This document includes a detailed analysis of human rights developments in 25 countries and territories from the Asia-Pacific region. 

Key findings:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The politics of demonization also fell on the island nation of Sri Lanka, where anti-Muslim violence erupted in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings – which claimed the lives of more than 250 people, mainly Christians, in three churches and three hotels.
  • Across Southeast Asia, repressive governments entrenched themselves further, silenced their opponents, muzzled the media, and shrank civic space to the point where, in many countries, even participation in a peaceful protest can trigger arrest.
  • In South Asia, governments appeared anxious to keep up, innovating new ways to perpetuate old patterns of repression – especially through the introduction of draconian laws that punish dissent online.



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