Malaysian elections: Next government must prioritize human rights — Amnesty International

Source: Amnesty International

Malaysia’s next government must put human rights at the heart of its policies and avoid repressive tactics like those that have marked the general election build-up, Amnesty International said ahead of polling day on 9 May.

“As Malaysians head to the polls, they will do so in a country where the space for freedom of expression has shrunk alarmingly in recent years. Regardless of who wins the vote this Wednesday, the next government must usher in a new era of respect for human rights,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher.

“Predictably, the authorities have placed arbitrary restrictions on the opposition, media and rights defenders leading up to the vote. Malaysians deserve a country where their rights are defended and upheld, not increasingly restricted at every turn.” Read more

Amnesty calls for ‘prisoner of conscience’ Tian Chua to be freed

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Tian Chua was charged under Section 4 (2) of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959 after he allegedly disobeyed police orders by refusing to leave Pulapol after being released. Pic by The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Amnesty International demanded today the release of Batu MP Chua Tian Chang who was last week sentenced to a month’s jail after being convicted of trespassing the restricted police training centre (Pulapol) here in 2012.

Despite the conviction, the international human rights watchdog insisted the PKR vice-president’s arrest was unlawful as he was just exercising his basic rights in a peaceful protest.

“The Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release opposition lawmaker Chua Tian Chang, who Amnesty International regards as a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for exercising his human rights peacefully,” it said in a statement.

The group also said the arrest of Chua, better known as Tian Chua, shows an “alarming abuse of power” by authorities against government critics. Read more

Malaysia’s Deportation of 3 Turks Condemned

Source: Benar News

U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen is hanged in effigy in Ankara, Turkey, during a protest targeting a failed coup against the government of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Aug. 2, 2016. Pic from AFP.

Three Turkish citizens who were in Malaysian custody for allegedly threatening national security have been deported to their home country because of suspected involvement with a cleric branded by Ankara as a terrorist leader, Malaysia’s police chief said Friday.

International rights groups and organizations Friday slammed the Malaysian decision to forcibly send the three back to Turkey, saying their lives would be in danger. The men’s relatives in Malaysia accused the authorities of failing to notify them about their loved ones’ expulsion in the middle of the night.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar said Friday the three were expelled a day earlier because they allegedly belonged to a group labelled by Turkey as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Read more

Nur Jazlan rejects talk of state role in abductions

Source: FMT News

He says police are investigating and the public shouldn't listen to rumours. Pic from FMT News.

He says police are investigating and the public shouldn’t listen to rumours. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed has rejected a suggestion that political interests may be behind the abduction of church leader Raymond Koh and the disappearance of another pastor and his wife, a welfare activist and a former aide to Subang MP R Sivarasa.

“The public shouldn’t entertain rumours,” Nur Jazlan told FMT when asked to comment on such a suggestion by Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Thomas Fann.

Speaking at a solidarity gathering for the missing four last Saturday, Fann said: “Since the release of the CCTV footage of Pastor Raymond’s abduction, many Malaysians have come to the conclusion that this looks like a state-sponsored group.”

He was referring to social media chatter and street rumours. A point raised in the rumours is that all of the missing persons, except former Sivarasa aide Peter Chong, are associated with religious activities that Malaysian authorities may not approve of. Read more

Amnesty honours Maria Chin for fighting injustice

Source: FMT News

(File) Maria Chin Abdullah, center, chairwoman of the Bersih movement - a coalition for clean and fair elections. Pic: AP.

(File) Maria Chin Abdullah, center, chairwoman of the Bersih movement – a coalition for clean and fair elections. Pic: AP.

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International has hailed Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah for her stand against injustice in the country.

In a statement released in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Amnesty’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Champa Patel, said Maria was a distinguished human rights activist who had faced harassment, threats, imprisonment and violence for standing up for human rights. Read more

Amnesty: Malaysia still lagging on rights issues

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Protesters sit on the road at Jalan Ampang during the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

Protesters sit on the road at Jalan Ampang during the Bersih 5 rally in Kuala Lumpur November 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 ― Malaysia has not made progress on various human rights areas, Amnesty International (AI) said in its annual report on the country released today.

The group highlighted six problem areas for the country: freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, arbitrary arrests and detentions, police and security forces, refugees and asylum seekers and death penalty.

“The persistent crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and the lack of police accountability in Malaysia are among the major concerns raised in the Amnesty International Report 2016/2017 released today. Read more

Profit vs Humanity: Which side are we on?

