Parliamentarians in Southeast Asia continue to face the risk of reprisals for merely performing their duties or expressing political views, according to APHR's latest statement.
"Members of parliament in the region are more and more vulnerable to physical and other threats. This is completely unacceptable and a matter of greatest concern. Members of parliament are the people's representatives and the level of security and freedom they have reflects the strength of democracy in the system they serve."
Southeast Asian parliamentarians continue to face the risk of retaliation for simply performing their duties or expressing their political views, according to the annual report of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
"I call on ASEAN and its member countries to provide adequate protection to parliamentarians and put pressure on the governments that are oppressing them," said APHR President Marcy Brown, an Indonesian parliamentarian.
During the year 2022, the members of parliament in the region, especially the parliamentarians of Myanmar, experienced worse events from within the dangerous situation.
The number of parliamentarians detained in Southeast Asia is still high, with 84 in Myanmar and a total of 85, including former Philippine MP Leila de Lima.
"Myanmar parliamentarians who have taken refuge in neighboring countries such as Thailand are still in a high risk situation. Dozens of Myanmar parliamentarians living in towns along the Thai-Myanmar border are constantly being harassed by the police as undocumented migrants. Worse than this, they are always afraid of being deported back to Myanmar” He said.
“If they are returned to Burma, they are likely to be arrested by the military and may be tortured in their custody, and they may face even worse conditions," said APHR Co-Chairman Charles Santiago, a former Malaysian parliamentarian.
Outside Myanmar, especially Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, cases of physical attacks on members of parliament are rare, but the government often conducts political prosecutions against opposition members of parliament, according to the report.