Asia

Indonesia: Left group holds first open congress

The left-wing People's Democratic Party (PRD) held its eighth congress in Jakarta from March 24-26. This was the first time its congress was held openly.

The open congress marks an important new stage of development for the party, which has a history of underground organising dating back to the era of the Suharto dictatorship that was overthrown in 1998.

Indonesia: New group fights for women’s rights

A new group has been established to campaign for women’s rights in Indonesia. In December, more than 100 women met in Jakarta to launch Indonesian Women’s Action – Kartini (API-K), which has begun campaigning for women’s rights in the workplace, home and society.

Participants came from 32 cities across Indonesia. They included women who are involved in existing women’s networks, students, workers and urban poor. They spent three days discussing issues facing women in economics, politics and culture.

Malaysia: New law reintroduces indefinite detention without trial

In the early hours of the morning on April 7, the Malaysian parliament reintroduced powers of indefinite detention without trial in the form of a new Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Such powers, previously under the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance — which were repealed in 2012 under popular pressure — have a notorious history of being used by British colonial and, after independence, Malaysian authorities to detain political dissidents.

Malaysia: Call for release of anti-GST protesters

Update: All the Malaysian anti-GST protesters who were detained on Monday have now been released on RM3,000 bail. They are to appear in court again on May 14. Thanks for all the protest letters!

Police used excessive force in the recent crackdown on protesters against the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is scheduled to be implemented on April 1.

West Papua: Report details genocide by Australian-backed occupiers

A recent report details genocide against the indigenous people of West Papua carried out by the Indonesian government, which has occupied the territory since the 1960s.

The report, “A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua”, was written by Dr Jim Elmslie and Dr Camellia Webb-Gannon, both visiting scholars at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University. It was published in the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity.

Australia aids corruption in Papua New Guinea

The following statement was released by Aid/Watch, an independent monitor of international aid and trade, on March 5.

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Australia spends $577 million a year on aid for Papua New Guinea (PNG). Two key focus areas are anti-corruption related — law and justice, and governance.

PNG has concurrently undertaken a number of national processes to combat corruption without Australian support.

Sri Lanka: New Tamil protests against repression

Tamil women whose relatives are missing completed a three-day hunger strike at Nalloor, a town in the north of Sri Lanka, on March 8.

The women, led by Northern Provincial Council member Ananthy Sasitharan, were demanding an international investigation into the disappearance of their relatives, who were arrested or abducted by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

The women were joined by young people who had finished a four-day march from Mullivaikkaal, site of the genocidal massacre of Tamils by the army in the final stages of the war, which ended in May 2009.

Malaysia: 10,000 protest against jailing of opposition leader

About 10,000 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on March 7 against the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan (Arul) told Green Left Weekly. Anwar was jailed for a second time on trumped up “sodomy” charges.

The protest was called by a new coalition called KitaLawan (“We Fightback”). Authorities responded by arresting Nik Nazmi, the youth leader of the opposition Justice Party (PKR), and Saifullah Zulkifli, a PKR organiser.

Malaysia: Socialist released on court orders after 'sedition' arrest

Fifteen police descended on the home of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) general secretary S Arutchelvan (Arul) in Kajang, a suburban satellite of the capital city Kuala Lumpur, on February 19.

They detained him under the Sedition Act for a statement he issued on behalf of the PSM after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction on a sodomy charge.

Malaysia: Socialist leader arrested for 'sedition'

Police descended on the house of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary general S Arutchelvan (Arul) in Kajang on February 19, arresting him under the Sedition Act.

We believe Arul has been arrested for his press statement on behalf of the PSM on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy 2 guilty verdict. In the statement, Arul criticised the Federal Court judgement, saying the courts are not independent and are politically driven.

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