2013 Commemoration of the Day to End Impunity in Southeast Asia

EndImpunityh-2013Bangkok, 18 November – The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) today launches its week-long commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) to draw attention to the continuing problem of impunity and violence against media and human rights defenders in Southeast Asia.

Themed Impunity in Southeast Asia: The Role of the State, the ongoing regional campaign, which is now in its third year, will highlight the failure of the state in fulfilling its obligations to bring the culprits to justice, and at the same time, perpetuating the culture of impunity in the region.

Highlights
This year, SEAPA highlights the situation in Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in its commemoration of the IDEI, to emphasize the different responsibilities of states in ending the culture of impunity.

SEAPA will release updates on key cases highlighted in its ongoing campaign, an overview of regional trends, and articles of the dynamics of impunity in specific countries.

The highlight of the campaign will be a brief discussion of the situation of impunity in the region with UN Special Rapporteur on right to freedom of opinion and expression Mr Frank La Rue, on 23 November at 11:30 a.m. (details to follow)

The campaign can be tracked through SEAPA’s website, and social media accounts in Facebook (facebook.com/SoutheastAsianPressAlliance) and Twitter (@seapabkk).

Background
The global commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) is marked on 23 November to raise public awareness about the threat of impunity and how it has contributed to the region’s generally poor compliance of international standards on freedom of expression and press freedom.

The Ampatuan Massacre on 23 November 2009 in the Philippines has led free expression advocates worldwide to mark this day on the calendar to draw attention to the lack of justice to violence committed against journalists and freedom of expression advocates. The massacre is believed to be the worst single act of violence committed against media workers, which included 32 of the 58 killed in the election-related incident.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that more than 660 journalists have been murdered since 1992 and in 90 percent of the cases, no perpetrator has been brought to justice.

Acts of impunity (for violence and state violations of free expression) against media workers and human rights defenders in Southeast Asia have neither been systematically and strategically addressed among states in Southeast Asia, despite the numbers of cases demonstrating impunity in the region.

Among the media community in the region, the understanding and support for the issue of impunity is uneven, despite the real threat faced by the sector and its impact on press freedom.