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Thursday, June 17, 1999 Published at 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK


World: South Asia

Amnesty points to abuses in South Asia



In its annual report for 1999, the human rights group Amnesty International says that abuses have taken place in all the countries of South Asia. The governments had no immediate comment. The report says:

In India

  • Thousands of political prisoners were detained without trial.

  • Amnesty says that torture and ill-treatment continued to be widespread, and hundreds of people were reported to have died in custody or were the victims of extra-judicial executions.

  • The report says that conditions in many prisons were cruel, inhuman or degrading.

But other groups apart from the government also came in for criticism.

  • Armed groups in India also commited human rights abuses, which involved torture, hostage taking and the killing of civilians.

  • There was an increase in the number of attacks on religious minorities -- especially Christians and Muslims.

In Pakistan

The Amnesty report says that dozens of political prisoners were detained, some without being charged or tried.

  • It says that torture and ill-treatment continued to be widespread, and there were at least fifty deaths in custody.

  • Floggings continued to be carried out, it said, and there were at least 120 extra-judicial executions that were reported

    .

  • At least 428 people were sentenced to death and at least four were executed.

But outside the penal system Amnesty says there are other problems

  • State officials colluded in abuses by private individuals and religious groups.

  • It says that armed opposition groups were responsible for what it calls the deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians.

In Bangladesh

The report says that scores of political activists were detained without charge or trial.

  • It says that torture, including rape in custody, was widespread.

  • At least 24 people were sentenced to death, it says, although no executions were reported.

  • The report says that the feminist writer Taslima Nasreen was subjected to renewed threats from Islamists after she returned to the country, and that Amnesty have urged Bangladesh to drop the charges against her.

In Sri Lanka

The report says that thousands of people were arrested and that torture and ill-treatment of prisoners was widespread.

  • It says that four people died as a result. It says there were several reports of extra-judicial executions.

  • The report draws attention to numerous occasions when it says that journalists were harassed by the authorities.

    Also criticised in the report were the Tamil Tigers, who it says were responsible for grave human rights abuses, including the killings of two mayors of Jaffna town.

    In Nepal

    The Amnesty report says that approximately 1,800 people were arrested for political reasons.

    • It says that torture by the police was widespread, and that more than 200 people including civilians were killed by the police in disputed circumstances.

    • It says that Maoist rebels were also responsible for human rights abuses, including deliberate killings of civilians.

    In Bhutan

    Amnesty says that around 120 political prisoners were sentenced for terms of up to 15 years in jail. It says that many of those were reportedly ill treated or tortured.

    In the Maldives

    The Amnesty report says that dozens of prisoners of conscience were held, some of whom were ill-treated.



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