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FOCUS December 2023 Volume 114

Human Rights in 2023

Jefferson R. Plantilla

HURIGHTS OSAKA regularly receives updates on human rights situation in several countries and a subregion in Asia. The updates are received via e-mail from Dalit Media Watch on the situation of Dalits in India, Pakistan Press Foundation on the state of the Pakistani media and journalists, ODHIKAR on the situation in Bangladesh, MSM-Asia on news about the LGBTI community in Asia, and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights on the situation of human rights defenders in West Asia (including Iran).

These institutions and programs compile information from members in different Asian countries or in a country (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and also from mainstream media to raise awareness on what have been happening to people and their human rights.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights sent information on some cases of journalists in Lebanon who were subjected to abuses and violations during 2023:[1]

  • The crew of "Lebanon and the World" website, including its editor-in-chief journalist Sarah Hammoud and photographer André Garabed, were beaten by Lebanese Army members while covering a protest (26/5);
  • The Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau detained activist Tarek Abu Saleh after questioning him over a social media post criticizing MP Faisal Karameh (24/1);
  • Journalist Mohamad Awad was interrogated over a post related to violence against women (10/1);
  • The Criminal Investigations Division summoned Mohammad Nimr, editor-in-chief of GrandLB website (Lubnan Al-Kabir), following a complaint filed by the Presidency of the Republic regarding news posted on the website. However, he refused to present himself at the Division (11/3);
  • Beirut Today correspondent Hanin Haidar was detained by security members of Bint Jbeil Municipality while carrying out her journalistic duties (25/4);
  • The Central Criminal Investigations Division summoned journalist Nidal Al-Sabaa on Tuesday, 27 September 2022, following a "libel and slander" complaint submitted by Nader Al-Hariri. Al-Sabaa was questioned at the Palace of Justice in Beirut on Monday, 3 October 2022, over two tweets. The first mentioned "a secret visit by Al-Hariri and his mother, former MP Bahia Al-Hariri, to the State of Qatar; and the second referred to "ships and communications 'chemistry' between Al-Hariri and MP Gebran Bassil."

Similarly, ODHIKAR's 2023 annual report includes cases such as the following:[2]

  • According to data collected by Odhikar in 2023, a total of 52 people were allegedly disappeared after being picked up by members of law enforcement agencies. During this period, 25 people were disappeared by the Detective Branch [DB] of the Police, nine by the police, six by the Rapid Action Battalion [RAB] and five by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police, and seven by other law enforcement agencies. Among the 52 disappeared persons, 51 have surfaced alive and the whereabouts of one person remains unknown;
  • In 2023, 24 people are alleged to have been victims of extrajudicial killings. Among them, one was a Rohingya refugee. Among the 24 persons killed extrajudicially, four were killed in "crossfire/encounters/gunfights", eight persons were tortured to death, 11 were shot to death, and one was beaten to death during this period. It is also alleged that among the deceased, three were killed by the RAB, 16 by the police, two by the DB Police, and three by the BGB [Border Guard Bangladesh];
  • In 2023, a total of 128 persons reportedly died in prisons. Among them, 121 persons died due to "illness", two allegedly committed "suicide" and the cause of death of five inmates were not mentioned.

These updates provide information on specific cases with names of people (victims and violators/abusers), places and the circumstances involved. They also present a pattern of violation by state authorities, which indicates regular occurrence of the incidents.

Jefferson R. Plantilla is a researcher in HURIGHTS OSAKA.

For further information, please contact HURIGHTS OSAKA.


[1] Journalists in Lebanon... Freedoms Violated by Security Summonses, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, 20 December 2023,

[2] Annual Human Rights Report 2023, ODHIKAR , 4 January 2024, pages 23, 27 and 29.