Malaysia on right track in human rights protection — Zulkefli

Source: The Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is already on the right track in protecting human rights with the establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999.

Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said the Act had set out the powers and functions of such a commission for the protection and promotion of human rights in Malaysia.

He said amongst the functions and powers of the Commission were to promote awareness and educate the public on human rights and to advise and assist the government in formulating legislation and administrative directives and procedures, as well as recommend the necessary measures to be taken.

He was speaking at a session of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) Judicial Colloquium titled “The Future of Judicial Cooperation on Human Rights Protection in Asean – Recommendations and The Way Forward” held at a hotel, here, today. Read more

ASEAN Members Should Develop Baseline Of Jurisprudence To Strength Ahrd – CJ

Source: Bernama

Tun Arifin Zakari - Pic from Bernama.

Tun Arifin Zakari – Pic from Bernama.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (Bernama) — Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria has urged ASEAN members to develop a baseline of jurisprudence if the grouping is serious in its aim to strength the implementation of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).

He said that development should be commonly acknowledged and accepted by ASEAN Member States (AMS) to ensure uniformity in the application of the AHRD.

“While the AHRD has been in existence for almost five years now, there is a dearth of commentaries or jurisprudential articles to explain how the rights stated therein, are to be interpreted or implemented,” he added.

Arifin was making his opening statement at the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) Judicial Colloquium On The Sharing of Good Practices Regarding International Human Rights held at a hotel here today.

He said in order for the AHRD to be useful to ASEAN peoples, it was time the relevant ASEAN bodies such as AICHR led the way in guiding the region. Read more

AICHR to hold programme on human rights law on March 13-15

Source: The Sun Daily

aichr-300x236PUTRAJAYA: The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) will organise a judicial colloquium on the sharing of good practices regarding international human rights law in Kuala Lumpur from March 13 to 15.

The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, today said the three-day programme would involve panel discussions and working group sessions on, among others, the role of the judiciary in the promotion and protection of human rights and effective access to justice and remedies in the context of the Sustainable Development Goal 16.

The colloquium will also discuss the challenges and opportunities in the application of the rule of law and human rights and the future of judicial cooperation in human rights protection in Asean. Read more

Malaysia Day — AICHR Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Ties among Malaysia's different communities have reached an alarming level, says Anglican Archbishop of South East Asia, Datuk Ng Moon Hing. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 25, 2015.

SEPTEMBER 16 — The Malaysian Federation was established in 1963. Malaya had earlier won its independence in 1957, and in 1967, we came together with our closest neighbours to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Asean has resolved that it shall be a rules-based, people-oriented and people-centred community. Its Member States signed the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) in 2012 that affirms all the civil and political rights, and all the economic, social and cultural rights in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. Further, Asean Member States have committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all peoples in the region. Central to this commitment is the rule of law.

On the 53rd anniversary of Malaysia’s establishment, it is worth recalling that our Federal Constitution provides a domestic rights-based framework regarding, among others, life and liberty, movement, speech, assembly, association, religion and property. Malaysia is committed to the respect, upholding, and protection of these rights. The same are to be responsibly exercised according to law. In charting our shared future together, we are well-served by the Constitution and the AHRD to aid us in navigating the emerging challenges that we face as a nation. Read more

Asean taking ‘baby steps’ on human rights transparency

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is taking baby steps towards greater transparency.

Seven years after the region’s human rights mechanism was set up in 2009, it published an annual report on Aug 1.

However, there are no recommendations in the 18-page 2016 report.

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon, Malaysia’s Representative to AICHR, said in an interview that there were “only two recommendations this year”.

“To make our Annual Report public; and to update and review our Terms of Reference.

“We communicated these recommendations to the AMM (Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting) on July 23. The AMM accepted the first.”

The second was noted by AMM, he said, adding that one of the 10 Asean Member States (AMS) wanted the new Representatives “to fully utilise the existing Terms of Reference before reviewing them.”

Bon is hopeful: “This means the AMM wants AICHR to utilise among others the mandate to obtain information from AMS on the protection of human rights and also to develop common approaches to human rights.”

