Comango: Previous administration backed attacks against human rights defenders

Source: The Malay Mail

Advocacy and Capacity-building officer of EMPOWER, Rizal Rozhan, speaks at the launch of the Comango UPR Stakeholder Report in Kuala Lumpur June 7, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Human rights defenders (HRDs) had been attacked by state-sanctioned and private groups under the previous government, a coalition of Malaysian NGOs asserted in a report to the United Nations (UN) launched today.

The report by Comango, which tracks progress in the field of human rights in Malaysia since the last UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), pointed out that the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration’s stance on some issues had resulted in violence, harassment, and hate speech against HRDs.

“The government failed to uphold the principles and values of The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and has tried to politicise the human rights situation on the ground and demonise HRDs,” it said.

“Comango’s involvement in Malaysia’s previous UPR resulted in the Home Ministry declaring Comango ‘illegal’, while Muslim-based groups in The Coalition of Muslim Organisations in the UPR Process (MuslimUPRo) organised hate and smear campaigns against Comango.” Read more

New law needed to protect human rights defenders, reforms committee told

Source: The Malaysian Insight

IN the new Malaysia, the state must recognise the need to protect human rights defenders and stop treating them as troublemakers, activists told the Committee on Institutional Reforms (IRC).

“Human rights defenders face threats from police and non-state actors like companies for speaking up for human rights, doing their job,” Josef Benedict, from Johannesburg-based global non-profit Civicus Alliance, told reporters after a meeting at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur today.

“There is no (legal) protection mechanism for them, unlike in countries in Africa, Latin Africa and parts of Asia, where they are treated with greater respect. Here, they are still seen as troublemakers.”   Read more

Amnesty honours Maria Chin for fighting injustice

Source: FMT News

(File) Maria Chin Abdullah, center, chairwoman of the Bersih movement - a coalition for clean and fair elections. Pic: AP.

(File) Maria Chin Abdullah, center, chairwoman of the Bersih movement – a coalition for clean and fair elections. Pic: AP.

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International has hailed Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah for her stand against injustice in the country.

In a statement released in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Amnesty’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Champa Patel, said Maria was a distinguished human rights activist who had faced harassment, threats, imprisonment and violence for standing up for human rights. Read more

Address death threats against human rights defenders — Joint Action Group for Gender Equality

Source: The Malay Mail Online

SEPT 23 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) stands in solidarity with Maria Chin Abdullah, the chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, and denounces in the strongest terms the death threats made against her.

Mohd Ali Baharom, aka Ali Tinju, allegedly said to aFree Malaysia Today reporter, among other things, that Maria may “no longer walk on this earth” and that there would be an “ambush”. He later claimed to have been misquoted, but a recording and transcript published by FMT appear to prove otherwise.

The phrases uttered by Mohd Ali Baharom, including “Don’t challenge us or we will make it so that her legs point upwards and her head points downward to the ground” (“Jangan cabar kami nanti kami akan buatkan kaki dia ke atas, kepala ke bawah jalan”), are direct and clear threats of violence against Maria.

We note that this is not the first time Ali Tinju has made public threats of violence. In 2015, he urged a group of people in a gathering at Low Yat Plaza to unite and “attack the DAP Chinese who are rude”.

There have also been multiple instances of other violent threats made against Malaysians exercising their fundamental rights, with women being targeted for sexual violence. Read more

Report on on the “Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change” Workshop — Justine Chew

(all photos courtesy of HAKAM)

Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy through Effective Use of Social Media

“When we change to way we communicate, we change society.” — Clay Shirky

Social Media has over the past 10 years changed communication between individuals, organisations and nations. This ever evolving communication technology continues to transform the way people interact and even the way they think.  That is the reason, Social Media now occupies a vital portion of many successful corporations’ organizational and business strategies. Governments have also recognized the power of social media – to further their causes and goals, construct and deconstruct societies. Government and politics are changed, and some destroyed, through the use of social media.


In other parts of the world, civil society leaders and organizations have long teamed up with technology and social media experts to address community challenges through social media and this partnership had created new interesting solutions for those organisations to better serve their community.

However, Malaysian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have yet to leverage much on social media tools notwithstanding that (a) the tools are readily available, and (b) social media is a proven potent platform to shape conversations and influence opinions, facilitate speedier and more effective engagement and sharing of information.

“Old ways won’t open new doors.”

CSOs have in the past and still do rely on the usual traditional methods of advocacy through press statements and forum and town hall meetings. Traditional medium like these are limited in its capacity to reach and often offer very limited space or time for any discussion or conversation to take place between the speaker and the audience.

