Human Rights Day 2019 – HAKAM Urges Government to Expedite Pro-Human Rights Reforms

In conjunction with Human Rights Day on 10th December 2019, HAKAM urges the Government to expeditiously fulfill its manifesto promises in respect of human rights reforms.

There is no doubt that the Government has achieved praiseworthy progress on the human rights front. Some of these include:

  • lowering the voting age to 18;
  • automatic voter registration;
  • abolishing the Anti-Fake News Act 2018;
  • amending the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012;
  • creating the environment for a relatively freer press;
  • appointing independent & credible judges to key positions in the Judiciary;
  • tabling SUHAKAM report for debate in Parliament for the first time in 19 years; and
  • establishing a Parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights & Constitutional Affairs and a Parliamentary Select Committee on Gender Equality & Family Development;

But the Pakatan Harapan Government was elected on 9th May 2018 by an electorate which expects more substantial human rights reforms and cementing of the rule of law. It has been 1 ½ years since the Government was elected into power, yet there is much more that needs to be done.

HAKAM hereby urges the Government to quicken its pace and to steadfastly carry out the following human rights reforms in Malaysia:

  • Establish an effective Independent Police Complaints & Misconduct Commission (IPCMC);
  • Abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA);
  • Abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA);
  • Abolish the Prevention of Crime Act 1959;
  • Abolish the Sedition Act 1948;
  • Abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984;
  • Abolish the National Security Council Act 2016;
  • Abolish the death penalty in all forms; and
  • Enact a Freedom of Information Act

There will no doubt be forces which will resist such reforms. But all of these reforms are promises which were made in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. The Government must be bold and resolute in fulfilling the same.

Rest assured that civil society and many segments of the rakyat will be behind the Government in carrying out such reforms.

Lim Wei Jiet

Secretary-General of HAKAM

DAP slams Najib’s silence on human rights

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A DAP MP today questioned Prime Minister Najib Razak’s silence on International Human Rights Day, accusing his administration of locking up those who defend human rights instead.

Contrasting Najib’s silence on the matter with his strong words during the recent Umno general assembly, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto asked why Najib had not been as vocal on strengthening fundamental liberties in the country.

“Instead, his administration is progressively locking up defenders of human rights.

“Prime Minister Najib Razak’s absent International Human Rights Day message on Dec 10 is a clear indication that threats against fundamental civil liberties and human rights in Malaysia will continue to escalate by the 14th general election (GE14),” she said in a statement. Read more

Suhakam to monitor GE14 integrity

Source: Malay Mail Online

File picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the human rights commission would monitor the 14th general election to ensure the process is in accordance with democratic standards. — File picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today it will monitor the 14th general election to ensure the process is in accordance with democratic standards.

In conjunction with International Human Rights Day, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail raised several pertinent matters related to the state of human rights in the country and said that monitoring the election will be one of its roles to fulfil people’s rights.

“Suhakam will be monitoring closely how it (the elections) will be conducted on the premise that democracy must exist with election integrity,” he said in a statement.

Razali added that there were many aspects and challenges to human rights which Putrajaya has yet to address. Read more

Low: More space needed for civil societies to express ‘frustrations’

Source: The Star Online

Datuk Paul Low, pic from the Star Online.

Datuk Paul Low, pic from the Star Online.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government needs to do more for civil liberties and societies, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low.

He said more space should be given to civil societies to “express their frustrations” and for the Government to hear them out and have constructive engagements.

Low, however, said civil liberties and human rights come with responsibilities.

“You cannot be ideal, there are borders and limits.

“Even in the area of expression, you cannot simply say something without understanding the consequences of what you are saying,” he told reporters on the sidelines at a dinner hosted by the German Ambassador to Malaysia His Excellency Holger Michael here on Tuesday.   Read more

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

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

Sarawak Festival of Rights: “Human Rights for All”

Source: FMT News

human-rights_rakyat_malaysia_6001KUCHING: A coalition of civil rights groups is holding the “Festival of Rights” at the Old Court House, Waterfront, here on Saturday.

