Sleepwalking towards dictatorship — Mariam Mokhtar

Source: The Heat

BY MARIAM MOKHTAR

How did we get from being a carefree, rich, diverse, multicultural and secular nation, to one that is fraught with tension, profligate, increasingly polarised and extremist?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak rolled out the National Security Council (NSC) Bill, at a time when we were distracted by PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s Hudud Bill. Was Hadi’s role to distract us from the NSC Bill? Najib claimed that the NSC bill was to fight terrorism but we have our doubts. We have laws, to fight any potential terrorist threat.

National Human Rights Society (Hakam) head Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan did not mince her words when she said that the NSC Bill was a grab for absolute power, when it was rushed through parliament.

We falsely believed we had one last line of defence, when the Bill was presented to Yang Dipertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers (CoR), on 17 February, for their approval.

Last Tuesday, our fears were realised when the national gazette showed that the NSC Bill had been automatically passed on 18 February, the day after the CoR sent it back for amendment.

The Agong’s wishes were dismissed. This does not bode well for Malaysia. Read more

Ahead of World Refugee Day, UN agency launches ‘Stand #WithRefugees’ initiative

Source: UN News Centre

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi talks to a Somali refugee family during his visit in Ifo Camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Photo: UNHCR/Siegfried Modola

16 June 2016 – Ahead of the World Refugee Day on 20 June, more than 60 film, TV and music stars have joined refugees, faith leaders and the United Nations refugee agency staff to back a petition highlighting the plight of forcibly displaced people.

The #WithRefugees petition aims to gather public support for the growing number of families forced to flee conflict and persecution worldwide, who currently face heightened anti-refugee rhetoric coupled with greater restrictions to asylum, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“We are in a period of deepening conflict and turmoil in the world, which is causing many more people to flee their homes than before,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times,” he said.

In 2015, millions of people were newly displaced, adding again to the global refugee and internal displacement totals. Overwhelmingly, it was countries of the developing world that were most affected, but Europe too witnessed dramatic scenes, as hundreds of thousands of people crossed the Mediterranean in search of safety and refuge. Thousands died along the way, according to the agency chief. Read more

Clowns, balloons and other human rights transgressions — Kua Kia Soong

Source: FMT

BY KUA KIA SOONG 

Kua Kia Soong

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is pleased to announce the publication of its Human Rights Report on Malaysia for 2015. We are proud to say that since Suaram’s first Human Rights Report on Malaysia in 1998, our documentation and monitoring desk has ensured the publication of an annual human rights report every one of these 18 years, without fail.

Despite our diligence in auditing human rights in the country, the Malaysian state continues to reinvent excuses tantamount to phobias, to suppress the just demands of Malaysians for their basic human rights: international terrorism is used to justify detention without trial; arbitrary bans on citizens’ freedom of movement are justified by flimsy notions of “protecting national pride”; the Sedition Act is invoked to persecute and harass critics, cartoonists, clowns and even football fans. Read more