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Parliamentarians At Risk: Reprisals against opposition MPs in Southeast Asia in 2022

March 4th, 2023  •  Author:   ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights  •  2 minute read
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The year 2022 saw a worsening trend for parliamentarians at risk in the region, particularly in Myanmar. One lawmaker was tortured to death in detention and a former lawmaker was executed together with three political prisoners in Myanmar. The number of parliamentarians detained across Southeast Asia remains high at 85, with 84 in Myanmar and former senator Leila de Lima in the Philippines.

Increased reports of widespread crimes against humanity, war crimes and the use of torture and ill-treatment against political prisoners in Myanmar posed an imminent threat to the mental and physical integrity of all detained lawmakers. This dire state of crisis warrants urgent and effective interventions from the international community.

Human rights restrictions and violations against parliamentarians, by using emergency laws and regulations declared during the COVID-19 pandemic, continued despite the pandemic being gradually brought under control in most countries.

Judicial harassment continued as the main form of threat confronted by parliamentarians and former parliamentarians in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and intensified in Cambodia with a series of mass trials of opposition leaders and supporters ahead of the commune elections in 2022 and the general elections in 2023.

Parliamentarians across the region were also increasingly subjected to intimidation and harassment in the form of online disinformation, hate speech and attacks, particularly in the Philippines and Malaysia before and during national elections. Online misogynist attacks were prevalent in the Philippines and they intensified in the elections to undermine the credibility of women lawmakers and candidates, especially those who were known to be vocal in holding the powersthat-be accountable.

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