UN expert slams pre-Bersih 5 arrests

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on assembly and association criticised today the arrests of 10 activists ahead of the Bersih 5 rally. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on assembly and association criticised today the arrests of 10 activists ahead of the Bersih 5 rally.

Maina Kiai said the “pre-emptive restriction of assembly rights” was counterproductive for Malaysia, its citizens and the ruling party.

“Malaysia — and indeed all countries — need a safety valve in situations where there is growing frustration and anger. How else can a government put its hand on the pulse of the people?” he said in a brief statement.

A Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association monitors and reports on the rights to peaceful assembly and of association worldwide.

Some nine activists and pro-Bersih politicians were arrested last night ahead of the Bersih 5 street demonstration this morning, including polls reform group Bersih 2.0 head Maria Chin Abdullah. Read more