Under these circumstances, and seeing the limited success in advocacy campaigns by Malaysian CSOs in general, HAKAM developed and implemented a How to Leverage on Social Media for Impactful Social Change in Malaysia Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 16-17 July 2016. HAKAM’s strategy for this capacity building workshop was to engage and partner with social media experts to train human rights activists, CSO representatives and volunteers  in harnessing the tools and potential of social media, covering areas of technology and content for effective advocacy. Read more

PDRM is not a tool for political crackdown – Sevan Doraisamy

Source: Malaysiakini


Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the arrest of youth activists and political leaders in the past week and the threats issued by the inspector-general of police against opposition Members of Parliament.

The arrest of Shazni Murni and Shukri Kamarudin under the Sedition Act 1948; the arrest of Muhammad Zhafran under Section 504 of the Penal Code; the arrest of YB Rafizi Ramli under the Official Secrets Act 1972; and the arrest of YB Chan Ming Kai under Section 186 of the Penal Code can only be described as the start of a political crackdown against youth activists and political leaders.

There is no legitimate justification for the arrest and the detention of these individuals. The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) as the keeper of peace and security should not be exercising their power for political reasons as they have in these cases. Read more

Malaysian activist Nisha Ayub is first transgender to win US Women of Courage award

Source: Asian Correspondent

Nisha Ayub accepting the International Women of Courage award from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Pic: Twitter

Nisha Ayub accepting the International Women of Courage award from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Pic: Twitter

MALAYSIA’S leading defender of trangender rights, Nisha Ayub, was a recipient of the prestigious International Women of Courage Award on Tuesday in Washington D.C.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented the award to Nisha and 13 others in recognition for their courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress.

In his speech, Kerry lauded Nisha for standing up for Malaysia’s transgender community, which still faces violence, discrimination, and oppression.

He said that despite threats to her own safety, Nisha remained committed to her work because “it’s what she cares about and because she knows it’s the right thing to do”.

“Nisha Ayub – for your extraordinary work to promote societies that are more just, fair and tolerant, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, we honor you,” said Kerry. Read more

Activist freed over uncensored movie screening charge [updated]

Source: FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Community Communication Centre (Komas) programme coordinator and activist Lena Hendry was freed today by the Magistrate’s Court over a charge of screening an uncensored movie.

Magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against Lena.

“Thus, the accused is acquitted and discharged,” he said.

She was charged on Sep 19, 2013, under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening an uncensored film, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commmerce Hall in Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur, at 9pm on July 3, 2013.

Speaking to reporters, Lena expressed her happiness over her acquittal.

“This has been a long journey of two-and-a-half years for me.”

“They (prosecution) should not have charged me in the first place for just screening a film,” she said.

She said prosecution of activists under laws such as the Sedition Act, Communications and Multimedia Act for their work on defending human rights should be stopped. Read more

US Bar: Sedition Act more restrictive than others

Source: FMT News

The American Bar’s Centre for Human Rights, in its report, says the application of Malaysia’s Sedition Act violates international standards and is far more restrictive than other Commonwealth nations with similar laws.

PETALING JAYA: The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Centre for Human Rights has stated that the application of Malaysia’s Sedition Act violates international standards and is far more restrictive than other Commonwealth nations with similar laws to reign in seditious behaviour.

“Malaysia’s Sedition Act is far more onerous than international norms proscribe and fellow Commonwealth countries currently employ,” the report stated.

The statement coincided with ABA’s report titled, “Malaysia’s Sedition Act Unlawfully Restricts Free Expression.”

The statement was also released in anticipation of the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s hearing on the constitutional challenge to the Sedition Act of 1948 slated for March 9, 2016. Read more

Court sets Mar 10 to hear defence in Lena Hendry case

Source: The Star Online

Aktivis tempatan, Lena Hendry dijadual menghadapi perbicaraan esok atas tuduhan menayangkan sebuah filem perang saudara di Sri Lanka. Beliau didakwa mengikut Seksyen 6 (1) (b) Akta Penapisan Filem 2002. – Gambar dari News Ghana, 13 Disember, 2015

Aktivis tempatan, Lena Hendry sedang menghadapi perbicaraan atas tuduhan menayangkan sebuah filem perang saudara di Sri Lanka. Beliau didakwa mengikut Seksyen 6 (1) (b) Akta Penapisan Filem 2002. – Gambar dari News Ghana, 13 Disember, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: The court has set Mar 10 for activist Lena Hendry to enter a defence against a charge of screening “No Fire Zone”, a documentary that had not been approved by the Censorship Board.

Magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris said on Wednesday he would deliver a verdict after going through the submissions by the prosecution and defence.

Lawyer New Sin Yew, who acted for Hendry, said the activist was entitled to an acquittal, as the ingredients of the charge were not proved.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Farith Muhammad Faizal said that Hendry was present during a raid at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and she was the one who handed over a DVD of the film to the police.

In his submission, New, however, said there was no evidence to show that Hendry was the one who screened the film as there is also a possibility that the film was screened by others present. Read more