Source: Asian Correspondent

In our pursuit of wealth, have we lost our love for humanity? Source: alexmillos/Shutterstock

In our pursuit of wealth, have we lost our love for humanity? Source: alexmillos/Shutterstock

IT’s hard to ignore the ever increasing disparity of wealth throughout our world.

For many, they’ve never had it so good. More money, more possessions, more food than any one person could ever feasibly need. But alongside this world of excess resides a world of abject poverty and despair.

These two worlds are not mutually exclusive; sadly it is often the desperation of those most vulnerable that drives the profits of the wealthy. Major multinational corporations (MNC) are not only exploiting this disparity but enhancing it with systems of production that directly perpetuate the inequalities.

Harsh reminders of this lopsided system have come to light this week in a number of reports detailing extreme labour exploitation occurring throughout the region.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International released its damning report of child labour occurring on Indonesian palm plantations. Children as young as eight were reported to be working in “hazardous” conditions for long hours and low pay. Wilmar International Ltd, the Singapore based company who runs the offending plantations, supplies their product to global consumer companies including Unilever, Nestle, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble.

Another instance came to light from a Guardian investigation into the exploitation of migrant workers in McDonald’s restaurants in Malaysia. The Nepalese workers were deprived of their passports, paid a fraction of their promised wages and made to live in squalor while Human Connection HR, the recruitment company responsible, turned a profit and McDonald’s reaped the benefits of cheap labour. Read more

Amnesty International: Malaysiakini raid an ‘insult to freedom of expression’

Source: Malaysiakini

Global human rights movement Amnesty International has condemned the raid on Malaysiakini’s office yesterday by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

It said the raid is an ‘unwarranted attack’ and an insult to the freedom of expression in Malaysia, and the latest example of the crackdown on independent media in the country.

“This is pure intimidation and harassment of journalists who have been targeted solely for peacefully doing their work, which is to report the news.

“It is no coincidence that this is news the Malaysian authorities would rather suppress,” Amnesty International’s office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said in a statement today. Read more

URGENT ACTION — Death threats AGAINST BERSIH ORGANIZERS

Death threats AGAINST BERSIH ORGANIZERS

downloadDeath threats are the latest form of harassment levelled against the Chairperson of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) and other organizers, activists and supporters of the Bersih 5 rally, planned for 19 November, calling for electoral reform.

On 18 October, the Chairperson of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) Maria Chin Abdullah and her immediate family members; Bersih 2.0 Secretariat Manager, Mandeep Singh; and former chairperson, Ambiga Sreenevasan, received death threats via disturbing images in a WhatsApp message. Maria Chin Abdullah has previously faced threats for organizing the Bersih 5 rally. Following the rally’s announcement, she was reportedly subjected to a serious threat on her life which is now the subject of a police investigation.

Bersih 2.0 are organizing the Bersih 5 rally, planned for 19 November, calling for electoral reform. A Bersih convoy has been held around the country every weekend since 1 October and is planned to continue until the demonstration on 19 November. There have been a number of attacks by ‘anti-Bersih’ groups against the convoy as well as against three journalists covering the convoy. Those involved have lodged police reports for criminal intimidation and battery. There has been a pattern of arrests and excessive use of force by police against activists involved in the series of Bersih rallies held since 2007 as well as intimidation and threats by non-state actors. Perpetrators have rarely been held to account. Read more

Court decision another blow for freedom of peaceful assembly — Amnesty International

Source: The Malay Mail Online

OCT 12 — Amnesty International is gravely concerned with the decision of the Federal Court on 10 October, which ordered seven human rights activists and parliamentarians from the opposition party to face trial for participating in peaceful protests in 2015. The decision, which has happened in response to a constitutional challenge of several provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, highlights the ongoing pattern of repression against government critics in the country.

Opposition parliamentarians Chong Chieng Jen and Julian Tan Kok Ping were charged for participating in a Bersih 4 rally on 29 Aug 2015 in Kuching, while opposition parliamentarian Sim Tze Tzin and human rights activists Maria Chin Abdullah, Mandeep Singh, Fariz Musa and Adam Adli Abdul Halim were charged for participating in the #KitaLawan Rally on 28 Feb 2015 at the Sogo shopping mall and Esplanade KLCC. They were demanding political and electoral accountability and reform. Read more