Asia and the Pacific

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There were faint glimmers of hope for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, with modest gains in the rights of women and LGBTI people in several countries, a new law criminalizing torture in Pakistan and the abolition of the death penalty in Papua New Guinea. Yet, the overall picture remained bleak. Civilians bore the brunt of escalating armed conflict in Myanmar. The full effects of Taliban rule on human rights in Afghanistan became increasingly apparent including the particularly devastating rollback of the rights of women and girls. Economic crises fuelled by pandemic-related recession, economic mismanagement and armed conflict within and beyond the region severely affected economic and social rights including in Afghanistan, Laos and Sri Lanka, where food, healthcare and an adequate standard of living became increasingly inaccessible. Intolerance of dissent grew as authorities in numerous countries tightened restrictions on freedom of expression and association and arbitrarily arrested and detained their critics. People took to the streets across the region to protest against injustice, deprivation and discrimination, but in countries including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand they were met with excessive, sometimes lethal, force. Impunity was compounded by the inability of the UN Human Rights Council to effectively address serious concerns in China and the Philippines. Well-established patterns of discrimination, including against minorities, women and girls, LGBTI people and Indigenous peoples also persisted. The resumption of executions in Afghanistan and Myanmar represented a major regression.

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