The festival, the first of its kind in the state, will be held from 10am to 8pm, and will carry the theme “Human Rights for All”.

Organised by the Civil Society Project coalition, the festival will be anchored by Purple Lily, Ikram Sarawak, Sarawak AIDS Concern Society, Lawyers Kamek 4 Change, Rise of Sarawak Efforts, Save Rivers and Teori Timur.

Among the groups that will also attend and participate in the festival are Jaringan Orang Asal Se-Malaysia (Joas) and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sinar Harapan.

“It is unique in that it groups national and state civil society groups from various sectors of society to share their work, their campaigns and their aims to showcase the rich diversity of social life in Sarawak,” said organising chairperson Suraya Bujang in a statement.

The civil rights groups will show their work via film screenings, small group discussions, music, poetry, fun activities and mini-exhibitions, Suraya said.

“Consequently, the main aim of the festival is to raise awareness of the key role played by human rights in bringing about an open, dynamic, global and modern society.

“Through the festival, it is hoped that more people will be encouraged to participate in the diverse works and campaigns of the various civil society groups here in Sarawak,” she said.

Admission to the festival is free.

For more information, call 019-874 1251.

Human rights under increasing attack worldwide

Source: UN OHCHR

Human Rights Day – Saturday 10 December 2016

GENEVA (9 December 2016) – Speaking ahead of Human Rights Day on Saturday 10 December, the largest body of independent experts of the United Nations Human Rights system* urges all Governments around the world to stand up for human rights.

“The greatest achievement of the international community since the end of World War II has been the construction of an international human rights system based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted 68 years ago.

Since that time, enormous strides have been made in establishing universal standards, encouraging the very widespread domestic adoption of those standards, and in effectively defending the rights of groups and individuals who are under threat in their own societies.

But today, a chill wind is blowing through much of the world and the very notion of human rights is under increasing attack. So-called populist movements are invoking nationalism and traditionalism to justify racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic and other forms of blatant discrimination, taking advantage also of the difficulties of the current economic climate.

Hate speech aiming to incite violence, hostility, and discrimination is dramatically on the rise, as is violence against women, children, ethnic, religious or belief groups, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities, migrant and many other groups. Inequality is growing dramatically and democratic institutions are being systematically undermined. Read more

Former Suhakam chairman, beseeches gov’t to ratify 6 core int’l human rights treaties

Source: NST Online

Tan Sri Hasmy Agam speaks at the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur, December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Tan Sri Hasmy Agam speaks at the Suhakam forum in conjunction with World Human Rights Day, Kuala Lumpur, December 8, 2016. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has been urged to sign the remaining six out of nine core International Human Right Treaties to be on par with other developed nations.

The suggestion was given by former chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, as he said by 2020 with Malaysia being a developed nation, the country would be judged on a much higher standard in terms of human rights issues.

“As we move towards being a developed nation by 2020 or whenever we achieve the status, this is a timely act.

“In order for us to be a developed country, in both sense of the word (human rights), we need to improve our human rights records and performance to be on par with other developed nations,” he said at a forum during the Joint Commemoration of the 2016 Human Rights Day held here yesterday. Read more

Citizens’ role in protecting freedom — Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star Online

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Shad Saleem Faruqi - file pic

Shad Saleem Faruqi – file pic

We now recognise that food is as important as freedom, and bread as important as the ballot box.

TENTH November is Human Rights Day. In commemorating it we can rejoice that freedom is on the march globally. The human rights quest is at high tide. The ardour for liberty is spreading. The quest for the inalienable rights of human beings has gained a universal appeal.

It is now generally agreed that state sovereignty is a shield against external aggression; it cannot be used as a sword against one’s own nationals. Violations of basic rights in any land deserve worldwide condemnation because, in the words of Martin Luther King, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. All nations of the world are under pressure to conform to the international law on human rights.
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