Human rights principles universal, not open for negotiation — Amnesty International

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Amnesty International logo

AUGUST 18 — Amnesty International Malaysia views with concern remarks made by Prime Minister Najib Razak that human rights in Malaysia should not be defined according to universal standards, but instead, according to the Islamic context and shariah principles.

“We seek to remind Prime Minister Najib that Malaysia has already subscribed to the spirit, substance and norms contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) when Malaysia became a member of the United Nations in 1957. The principles of the UDHR are universally accepted principles of customary and international human rights law. By virtue of their universality, these principles take precedence over faiths so as to ascribe a sense of equality among all persons.

“The remarks seem to suggest that the standard and principles of human rights remain open for negotiation. They are not,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said.

Article 2 of the UDHR expressly provides for the universality of rights and freedoms without regard for religion, while Article 18 provides that every individual has the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Read more

Quit UN if not keen to defend human rights for all, watchdog tells Putrajaya

Source: The Malay Mail Online

HRWlogoPETALING JAYA, Aug 18 — Human Rights Watch (HRW) challenged Malaysia today to withdraw from the United Nations (UN) if the government was not serious about upholding human rights for all.

HRW’s Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson told a news conference here that he was shocked by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise earlier today to uphold human rights only within the Islamic context.

“The logical argument from that would be Malaysia should resign from the UN. Is Malaysia prepared to do that?” he asked. Read more

Human right to assemble peacefully, watchdog tells IGP ahead of Bersih 4

Source: The Malay Mail Online

HRWlogoPETALING JAYA, Aug 18 — International watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) reminded Malaysia’s top policeman today that the freedom to attend the upcoming Bersih 4 rally was an intrinsic human right so long as it was held peacefully.

The organisation’s Asia Division’s deputy director Phil Robertson also said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar should also desist from painting the street rally to take place in the national capital at month end as disruptive to businesses there.

“People have the rights to peacefully assemble. I assume Bersih 4 will be a peaceful assembly,” Robertson told a news conference at the Shah Village Hotel here after awarding HRW’s courage prize to controversial political cartoonist Zunar. Read more