Invitation to “Human Rights Conversations” on 8th Dec 2018

In conjunction with World Human Rights Day, HAKAM will be organizing an event titled “Human Rights Conversations”.

The details of the event are as follows:

Date    :         8th December 2018 (Saturday)
Time   :          2.00 – 5.00pm
Venue :          Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaya Clubhouse, Jalan Susur, Damansara, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.

The Foreign Minister, YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, will be delivering a keynote speech on “Ratifying International Human Rights Treaties: Why, When & How?”. The event will also feature speakers such as Deputy Minister of Women, Family & Community Development, YB Hannah Yeoh, recently retired Federal Court Judge Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali and Cartoonist Zunar.

The full agenda of the event, as well as the official poster, is attached in this email.

HAKAM cordially invites all HAKAM members to attend this flagship event. Political parties, foreign embassies, civil society & the public will be present. To register, kindly send your details to info@hakam.org.my. Seats are limited.

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

Students, activists believe Dr M will unshackle universities

Source: Malay Mail

Placards promoting academic freedom line the road heading into Universiti Malaya on December 12, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Students and activists affected by laws curbing academic freedom — a legacy of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s previous administration — expressed faith today that the prime minister will honour his word and free universities from decades of political interference.

Two student leaders who were punished by their universities for dissidence told a forum on academic freedom here that they expect nothing less than total autonomy for universities, and they were optimistic that the man blamed for the laws that fettered academia will respond accordingly.

“He had said he would honour his word,” Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, one of the leaders that led the Tangkap M01 movement, told a forum organised by Fortify Rights, an advocacy group that documents human rights violations in Malaysian campuses.

“And one of the pledges made by Pakatan Harapan in their manifesto is to amend AUKU,” he added.

AUKU, or the University and Colleges Act, was introduced in 1971 in what critics said was aimed at curbing the rise of student activists critical of the ruling Barisan Nasional government at the time. Read more

PSM wants SOP change to help stateless people become Malaysians

Source: Malay Mail

Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devraj speaks to reporters at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur June 27, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) urged the National Registration Department today to amend its standard operating procedure (SOP) to confer citizenship on stateless people.

PSM central committee member Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj today brought some 20 stateless persons, born and bred in Malaysia but denied their right to an identification card, to meet the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC).

“We are asking the government enact a new SOP to approve citizenship for any children born in Malaysia, to a Malaysian father who can be identified through records like a birth certificate or DNA test.

“On top of that, the SOP needs to be amended so that all children who have been adopted for more than five years by a Malaysian family can also get citizenships,” he told reporters at Ilham Tower today. Read more

Suhakam to probe inmate’s death at Bentong prison

Source: Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has opened investigations into the death of Mariappan Manivannan at the Bentong prison in Pahang.

Suhakam commissioner Gerald Joseph said the commission began its investigation a day after he died on June 6.

“From what I heard from the family, there was no indication of abuse but the issue here is negligence.

“There are serious issues at stake. Why must someone die in our penal system?

“In Malaysia, no one should die for any reason except natural causes. I think, in this case, the death could have been prevented,” he said today after meeting Mariappan’s family members, led by the stepfather, Ayyakanu Sinnasamy, 45. Read more

Muhyiddin orders IGP to submit report on Siti Kasim’s case

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin – Bernama file photo

PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has directed the Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun to submit a comprehensive report on the arrest of lawyer and activist Siti Kasim who was accused of kidnapping her client and preventing police officers from discharging their duties.

Muhyiddin said he had asked for the report to be submitted before any action is taken on the matter.

He said he had taken cognisance of the public outcry over the matter but as the home minister, he had to balance public interest with the private interests of those directly affected without impeding police investigations.

“I have also noted lawyer Siti Kasim’s response that she was at all times acting as legal counsel for the victim.

“I am fully aware of the right of the individual to legal counsel, and the right of counsel to act without being subjected to threats and harrassment by any parties,” he said in a statement. Read more

Arrest of Siti Kasim draws flak from all quarters

Source: The Star Online

KAJANG: The arrest of lawyer activist Siti Kasim and the police application of remand for her have drawn much outrage from lawyers and activists in the country.

They criticised the actions of the men in blue, saying that the matter could have been resolved amicably.

A number of lawyers and social activists showed up in solidarity with Siti at the Kajang magistrate’s court where the police attempted to obtain a remand order.

They included lawyer and National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah. Read more

Dozens join vigil in Dataran Merdeka for Pastor Koh, Amri

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

A banner by activist group CAGED showing the four people who have disappeared under mysterious circumstance, (from left) social activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Raymond Koh, and Pastor Joshua Hilmi and wife, Ruth. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 10, 2017.

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 60 people gathered at Dataran Merdeka tonight in solidarity with the families of missing activists Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat.

Susanna Liew and Norhayati Ariffin, the wives of Koh and Amri, stood hand in hand consoling each other, as they pleaded for their husbands’ return.

“Return our husbands to us!” they cried out, standing in one corner of the iconic square. “Give our children their fathers back!” said Norhayati.

Liew thanked those who came, and repeated her plea for information on her husband’s mysterious abduction in broad daylight early last year. Read more