KL tribunal on Rohingya crisis to hear victims’ testimonies

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A non-governmental tribunal on the conditions of the Rohingyas, Kachins and other reportedly persecuted minorities in Myanmar will be held in Kuala Lumpur later this month.

Organised by the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) and the International Forum on Buddhist-Muslim Relations (BMF), the event will see victims from the communities, providing testimonies on what they have experienced.

In a joint statement today, the three NGOs said the tribunal, with the Rome-based Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) acting as its convenor, would be the second and concluding session of proceedings that began in London in March. Read more

Non-interference must give way to human rights — Centhra

Source: The Malay Mail Online

AUGUST 28 — The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) is deeply concerned over the renewed violence affecting the Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine state in Myanmar which has caused hundreds of innocent lives killed and thousands other to flee to the border with neighbouring Bangladesh, whose border guards are turning them back in breach of international humanitarian principles.

While Asean members continue, disappointingly, to turn a blind eye, even the Pope, Francis I, has condemned the renewed violence and called for an end to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, which Centhra welcomes.

It must be emphasised that the current crisis in Rakhine state in Myanmar has the potential of unravelling the entire Asean project unless member states deal with it wisely. To this end, two international treaties binding the Asean community as a whole, namely the Asean Charter and the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). Read more

Religious NGOs must respect each other

Source: Brunei Post

KOTA MARUDU: A senior Sabah politician yesterday issued a stern warning against religious non-governmental organisations which tried to destabilise the country by taking the law into their own hands.

“We treasure the existing religious peace and harmony that we enjoyed since the formation of Malaysia,” said acting Parti Bersatu Sabah President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He made the call following a provocative proposal by a coalition of Islamic NGOs to ban Christian evangelicalism in Malaysia.

“Today’s harmonious situation has been achieved through respect for the Federal Constitution and practice of moderation and tolerance towards each other’s religion,” the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister added. Read more

Call to ban Evangelicalism simply wrong, says constitutional lawyer

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) CEO Azril Mohd Amin proposes that the ‘dangerous movement that is evangelicalism’ be kept in check as it ‘threatens religious harmony in Malaysia’. – YouTube screenshot, June 16, 2017.

EVERY Malaysian has the right to profess and practise his or her religion according to the Federal Constitution, and this right may not be restricted or denied by the state, a constitutional lawyer said, on the call to ban Evangelical Christianity in Malaysia.

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan said to outlaw evangelicalism here would be unconstitutional especially when the church worships in private without propagating to Muslims.

“Outlawing Evangelical Christianity would be unconstitutional. These are Christian denominations we are talking about, and Article 11(1) is clear; all persons have the right to profess and practise their religion.

“This right cannot be restricted or denied by the state at all. So there is no grounds to outlaw it,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), a coalition of Islamic groups, had said the banning of evangelicalism was in line with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, towards preserving peace among religions. Read more

DAP man defends marriage and divorce bill

Source: FMT News

M Kulasegaran says the CEO of Centhra needs a tuition on the amendments. Pic form FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran has rejected the opinion that the bill to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act (LRA) infringes on the liberty of Muslims.

Responding to comments made by Azril Mohd Amin, the CEO of Centhra (Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy), Kulasegaran said: “He has failed to realise that the proposed amendments to outlaw unilateral conversion is to deal with people who register their marriages under civil law and then try to cheat the system by converting.

“He should go and understand what the bill is meant for, and maybe take a law tuition class for that.”

He noted that one of the amendments would give civil courts the power to deal with divorces involving Muslims, including those who convert from another religion after their marriages.

Read more

Marriage and divorce bill unfair to Muslims, says think tank

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A think tank has criticised proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act, saying they infringe on the liberty of Muslims, particularly the newly converted.

Giving an example of such infringement, Azril Mohd Amin, chief executive officer of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), pointed to the requirement for consent of both parents for conversion of a child to Islam.

“This is discriminatory against Muslims as conversion to other religions requires no such joint consent,” he said.

He added that the requirement for joint consent would violate the Federal Constitution, which states that the religion of a child below the age of 18 shall be decided by his parent (either the mother or father) or guardian. Read more

Muslim NGO: It is Malays who are discriminated against

Source: FMT News

Centre for the Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) refutes US report that minorities in Malaysia are being discriminated against. FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), a coalition of Islamic NGOs, claims that it is actually the Malay Muslims who suffer religious discrimination in the country, while the minorities are free to practice their religions.

