Newsletter 2017/4
Newsletter 2017/4

Current Issue

Newsletter 2017/4

Asia and International Law 

Developments and news pertaining to Asia in various areas of IL 

Dispute Settlement ­– Kulbhushan Jadhav death row: Public interest litigation filed in Delhi High Court seeking International Court of Justice's intervention to secure release (International Business Times, 18 April 2017)

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking the intervention of the International Court of Justice to secure immediate release of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court. Jadhav was sentenced to death last week after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan. The neighbouring country has claimed that Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan province by security forces on March 3, 2016, after he entered the territory from Iran. The PIL filed by a man named Rahul Sharma has sought a response from the Narendra Modi government on the possibility of exploring legal remedies via the International Court of Justice to secure Jadhav's release.

Human RightsVietnam's Quiet Human Rights Crisis (The Diplomat, 17 April 2017)

According to most metrics commonly used to measure level of human rights abuses, Vietnam boasts one of the world’s most authoritarian police states. But activists say that far too little attention is paid to Vietnam even as other Southeast Asian countries are routinely condemned by the international community. “It’s quite clear that Vietnam is getting much more of a free pass on human rights than their poor record deserves, partly because of the government’s resilience and willingness to push back on international criticism,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.

Thai-owned mine in Myanmar investigated for human rights violations (CAN, 5 April 2017)

The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRC) has opened an official enquiry into the Heinda tin mine in Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region for alleged human rights violations. A delegation led by NHRC commissioner Tuenjai Deetes visited the area earlier this year to gather information on the mine, which is privately run by Thai-owned Myanmar Pongpipat Company. According to villagers, the mine has impacted the Myaung Pyo creek, the village’s main water source. They said that more than 10 years ago, the creek ran clean and clear water and supported the fertile farmland along its way. But it has now dried up. The water has become brown and stilled while its banks have been desiccated. 

Australia’s Aboriginal children ‘essentially being punished for being poor’ – UN rights expert (UN News, 4 April 2017)

Stressing that the rates of incarceration for Australia’s indigenous peoples have reached astounding, “tsunami” proportions, a United Nations human rights expert called on the authorities to respect the peoples’ right to self-determination, to full and effective participation in society, and to step up the fight against racism. “High rates of incarceration were described to me as a tsunami affecting indigenous peoples […] while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up only three per cent of the total population, they constitute 27 per cent of the prison population, and much more in some prisons,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, at the end of her official visit to the nation. The situation of youths and children from these communities is particularly concerning and the number of children being removed from their homes is increasing. For instance, at a youth detention centre in Townsville, Queensland province, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children constituted 95 per cent of the children detained. “These children are essentially being punished for being poor and in most cases, prison will only aggravate the cycle of violence, poverty and crime,” noted Ms. Tauli-Corpuz. “I found meeting young children, some only 12 years old, in detention the most disturbing element of my visit.”

International Economic LawKorea brings China's THAAD retaliation to WTO (Korea Times, 2 April 2017)

Korea has filed a formal complaint with a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel against Beijing for its economic retaliation against Seoul's decision to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system here. The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS), affiliated with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, said that it raised issues with China's trade barriers against Korean companies during a WTO meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, from March 28 to 30. This was the first time for the government to officially take issue with China's retaliatory actions against Lotte group and other Korean companies operating in the world's No. 2 economy. The agency asked the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) committee to deal with three trade barriers imposed by Beijing as specific trade concerns. WTO member countries can request the TBT committee to review trade policies taken by trading partners as to whether they impede imports of certain goods. KATS filed a complaint against China's policies restricting the sales of baby formula and medical equipment by foreign businesses.

ASEAN ministers promise to boost intra-regional trade, integration (Business World, 8 April 2017)

Top government executives from the 10 member-states met in Cebu for the 3rd ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Joint Meeting and Related Meetings, completing the series of discussions. The leaders fortified their commitment to promote economic growth, financial integration, and strengthen financial stability “to further advance our region’s resilience,” as it acknowledged that the trend of protectionism, rising geopolitical concerns, and rate hikes in the United States could “increase volatilities” in their respective economies. “We recognized that domestic demand will remain a key driver of our regional growth while structural reforms, public spending, and fiscal stimulus will support investments in ASEAN,” read the joint public statement.

