Hope for refugees in the new Malaysia? — Dennis Ignatius

Source: Free Malaysia Today

By Dennis Ignatius

One of the great failures of the former BN regime when it came to human rights was its dismal record in honouring its moral and legal obligations towards those fleeing political, religious or ethnic persecution in their homelands. For BN, it was all about political expediency instead of respect for sacrosanct principles.

Many genuine refugees and asylum seekers were hastily handed back into the hands of their tormentors, never to be heard of again. For quite a few, it resulted in long years of incarceration, torture, persecution and great anguish. That our nation was party to such terrible acts will forever be to our shame.

Among the more infamous cases were that of a Saudi blogger fleeing to New Zealand who was apprehended in Malaysia and sent back to Jeddah, several Turkish nationals living in Malaysia who were arrested in almost clandestine fashion and handed over to President Erdogan’s secret police, and dozens of Uighurs who were deported to China despite being registered with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Read more

How Malaysia’s legal system allows child marriage, five cases daily

Source: Malay Mail

Under state Islamic laws, the marriageable age is 18 for boys and 16 for girls, but Shariah courts have the authority to give consent to those below the permitted age to get married. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — In Malaysia, there are ways for children below 18 to get married, thanks to various “loopholes” in the dual legal system of Shariah and civil law.

The dual legal system, a result of the Reid Commission’s decision to make religion a state matter in 1956, separates legislation into civil law, which applies to non-Muslims, and Shariah law which applies to Muslims.

The statute governing non-Muslim marriages and divorces is the federal Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976, while Muslim marriages and divorces are governed by the respective state Islamic Family Laws.

Over 9,000 cases of child marriage occurred between 2010 and 2015, which averaged to about five cases a day.

A total of 6,268 of the child marriage cases involved Muslim couples, while the remaining 2,775 involved non-Muslims, according to data published in Penang Institute’s Child Marriages in Malaysia report. Read more

Saifuddin: Putrajaya to sign more UN human rights treaties

Source: Malay Mail

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a press conference at Wisma Putra in Putrajaya, July 2 2018. Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — The Foreign Affairs Ministry will focus on improving several policies, such as pertaining to human rights, freedom, the environment and sustainable development, said the new Foreign Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said the government had pledged to sign six more international human rights conventions and achieve the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Saifuddin, who was sworn in today, said that as Asean policies remained the priority, the ministry would also continue to enhance bilateral ties in the region.

“We will continue with our foreign policies and continue our bilateral ties with all countries.

“Neutrality policies will be continued and we are also looking at several improvements in the area of human rights and SDGs,” he told reporters after attending a briefing session with ministry officials here. Read more

DPM moots Shariah Court SOP for child marriage

Source: Malay Mail

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women and Family Development, Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will look into a standardised screening process for marriages involving minors, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.

The deputy prime minister, who is also in charge of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, said the proposal is to protect the welfare of minors while upholding the sanctity of the Shariah Courts and the Native Courts in east Malaysia.

“There will always be exceptions to certain things… like customary marriages in Sabah and Sarawak, which we have to take into consideration.

“That is why we want to do [it] at the federal level.

“If you want to get married, at least we have a standard operating procedure that we must adhere to,” she said at her ministry’s Hari Raya open house here.

Dr Wan Azizah said the guideline will likely include making medical and psychological tests compulsory for children who want to get married. Read more

STATEMENT: HAKAM calls for the Elimination of Child Marriages once and for all

STATEMENT DATED 1 Jul 2018pdf

HAKAM CALLS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF CHILD MARRIAGES IN MALAYSIA ONCE AND FOR ALL

Pic from an Amnesty International event to denounce child marriage on October 27, 2016 in Rome. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

 

HAKAM is calling the Minister for Women, Family & Community Development to push for new laws to ban and criminalise child marriages in Malaysia.

It is not sufficient that laws allowing child marriages be repealed, there must be laws put in place to eliminate and  prohibit child marriage as such early marriages are a violation of human rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child especially when Malaysia is a party to the convention.

Read more