Report paints grim picture of Asian rights abuses

HONG KONG, Dec 22, 2006 (AFP) – Malfunctioning democracies and legal systems are the main causes of violations of human rights and the rule of law in many countries around Asia, a new rights report says.

The study said respect for human rights had worsened in most countries in the region and that people had become increasingly discontent over the authoritarianism of democratically elected governments and military regimes.

They are distressed as extra-judicial killings, disappearances and torture continue unabated.

They are also disappointed over the ineffectiveness of parliaments, judiciaries, police forces and prosecution systems to address these deficiencies, said the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in its study on 11 Asian nations, released Thursday.

The report covers Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

It blamed the lack of respect for human rights on the absence of fair criminal justice systems in these countries.

“There is a common failure to develop a criminal justice system before which everyone is equal, everyone enjoys the equal protection of the law and every violatio