The regional overview summarizes the human rights situation and developments in the region throughout 2019.
It was a year of repression, but also of resistance. The Chinese government clamped down with renewed force on the freedoms promised to the people of Hong Kong under the terms of the handover of the territory in 1997. In the streets, those freedoms were doughtily defended against the steepest odds. Month after month, in the face of the police’s abusive methods – including countless volleys of tear gas, arbitrary arrests, physical assaults, abuse in detention – millions showed their resolve, demanding accountability and insisting on their human rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.
The bright flames of peaceful protests were also sparked across India, where millions came out on to the streets against a new law that discriminates against Muslims when deciding who can or cannot become an Indian citizen. Asia’s two largest and most powerful states are trying to impose their own bleak, domineering vision on the continent, perceiving minorities as a threat to “national security”. We saw this in the nominally autonomous Chinese province of Xinjiang, where the crackdown on Turkic Muslims intensified as the true horrors of the “re-education camps” became apparent. We also saw this in Kashmir, hitherto India’s only Muslim-majority state, which saw its special autonomous status revoked and in its place a siege imposed that continues to this day.
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