Addressing Human Rights and Environment Critical to SDGs, Says Special Rapporteur

Source: IISD

united-nations-human-rights4 March 2016: Virtually all of the proposed methods of implementing human rights norms related to the environment will also support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, reflects in a new document, titled ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.’

The Human Rights Council (HRC) requested the Special Rapporteur to study human rights obligations with respect to the environment and to identify good practices in the use of such obligations in its resolution 28/11. The HRC also asked the Special Rapporteur to identify obstacles to the full realization of such rights as well as obligations to promote their realization. In response, the Special Rapporteur held an expert seminar and a public consultation and produced an Implementation Report (A/HRC/31/53), which proposes methods for implementing human rights obligations with respect to the enjoyment of a healthy environment, emphasizing their complementary.

A human rights perspective on environmental protection promotes equality, freedom and human dignity and improves the effectiveness of policy making, the Special Rapporteur emphasizes in his report. Knox elaborates that more sustainable and robust policy outcomes can be generated when those individuals most affected by development and environmental policies participate in decision-making processes. Read more

Bersih 2.0’s Chin hails ‘Mahathir’ Declaration

Source: FMT News

The head of the NGO for clean, free and fair elections signed the Declaration in her personal capacity.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0, the NGO for clean, free and fair elections, has reiterated the need for free and fair elections as well as institutional reforms.

“It’s presently the most important agenda and cannot be compromised,” said Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee Chairman Maria Chin Abdullah in a statement.

“Beyond the Declaration, initiated by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, there must be strong political will and efforts to implement reforms in the interest of all Malaysians.”

Before signing the Declaration, disclosed Chin, she consulted with the Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee and received their support to sign the Declaration in her personal capacity. “This does not equate to a representation of Bersih 2.0 or the endorsing NGOs.”

“We believe that more time was needed to consult and discuss with our NGO peers and partners. The invitation to sign the Declaration was received three days ago.”

Chin, nevertheless, hastened to add that she was glad to be part of Mahathir’s Declaration that was presented on Friday.

“Again, this was done in my personal capacity as an activist and concerned citizen of Malaysia because the invitation was on the basis of individuals.” Read more

Zaid fails in court bid to drop charge of making offensive speech against Najib

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today failed in a preliminary objection to drop the charge brought against him for making offensive remark in a speech which called on Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resign as Prime Minister.

The case is set to be heard on June 20.

Sessions Court Judge Balqis Aini Mohd Ali set the date after rejecting the preliminary objection submitted on Jan 22 by Zaid’s counsel M. Puravalen. Read more

UN Report: Economic Gains From Migration Overlooked

Source: Voices of America

FILE – Laborers eat during a break from their work at the site of a commercial building under construction in Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, Dec. 13, 2013.

A new U.N. report on labor and migration in Asia Pacific says economic gains from migration are often overlooked and is calling for policies promoting greater regional cooperation or risk heightening inequalities and human rights abuses.

Globally in 2013 there were more than 213 million migrants worldwide with over 59 million living in the Asia Pacific region, marking a growing trend since 1990. Read more

Mahathir, Opposition sign declaration calling for repeal of laws

Source: The Star Online

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) speaks during an event to announce a citizens’ movement against the government, in Kuala Lumpur on March 4, 2016. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng, pic taken from MMO

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) speaks during an event to announce a citizens’ movement against the government, in Kuala Lumpur on March 4, 2016. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng, pic taken from MMO

PETALING JAYA:  Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the opposition have signed a declaration calling for the repeal of all recent laws and agreements that violate fundamental rights as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

“We support a restoration of the integrity of the institutions that have been undermined such as the police, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, Bank Negara and the Public Accounts Committee,” said the 50 signatories of the declaration, which includes Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

The 50 are also calling for the removal of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak through non-violent and legally permissible means.

“We are seeking the removal of all who have aided and abetted his wrongdoings,” said the signatories of the declaration.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, former prime minister Dr Mahathir said those who signed the declaration have shown “commitment”.

“These people have shown commitment. And this is in the form of a declaration seeking the removal of Najib and the necessity to implement reforms once he’s no longer prime minister,” said Dr Mahathir. Read more

Final 1MDB audit report under OSA to prevent info leak, PAC chief says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) disclosed today the government’s move to classify the final federal audit report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) was done to prevent information from being leaked.

PAC chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin added that the Federal Audit Department sought to classify the final report after its previous preliminary report was leaked to the media after it was tabled before the panel last year.

“The PAC concedes and understands the need by the Federal Audit Department to classify its audit report on 1MDB as an official secret under the OSA 1972 and the Auditor General has the power to do so.

“The decision was made after knowing that information from the preliminary report on 1MDB that was tabled before the PAC July last year had been leaked selectively by irresponsible parties to create negative publicity which ultimately affected the credibility of the Federal Audit Department and this panel itself,” Hasan said in a statement. Read more

Free speech a ‘privilege’? Read the Constitution properly, rights advocates tell minister

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Social activist Maria Chin Abdullah of electoral reform watchdog Bersih 2.0 went a step further and told the federal minister to resign if he was unable to comprehend the tenets of the country’s supreme law. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Social activist Maria Chin Abdullah of electoral reform watchdog Bersih 2.0 went a step further and told the federal minister to resign if he was unable to comprehend the tenets of the country’s supreme law. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak should learn how to read the law properly in order not to mislead less-informed Malaysians of their constitutional guarantees, rights advocates said after the communications and multimedia minister asserted free speech to be a “privilege”.

Social activist Maria Chin Abdullah of electoral reform watchdog Bersih 2.0 went a step further and told the federal minister to resign if he was unable to comprehend the tenets of the country’s supreme law.

“If he as a minister can’t understand the Constitution, then he should resign. He is a lawmaker,” Chin told Malay Mail Online.

She was responding to Salleh’s blog post yesterday in which the Sabah leader said Malaysians were treating the expression of their opinions as an “absolute right” rather than a “privilege“ that can sometimes be withdrawn if abused. Read more