He added that Malaysia would embark on these in the coming months.

AICHR, which comprises representatives of Asean’s member states, has been the target of criticism from human rights advocacy groups for not doing it so far.

“Civil society organisations rightly criticised AICHR for failing to release our previous reports; we have now met their demand. Read more

Improving Malaysia’s profile

Source: The Star Online

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon

EDMUND Bon Tai Soon (pic) has spent much time at odds with the Malaysian Government as a human rights defender and advocate.

And so it was a surprise when Wisma Putra issued a statement on April 1 announcing him as Malaysia’s new representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

“With vast experience and exposure in high-profile public interest litigation over the past 18 years, the appointment of Mr Edmund Bon is a strong manifestation of the government of Malaysia’s desire to bring human rights and fundamental freedoms issues at the forefront of Asean’s agenda through the AICHR,” the Foreign Ministry (MoFA) had said in the announcement.

On March 30, he received his letter of appointment.

Bon’s appointment was delayed – there were some objections, unsurprisingly – so much so he missed the first meeting of the new batch of AICHR reps from the member countries.

But in full Bon-style, he’s jumped in with both feet and full of determination, undeterred by chatter that he has ‘sold out’.

In a recent exclusive interview, he talks about who he represents, his mandate to popularise the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the advent of an Asean Court for Human Rights.

The following are excerpts from the interview with Sunday Star. Read more

Suhakam to develop media code of ethics on rights issues

Source: The Borneo Post Online

Chairman of Asean Intergovernmental Commission On Human Rights Phuokhong Sisoulath (front, fourth right) having a group photo with all speakers of AICHR Regional Forum On Media and Human Rights In Asean. Rodziah is third from left.— Bernama photo

Chairman of Asean Intergovernmental Commission On Human Rights Phuokhong Sisoulath (front, fourth right) having a group photo with all speakers of AICHR Regional Forum On Media and Human Rights In Asean. Rodziah is third from left.— Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), together with a group of experienced media professionals, are in the midst of developing a code of ethics to guide media practitioners on human rights issues.

Its secretary, Rodziah Abdul said a document related to the code of ethics was presented to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan.

“We hope the relevant ministries will adopt or build on this code of ethics with the objective of promoting media reporting that provides the public with full, fair and accurate information, and follows a certain standard of conduct in the process.

“Adherence to a certain code of ethics is paramount in ensuring professionalism in media reporting,” she said after attending the Regional Forum on Media and Human Rights in Asean here yesterday. Read more

Edmund Bon named Malaysia’s rep in Asean human rights panel

Source: The Star Online

Edmund Bon

Edmund Bon

PETALING JAYA: Former Bar Council committee member Edmund Bon Tai Soon has been appointed Malaysia’s new representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

Bon, who has been appointed for the 2016-2018 term, succeeds Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who occupied the position for two consecutive terms from 2010 until 2015.

“With vast experience and exposure in high-profile public interest litigation over the past 18 years, the appointment of Mr Edmund Bon is a strong manifestation of the Government of Malaysia’s desire to bring human rights and fundamental freedom issues at the forefront of Asean’s agenda through the AICHR,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Read more

Malaysia’s missed opportunity as Asean chair – Khoo Ying Hooi

Source: The Malaysian Insider

It has been exceptionally hectic for most of the last month as each Malaysian stakeholder related to Asean affairs was geared up to host dialogues and forums to prepare for the 27th Asean Summit and related summits scheduled from 18 to 22 November.

With that, Malaysia comes to an end as Asean chair 2015. Laos will then take over its responsibilities as Asean chair.

There were high expectations when Malaysia took over as the Asean chair from Myanmar in 2015. Malaysia’s two-year term on the UN Security Council echod well with the Asean chair, expanding its international profile and placing Asean on a footing alongside other regional organizations.

2015 is a challenging time for Malaysia’s chairmanship. Expectations can be quite overwhelming as it struggles with domestic, regional and international politics. As Asean is moving towards the realization of the Asean Community, many had expected Malaysia to pursue a more proactive approach. Read more