Civil society Groups push for Asean human rights court

Source: INQUIRER.NET

Civil society organizations across Southeast Asia on Saturday called on their governments to prepare the ground for the establishment of an independent regional court to promote and protect human rights and prosecute abuses by member states.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Civil Society Conference (ACSC) said it was time for the regional bloc to create its own human rights court, especially since governments in the region were “installing laws and committing actions that continue to destroy the enabling environment for civil society organizations and grassroots organizations.”

“Ordinary innocent people become targets of extrajudicial killings. Leaders of groups challenging government policies are harassed, jailed, disappeared or even killed,” said Jelen Paclarin, ACSC’s regional steering committee chair. Read more

Censorship keeping Malaysians in their ‘cocoon’, says activist

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lena Hendry said screenings of human rights documentaries ― generally not shown on television channels ― are important to create greater awareness for a better society. ― Pictures by Choo Choy May for the MMO.

PETALING JAYA, April 30 ― Banning the screening of documentaries keeps Malaysians inside their “cocoons” instead of learning more about the world, a local activist has said.

Lena Hendry said screenings of human rights documentaries ― generally not shown on television channels ― are important to create greater awareness for a better society.

“So how do we actually show these films to society, to actually say there’s something happening in your backyard. The indigenous people are being persecuted; the plantation workers are evicted from their homes; there is an urban poor community. How is society going to know when these films are not going to be allowed to be screened?” she asked at a public forum on film censorship last week.

From her personal experience, Hendry said there were multiple obstacles that impeded the local screening of documentaries that presented an alternative to the accepted portrayal that made it seem as if such screenings posed a “threat to national security”. Read more

Re-stitching Malaysia’s social fabric

Source: The Star Online

Findings show that strategies and initiatives are needed to foster greater interaction between communities.

WHEN the protest of Malaysians for fair elections and against corruption is reframed as an attack by non-Malays against the dignity of Malays, we should be alarmed. Race seems to be the default narrative to explain everything one is unhappy about, from frustrations at school to dissatisfaction at work to altercations in the neighbourhood.

The fact that multi-cultural Malaysia has enjoyed decades of prosperity with little violent conflict does not necessarily equate to harmony. In recent years, with religion being politicised to reinforce communal barriers and more children being schooled separately, we intuitively know that Malaysia’s Malays, Chinese and Indians are growing further apart.

But what are the real facts? How do we measure growing apart? Do we really know what helps commu­­nal integration and what does not, and what simply fuels the divide? Read more