Law of the SeaASEAN hopes up on code of conduct (Inquirer, 19 April 2017)

China’s positive view of a code of conduct for claimants in the South China Sea will work toward successful negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on maintaining order in the disputed waterway, Acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said. Speaking at the Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum, Manalo said a framework for the code of conduct could be finished by June. According to Manalo, there have been two meetings between China and the ASEAN at the expert level and these have achieved “concrete and positive results.”

Law on DevelopmentHealth care goals in Indonesia can be reached only if challenges addressed – UN expert (UN News, 4 April 2017)

Indonesia is on track to develop a sustainable and equitable healthcare system, but problems related to access and quality of services persist, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras, said. “Despite commendable efforts, availability, access to and quality of health services remains a challenge in a country where population is spread throughout thousands of islands and remote areas,” he said. Mr. Puras urged the Indonesian authorities to address such challenges “with the highest level of political commitment so that health system guarantees all core elements of the right to health.”

AsianSIL Announcements and Events

Call for Papers – 6th AsianSIL Biennial Conference
Seoul, Korea
25-26 August 2017

The 6th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law will be in Seoul, Friday 25 to Saturday 26 August 2017. The conference will be hosted by the Korean Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. The theme of the conference is “Asia and International Law in Times of Uncertainty”. The biennial conference will be preceded by a half-day workshop for junior scholars on Thursday, 24 August. Click here for more details.

Call for Papers - 15th Brazilian Congress of International Law: International Law and Its Transdisciplinarity
Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil
30 August – 2 September 2017
Deadline for submission of papers: May 15, 2017

The Brazilian Academy of International Law invites Professors, Researchers, Students and Professionals from the law and international relations fields to participate at the 15th Brazilian Congress of International Law and submit papers to be published at the Conference Proceedings as well as presented at the event. The Congress will take place in the city of Florianópolis, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, from August 30 to September 02 2017, under the auspices of the Federal University of Santa Catarina and the University of São Paulo.

English version of the Public Notice:

Spanish version of the Public Notice: 

Portuguese version of the Public Notice:

4th International Disaster Law Course
Sanremo, Italy
12 to 16 June 2017

The 4th Edition of the International Disaster Law Course is now open for application. The Course is organized jointly by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law of Sanremo, the International Disaster Law Project and in cooperation with the Italian Red Cross and the EU Jean Monnet Module on “International and European Disaster Law” Roma Tre University. The course on International Disaster Law (IDL) offers participants an opportunity to analyse one of today’s most important legal challenges: the prevention and management of natural and man-made disasters. The course is tailored towards graduate and post-graduate students with an interest in IDL; practitioners (e.g. staff of civil protection departments; staff of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies; NGOs) involved in disaster management; and professionals with an academic background in the areas of law, security studies, international relations, humanitarian assistance or other related fields, eager to expand their knowledge on IDL. More information and the application form are available here.

Call for Submissions – Asian Journal of International Law

The Society’s Journal is soliciting submissions for future issues. Articles should be between 8,000 and 12,000 words (excluding footnotes) and be submitted exclusively to the AsianJIL, with publication subject to double-blind peer-review and editorial discretion. For details on style and the submission process, as well as information on how to subscribe, visit For enquiries, please email Many articles are available FREE for download at We encourage readers to make full use of this opportunity to access the latest international law scholarship. Please also visit our Facebook page and recommend AsianJIL to your friends and colleagues.

NUS Centre for International Law (CIL) ASEAN Documents Database

The ASEAN Documents Database is a free, user-friendly, internet resource of selected ASEAN and International Law Documents. About than 600 selected ASEAN documents and 260 International Law documents are now included in the database. Please click here to access the database.