PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says equality must be upheld in the country, especially for minorities such as the Orang Asli and refugee communities.
Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said poverty and vulnerability continue to threaten the Orang Asli despite a clear ruling from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination classifying discrimination against indigenous people as racial discrimination.
He added that they faced many challenges and that despite government efforts, their human rights were frequently violated.
“The Orang Asli are denied control over their own lands and development based on their own values.
“They have also been the victims of forced displacement due to uncontrolled logging,” he said in a statement released in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today.
Likewise, Razali said the unemployment rate for refugees was “worrying”. He added that many lived in poverty, below the low-income cut-off.
Additionally, refugees were often the target of racial profiling, discrimination and intolerance, he said.
Urging the government to comply with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Razali expressed hope that the barriers to education, healthcare and employment for refugees would be removed.
He also called for government policies that would include the integration of refugee children into mainstream schools.