists, who said the boy=s reversion constituted apostasy.
In general, human rights organizations were free to criticize the government. On February 26 more than 2,000 lawyers staged a two-hour strike in Karachi to protest the conduct of law enforcement personnel in the anti-MQM offensive. A number of lawyers= professional associations deplored the blatant violations of law that characterized the government crackdown.
A bill allowing for greater government control of nongovernmental and Asocial welfare agencies@ (NGOs) was pending before parliament at the end of the year. Under the bill all NGOs would be required to get their mandates or Aconstitutions@ approved by a government Registration Authority. The authority would have the power to Adissolve@ any NGO that it found to be Aacting in contravention of its constitution.@ NGOs were concerned that the bill would enable the government to restrict their freedom of association and limit the scope of their operations.
The Role of the International Community
Pakistan, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, signed a resolution to eliminate child labor adopted by a ministerial conference of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held in Rawalpindi in August. The resolution called for an end to all forms of child labor by the year 2010 and of child labor in hazardous occupations by the turn of the century. It also espoused a commitment to move towards universal access to primary education by the year 2000. South Asian countries, including Pakistan, have come under international criticism and faced threats of trade sanctions over the use of child and bonded labor in industries and agriculture. In July, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed an amendment to the appropriations bill to fund inspections of plants suspected of employing child labor in India and Pakistan. Under the European Commission=s legislation guiding the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the European Trade Union Committee brought a complaint against the government of Pakistan for the continued use of bonded labor in the country. The GSP program is designed to give developing countries preferential trade tariffs. By November the European Commission had still not decided whether to accept the complaint and launch an investigation.
U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Nigel Rodley visited Pakistan in February and March. His report, published in October, stated that "torture, including rape and similar cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment [were] rife in Pakistan."
In January, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, Abdelfattah Amor, criticized legal restrictions on freedom of thought and worship in Pakistan. He decried the imposition of the death sentence for blasphemy as Adisproportionate and even unacceptable.@ Amor also criticized Pakistan=s haded ordinances, which prescribe harsh punishments based on Islamic law for crimes such as adultery and alcohol consumption, and he requested that they not be applied against non-Muslims. He urged the removal of religious identifications from Pakistan
The U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs echoed Amor=s comments at a U.S. Senate hearing on Pakistan=s blasphemy laws in March. Also in March, the U.S. Trade Representative announced that Pakistan=s preferential trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program would be suspended in three categories of goods (surgical instruments, sporting goods, and certain carpets) due to the insufficient steps taken by Pakistan to address the problem of child and bonded child labor.
In July, the Europe Council of Foreign Ministers authorized the European Commission to negotiate a new cooperation agreement with Pakistan, which would encompass significant provisions for the promotion of human development. Non-preferential and without a financial protocol, the proposed agreement would also include a clause on human rights, in principle allowing suspension of cooperation in cases of serious infringement.