Suhakam gives thumbs up to bill to stop unilateral child conversion

Source: FMT News

Suhakam urges Parliament to speedily resolve issue of unilateral conversion of children and the ‘many obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion’. Pic from FMT News.

Suhakam urges Parliament to speedily resolve issue of unilateral conversion of children and the ‘many obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion’. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has thrown its weight behind proposed legislative amendments to prevent the unilateral conversion of children.

It said amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) would balance the best interests of the child with the constitutional rights of the parents as both parties in a civil marriage would have to give consent for the child to be converted to Islam.

Suhakam also expressed support for the proposal that children keep their religious affiliations and freely decide on their faith when they reach the age of 18.

In its 2016 annual report, the commission said such issues were essential to promote understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion and belief.

“Suhakam stresses the issue of unilateral conversion of children in Malaysia and the many obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion must be quickly resolved by Parliament,” it said. Read more

Suhakam: Tackle ‘serious’ overcrowding in prisons

Source: FMT News

Human rights commission says authorities show little interest in human rights of detainees, sometimes treating them as if they have lost all human rights because they’re detainees. Pic from FMT News.

Human rights commission says authorities show little interest in human rights of detainees, sometimes treating them as if they have lost all human rights because they’re detainees. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says the government’s budgetary priorities cast doubt on its interest in upholding the rights of detainees.

In its 2016 annual report, the commission said there appeared to be “little interest in the human rights of detainees”, who were sometimes regarded as “having lost all of their human rights by virtue of their detention”.

It highlighted the “serious humanitarian issue” of overcrowding in detention centres, saying that the increase in the number of detainees was not accompanied by a similar growth in necessary resources such as the budget. Read more

Peaceful Assembly Act trumps Police Act, says Suhakam

Source: FMT News

Former Court of Appeal judge and Suhakam commisioner Mah Weng Kwai says law on requiring police permit for gathering of 5 or more people, already repealed. Pic from FMT News.

Former Court of Appeal judge and Suhakam commisioner Mah Weng Kwai says law on requiring police permit for gathering of 5 or more people, already repealed. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 should prevail over the Police Act 1967 when it comes to the planned debate between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Nazri Aziz, says the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

Suhakam commissioner Mah Weng Kwai said this when asked to comment on a statement by Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar on the discretionary rights of the police as provided by the Police Act.

Khalid said as such, the police have the right to prevent the planned debate from taking place.

The much-anticipated debate between the former prime minister and the tourism and culture minister was scheduled to take place from 9pm, on Friday at the Karangkraf Complex building in Shah Alam. Karangkraf, the publisher of Sinar Harian, is the organiser of the event.

“As far as the debate is concerned, no rules say you cannot have it. Previously, any assembly must be a lawful assembly when it has five people or more taking part. Therefore, you need a police permit. Read more

MP: Okay for rapists to marry victims, even some 9-year-olds can marry

 

HAKAM Comment: “No, YB, it is NOT OKAY to rape children or to marry them to their rapist either.”

Source: The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: There is nothing wrong with a rape victim marrying the rapist, according to a Barisan Nasional lawmaker who even suggested that some nine-year-olds were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.

Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, in trying to refute Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah-Kota Raja), said that some 12- and 15-year-old girls looked older than their actual ages.

“When we discuss 12- and 15-year-olds, we don’t see their physical bodies because some children aged 12 or 15, their bodies are like 18-year-old women,” Shabudin told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

The former Syariah court judge added that some girls who reached puberty when they were as young as nine years old were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.

“So it’s not impossible for them to get married,” Shabudin said, adding that there was “nothing wrong” with a rape victim marrying the rapist as it could serve as a “remedy” to the increasing number of social problems.   Read more

Law Reform Act: Government’s decision based on national interest, says DPM

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) stated that the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 was based on national interest. — Bernama pic

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (centre) stated that the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 was based on national interest. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, April 4 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today stated that the government’s decision to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 or Act 164 was based on national interest.

Responding to the suggestion by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria for the decision to be withdrawn, Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister, said he respected the views expressed and fatwa (edict) issued before on the matter.

