Civil society Groups push for Asean human rights court

Source: INQUIRER.NET

Civil society organizations across Southeast Asia on Saturday called on their governments to prepare the ground for the establishment of an independent regional court to promote and protect human rights and prosecute abuses by member states.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Civil Society Conference (ACSC) said it was time for the regional bloc to create its own human rights court, especially since governments in the region were “installing laws and committing actions that continue to destroy the enabling environment for civil society organizations and grassroots organizations.”

“Ordinary innocent people become targets of extrajudicial killings. Leaders of groups challenging government policies are harassed, jailed, disappeared or even killed,” said Jelen Paclarin, ACSC’s regional steering committee chair. Read more

Censorship keeping Malaysians in their ‘cocoon’, says activist

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lena Hendry said screenings of human rights documentaries ― generally not shown on television channels ― are important to create greater awareness for a better society. ― Pictures by Choo Choy May for the MMO.

PETALING JAYA, April 30 ― Banning the screening of documentaries keeps Malaysians inside their “cocoons” instead of learning more about the world, a local activist has said.

Lena Hendry said screenings of human rights documentaries ― generally not shown on television channels ― are important to create greater awareness for a better society.

“So how do we actually show these films to society, to actually say there’s something happening in your backyard. The indigenous people are being persecuted; the plantation workers are evicted from their homes; there is an urban poor community. How is society going to know when these films are not going to be allowed to be screened?” she asked at a public forum on film censorship last week.

From her personal experience, Hendry said there were multiple obstacles that impeded the local screening of documentaries that presented an alternative to the accepted portrayal that made it seem as if such screenings posed a “threat to national security”. Read more

Re-stitching Malaysia’s social fabric

Source: The Star Online

Findings show that strategies and initiatives are needed to foster greater interaction between communities.

WHEN the protest of Malaysians for fair elections and against corruption is reframed as an attack by non-Malays against the dignity of Malays, we should be alarmed. Race seems to be the default narrative to explain everything one is unhappy about, from frustrations at school to dissatisfaction at work to altercations in the neighbourhood.

The fact that multi-cultural Malaysia has enjoyed decades of prosperity with little violent conflict does not necessarily equate to harmony. In recent years, with religion being politicised to reinforce communal barriers and more children being schooled separately, we intuitively know that Malaysia’s Malays, Chinese and Indians are growing further apart.

But what are the real facts? How do we measure growing apart? Do we really know what helps commu­­nal integration and what does not, and what simply fuels the divide? Read more

Malaysians call for corporal punishment to be banned in ALL schools

A petition to the Malaysian Government – The Cabinet
(Click here to sign this petition)

Malaysians call for corporal punishment to be banned in ALL schools

The death of 11-year-old schoolboy Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gadaffi , who was allegedly abused by his school warden has painfully showed us that corporal punishment has no place in schools. His prayers and pleas as he endured suffering from being beaten on his legs are a stark testimony that no child must ever again experience such abuse and humiliation or death. His pleas to his parents to rescue him are testimony to his suffering in a place that has been his second home.

We, the citizens of Malaysia echo SUHAKAM‘s (National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) call to reform laws to introduce a clear ban on corporal punishment in all educational institutions as a matter of policy. Read more

Chong: No plans to abolish corporal punishment

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry has no plans to abolish corporal punishment, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon.

“We are open to discussions if the public feels that we should abolish corporal punishment, but for now, we have a different view,” he told reporters after handing out prizes to winners of the national level Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca (Nilam) here yesterday.

Chong was responding to renewed calls from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to abolish corporal punishment in schools following the death of 11-year-old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gadaffi in a private religious school. Read more

Female clerics declare fatwa on child marriage in Indonesia

Source: FMT News

'Female clerics know the issues and obstacles women face, we can take action and not just wait for the government to protect these children.' Pic from FMT News.

‘Female clerics know the issues and obstacles women face, we can take action and not just wait for the government to protect these children.’ Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Female clerics on Thursday issued an unprecedented fatwa against child marriage in Indonesia in a bid to stop young girls becoming brides in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

The fatwa – which is influential among Muslims but not legally binding – came at the end of an extraordinary three-day conference of female Islamic clerics: a rare example of women assuming a lead role in religious affairs in this mostly-Muslim country.

“Maternal mortality is very high in Indonesia. We as female clerics can play a role on the issue of child marriage,” conference organiser Ninik Rahayu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Read more

Dewan Negara approves Sosma extension

Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act of 2012 (Sosma) is set to stay for the next five years after Dewan Negara voted to approve its extension.

Approved last night, the motion on the review of the implementation of subsection 4 (5) of the Act was submitted by Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

He said the proposed extension on the maximum 28-day detention period under subsection 4 (5) of Sosma was the first since it came into force on July 31, 2012.

“We look at Maria Chin’s (Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah) case. She is not a political detainee. What is her political party? So the allegation that Sosma is being used on political detainees is not true,” he said.

He added that throughout the enforcement period, there were no incidents of detainees dying or being injured from abuse. Read more

Another student claims abuse in religious school

Source: The Star Online

Painful experience: Suraya Fatima (left) showing Muhammad Resan’s scars to lawyer Gerard Lazarus during the press conference in Klang. Looking on is the boy’s father, M.D. Ekramul. Pic from the Star Online.

Painful experience: Suraya Fatima (left) showing Muhammad Resan’s scars to lawyer Gerard Lazarus during the press conference in Klang. Looking on is the boy’s father, M.D. Ekramul. Pic from the Star Online.

KLANG: Another case of a beating in a religious school has surfaced with an 11-year-old boy claiming an ustaz (religious teacher) in a private religious boarding school had abused him and threatened him with more punishment if he complained to his parents.

“He also said my brain would not be able to memorise the Quran if I complained about an ustaz,” said Muhammad Resan Abdullah.

The ustaz has since been charged in court but after reading about the fate that had be­fallen Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gadaffi, his parents engaged a lawyer yesterday to re-examine the case. Read more

When Malaysian school authorities use the rod… and physically harm children

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A school boy walks past a street mural depicting a school bus and students in Shah Alam, January 2, 2014. — Reuters pic.

A school boy walks past a street mural depicting a school bus and students in Shah Alam, January 2, 2014. — Reuters pic.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — An assistant hostel warden’s beating of an Islamic religious student which resulted in the amputation of the 11-year-old’s legs and his subsequent death on Wednesday may well be the most severe abuse case in schools in recent years.

Alleged abuses of schoolchildren by adults entrusted to teach and care for them have ranged from verbal to physical hurt to degrading treatment and public humiliation.

Here is a list of selected cases where students were reportedly abused: Read more

Southeast Asia’s leaders steer away from democracy, say activists

Source: FMT News

By every measure, the region is falling deeper into dictatorship, repression, and rights abuse. Pic from FMT News.

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war is part of a worrying assault on human rights and democracy across Southeast Asia, activists said as regional leaders gathered in Manila on Friday.

Duterte has been condemned in the West for the crackdown, which has claimed thousands of lives since he took power last year, but he is expected to enjoy the support of most of his guests as he hosts the heads of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

This is partly because the leaders of most other countries in the region have few democratic credentials themselves, or have human rights clouds hanging over them, according to Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. Read more