In refuting the findings of a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Centhra chief executive officer Azril Mohd Amin said minorities in Malaysia do not suffer any religious discrimination.

“The reality is quite the opposite. The Malay majority suffers from discrimination on grounds of religious belief while the minorities are allowed free passes, even to the extent of breaking laws, on grounds of freedom of religion,” he claimed.

Centhra was responding to the USCIRF’s 2017 report which outlined some of the restrictions on religious freedom in the nation. Among other things, it said the Malaysian government actively restricted freedom of expression and punished those who criticised it, including online. Read more

Labelled ‘militant’, LGBT community says joined Bersih 5 to uphold democracy

Source: The Malay Mail Online

LGBT rights supporters join Bersih 5 rally holding a banner by the Pelangi Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — Picture courtesy of Joshua Tan, taken from MMO

LGBT rights supporters join Bersih 5 rally holding a banner by the Pelangi Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — Picture courtesy of Joshua Tan, taken from MMO

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — The local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has defended some of its members’ decision to join the Bersih 5 rally last month, after a group called Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) labelled them “militant” for the act.

In a statement today, the community said LGBT persons and groups stand in solidarity with diverse groups and all people living in Malaysia calling for good, transparent and accountable governance in our country.

“How else could LGBT persons seek justice and create a better Malaysia if not by speaking up and participating in democracy?” it asked in the statement endorsed by 29 civil societies.

“Centhra, however, is suggesting that LGBT persons cannot be seen, be in solidarity, participate and exercise our constitutional rights. For Centhra, LGBT persons should remain hidden, silent and accept the gross discrimination and violence that we experience.

“The fact that there is consistent resistance to LGBT persons whenever we take a visible stance demonstrates deep levels of homophobia and transphobia that need to be addressed through meaningful engagements with LGBT persons and in accordance to international standards of human rights,” it added.

The community said LGBT persons are being denied fundamental human rights and face discrimination and violence just for being who they are, and the views espoused by Centhra only increase risks and challenges they face.

“We remind Centhra that Malaysia is a member of the United Nations and is obligated to uphold international human rights standards. We also call for meaningful dialogue and engagement with the LGBT community to promote understanding instead of misinformed condemnation, moral posturing and fear mongering,” it said. Read more

LGBT Malaysians uphold democracy because we are citizens

Source: Malaysiakini

LETTER

LGBT rights supporters join Bersih 5 rally holding a banner by the Pelangi Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — Picture courtesy of Joshua Tan, taken from MMO

LGBT rights supporters join Bersih 5 rally holding a banner by the Pelangi Campaign for Equality and Human Rights Initiative in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — Picture courtesy of Joshua Tan, taken from MMO

We are appalled by the absurd, irresponsible and inaccurate claims made by the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) chief executive Azril Mohd Amin regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in two news articles here and here dated Nov 27, 2016.

In both articles, Centhra irresponsibly labeled LGBT persons and groups as ‘militant’ simply for participating in Bersih 5 and supporting the urging for clean and fair elections. LGBT persons and groups stand in solidarity with diverse groups and all people living in Malaysia urging good, transparent and accountable governance in our country.

In the articles, Centhra also criticised Bersih for allowing LGBT persons to participate in the rallies. We find the urging to isolate and police LGBT groups and persons deeply troubling.

The fact is, LGBT persons are often denied some, if not all, of fundamental human rights because of our sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Many LGBT persons face gross discrimination and violence within homes, schools, workplace, hospitals, and public sectors simply for being who we are. Centhra’s views increase risks and challenges for LGBT persons to seek assistance and access justice when violence occurs. Read more

Constitutional solutions must be at forefront of all human rights concerns, Centhra urges

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) has urged the newly appointed members of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to have due regard for the provisions stipulated in the Federal Constitution in exercising their functions, particularly in the human rights areas concerning freedom of religion and equality, as well as freedom of speech, assembly and association.

Centhra also drew their attention to Section 4(4) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 (Act 597), which states that “they shall have regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) insofar as the same does not contradict the Federal Constitution”.

“This would mean that efforts to further human rights based on the UDHR in Malaysia cannot go against national principles stipulated by our apex law,” Centhra Chief Executive Azril Mohd Amin said in a statement yesterday.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the appointment of former diplomat Tan Sri Razali Ismail as Suhakam chairman and Professor Datuk Dr Aishah Bidin, Francis Johen anak Adam, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Datuk Godfrey Gregory Joitol, Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Salleh, Jerald Joseph and Datuk Lok Yim Pheng as its new members for the 2016-2019 period. Read more