“However, as stated by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker (Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia), we would view this as national interest being above other interests. Read more

Suhakam: Parliament has to ‘own’ human rights in Malaysia

Source: The Star Online

Tan Sri Razali Ismail, SUHAKAM Chairman. Pic from the Star Online.

Tan Sri Razali Ismail, SUHAKAM Chairman. Pic from the Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: Seemingly ignored for the 16th consecutive year by the august house that established it, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is calling on Parliament to “own” the human rights issue.

“This is the 16th consecutive year that Suhakam has not had its annual report debated by Parliament,” its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail (pix) said in the commission’s 2016 report.

“As one of the primary institutions of the state, Parliament has a joint responsibility to protect and fulfil human rights and to implement the country’s obligations, alongside the executive and judicial branches of government,” he said.

Suhakam has been submitting its annual report to Parliament since 2002, as required under the Human Rights Act 1999. None of its reports has been debated in Parliament.

Razali said Parliament must take ownership of protecting the fundamental rights of the people, adding that there is a growing international consensus around the importance of the role of the legislative branch in upholding human rights.   Read more

Suhakam to government: Don’t abuse Sosma

Source: FMT News

In its annual report Suhakam notes that Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin was held under Sosma for 10 days but has yet to be charged with any offence. Pic from FMT News.

In its annual report Suhakam notes that Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin was held under Sosma for 10 days but has yet to be charged with any offence. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has expressed concern over preventive laws that appear to extend beyond the scope of terrorism offences.

In particular, the commission named the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), which it said was originally meant for use only when there was an imminent threat to the country from terrorists.

“In its short lifespan, Sosma has been used for non-terrorism purposes and Suhakam has recorded complaints alleging abuse from detainees during their 28-day detention, such as interviews being conducted under conditions designed to humiliate detainees,” it said.

In its newly released annual report for 2016, the commission also emphasised the “troubling trend to undermine any serious attempt to analyse the human rights compatibility of this so-called counter-terrorism legislation”.

“Bluntly put, the broad characterisation of ‘security offences’ under the act appears to suggest that its ambit extends beyond terrorism offences,” it said.

Suhakam added that Articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guaranteed that no one was to be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, and that everyone was entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal of any criminal charge against him. Read more

Malaysia Rights Panel Disturbed Over More Than 600 Deaths in Prisons and Detention Centers — A. Ananthalakshmi

Source: US News

A general view of Bukit Jalil immigration detention center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo from Lai Seng Sin for Reuters.

A general view of Bukit Jalil immigration detention center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo from Lai Seng Sin for Reuters.

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s national human rights panel on Tuesday said it was disturbed by more than 600 deaths at immigration detention centers and prisons over the last two years, and called for immediate reform.

In its 2016 annual report, the panel, known by its Malay acronym, Suhakam, said there were more than 100 deaths in immigration detention centers and 521 deaths in prisons in 2015 and 2016. Twelve people died in police lock-ups in 2015.

Last week, citing documents from Suhakam, Reuters reported that 118 foreigners, including undocumented workers, refugees and asylum seekers, had died at detention centers in the last two years. More than half the dead were from Myanmar.

Suhakam said deaths mostly stemmed from diseases in all prisons and detention centers, where the government should look to improve conditions and healthcare.

“There is little interest in the human rights of detainees,” said Chairman Razali Ismail. “This attitude is reflected in government budgetary priorities and the resources made available for the running and upkeep of all places of detention.”

Read more

Child activist: Students joining gangs in school for RM30

Source: FMT News

He says those who refuse to be members are beaten up and even teachers are afraid of these student gangsters. Pic from FMT News.

He says those who refuse to be members are beaten up and even teachers are afraid of these student gangsters. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Students in some of the schools in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya can join gangs for as low as RM30, according to child rights activist James Nayagam.

Speaking to FMT, Nayagam said Form 1 students were often approached by seniors who were already members of a particular gang.

“They will look for lonely, timid students from some of the lower-performing classes and offer them protection.

“The catch is that they have to belong to that particular gang in order to be protected and membership costs RM30.”

He said part of the responsibility of being in a gang was that if there was any gang fight, either inside or outside the school, the members had to participate.

He added that when it came to joining the gangs, the students did not have much choice in the matter.

“If you do not pay for the membership and join the gang, then you are taken to a corner of a field and beaten up.” Read more