NGOs attend Sarawak Festival of Rights

Source: The Borneo Post Online

Sarawak Festival of Rights 2016 - Pic taken from The Borneo Post Online

Sarawak Festival of Rights 2016 – Pic taken from The Borneo Post Online

KUCHING: Members of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in the state took part in the first Sarawak Festival of Rights yesterday.

Themed ‘Human Rights for All’, the celebration was in conjunction with International Human Rights Day, which has been observed on Dec 10 every year since 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“We are here to share our work and one of the subjects we like to talk, among others, is on discrimination in respect of gender, race and religion,” event spokesperson Suraya Bujang said in her welcoming remarks.

“The main aim is to bring about an open and dynamic modern society on the awareness of human rights since most of us, especially in Sarawak, take human rights for granted.

We always think that is our right in the country, but we do not think of exercising the rights and we just follow the flow.”

She called on the public to contribute by finding out what is lacking in their communities and to help the underprivileged.

“You can contribute as little as RM1 or you can even buy a colour pencils especially for those children living in rural areas. Because of poverty, they cannot go to school but you can contribute as it can make so much difference for them. So join a civil society group out there,” she added.

Suhakam: Govt should tackle four key social issues

Source: The Star Online

Suhakam chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Suhakam chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR: Four key issues should be addressed by the Government to break the culture of denial and impunity, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suha­kam).

These issues are the Rohingya refugees, misuse of laws, rights of orang asli and custodial deaths.

In a statement to mark Human Rights Day 2016 yesterday, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the past year had been challenging for the country.

“Malaysia has witnessed some progress in the protection of human rights despite the many unfortunate happenings. Read more

Safeguarding our genetic resources — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

THE law comes down hard on those who pirate DVDs or download music for free. Because, it violates an owner’s “intellectual” rights. He has created a new innovative product, so others should not steal the rewards properly due to him.

Yet, for years, big corporations mainly from countries of the North, have been taking the biological resources essentially from developing countries for free. And making products – such as medicines, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and such like – based substantially on the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities as to the use of these resources. But no benefits accrued to the countries from where the resources were taken or to the traditional knowledge holders. The World Health Organisation reports that three quarters of all modern medicines are directly related to the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.

Read more

Jamil Khir: Govt to set proper limits of religious pluralism

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 11 — The government will set proper limits to control and curb the elements of religious pluralism in the country so that all threats related to it will be kept at bay, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

He said of late, there were numerous organised efforts being carried out to shake and challenge the freedom allowed in Islam.

The efforts, he said were not just being mounted by certain domestic groups with the support of the new media, but also with the support from international liberal groups.

“Efforts to challenge the noble teachings of Islam can be seen clearly through the organising of several programmes which promote the culture of extreme freedom in the name of human rights and anti-discrimination bandied about by certain non-governmental organisations. Read more

Nazri: Cabinet would not have arrested Maria Chin under Sosma

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said if it was the Cabinet that decided to arrest Maria Chin Abdullah, it would not have been made under Sosma.

Bersih 2.0’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah— Picture by Saw Siow Feng, taken from Malay Mail Online.

Bersih 2.0’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah— Picture by Saw Siow Feng, taken from Malay Mail Online.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The federal Cabinet would not have arrested activist Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.

The former de facto law minister who had tabled the Act in Parliament added that the decision was made by the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

But Nazri also said Maria made a mistake when she asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign, claiming that such a call is unconstitutional and therefore Sosma can be invoked.

“I still maintain — if you ask me — that Sosma should not be used against politicians,” the tourism and culture minister said in an interview with The Sunday Star.

“But the decision to arrest Maria Chin was not mine. It wasn’t the Cabinet’s nor the Government’s. Had it been our decision, I think Maria Chin would certainly not have been arrested under Sosma.”

Nazri had in 2012 pledged that nobody could be arrested under Sosma for their political beliefs, as long as they are not doing it through violent or unconstitutional means. Read more

Holding human rights to ransom — Zurairi AR

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY ZURAIRI AR

opinion-clipart-k12118272DECEMBER 11 — As I turned one year older on Human Rights Day yesterday, I contemplated the human rights situation in this country.

Malaysia was cited for “grave violations” of the rights and treatment of the non-religious in the annual Freedom of Thought Report by International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) — a worldwide umbrella of humanist, atheist, secular and similar organisations .

With a score of 4.5 out of the worst score of 5, Malaysia joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei as the worst offenders in the region — especially with the existence of Shariah laws that heavily punish apostasy, even with death, although the penalty cannot be enforced yet.

In the category of “family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals”, IHEU noted that there exists “systemic religious privilege results in significant social discrimination” and “religious control over family law or legislation on moral matters.” Read more

Lawyers: Change state Islamic laws to match proposed unilateral child conversion ban

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

Perlis legislative assembly approved the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment (Amendment) 2016 Bill by a 13-1 majority on 9 December 2016. Image taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — All state Islamic laws that currently allow children to be unilaterally converted to Islam should be amended to match a proposed federal law barring such acts, lawyers have said.

Lawyers said that the Perlis amendment of its state law on Thursday — which removed the need for both parents’ consent before a child can be converted to Islam — contradicts and conflicts with a planned federal law amendment.

Lawyer Surendra Ananth said if the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act’s (LRA) planned amendment which will require both parents’ consent before a child from a civil marriage is converted to Islam is passed and comes into force, the conflicting Perlis amendment requiring only either parent’s consent will be “null and void” in such cases.

“The Islamic Enactment made by the Perlis State Legislative assembly is a form of state law. It’s status does not change just because it is a “religious law”. It is like any other State law, and therefore must give way to federal law and the Federal Constitution,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted, citing the Federal Constitution’s Article 75 which says federal law will prevail over inconsistent state laws. Read more