Gender inequality, discrimination against minorities still rife, Comango reports

Source: The Malay Mail

(From left) Executive director of EMPOWER, Angela M. Kuga Thas, Advocacy and Capacity-building officer EMPOWER, Rizal Rozhan, executive director of Suaram, Sevan Doraisamy, and Migration Working Group (MWG) coordinator, Bina Ramanand, hold copies of the Comango UPR Stakeholder Report. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — In its report to the United Nations (UN) launched today, a coalition of local NGOs highlighted the continued rampancy of gender inequality and discriminations over religion, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, rights of the Orang Asli, and disabilities here.The report by Comango, which tracks progress in the field of human rights in Malaysia since the last UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), specifically highlighted the country’s dismal performance at the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) review earlier this year.

“The Cedaw Committee’s questions on matters that violate Muslim women’s rights were attacked by government-linked, Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organisations in the UPR Process (Macsa) and the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), both of which adhere to the Islamic human rights framework of the Cairo Declaration and therefore, reject gender equality.

“They and government officials claimed that female genital mutilation or cutting, whipping, polygamy, and women’s and girls’ unequal inheritance are non-issues in Malaysia,” said the report launched today. Read more

Comango: Previous administration backed attacks against human rights defenders

Source: The Malay Mail

Advocacy and Capacity-building officer of EMPOWER, Rizal Rozhan, speaks at the launch of the Comango UPR Stakeholder Report in Kuala Lumpur June 7, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Human rights defenders (HRDs) had been attacked by state-sanctioned and private groups under the previous government, a coalition of Malaysian NGOs asserted in a report to the United Nations (UN) launched today.

The report by Comango, which tracks progress in the field of human rights in Malaysia since the last UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), pointed out that the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration’s stance on some issues had resulted in violence, harassment, and hate speech against HRDs.

“The government failed to uphold the principles and values of The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and has tried to politicise the human rights situation on the ground and demonise HRDs,” it said.

“Comango’s involvement in Malaysia’s previous UPR resulted in the Home Ministry declaring Comango ‘illegal’, while Muslim-based groups in The Coalition of Muslim Organisations in the UPR Process (MuslimUPRo) organised hate and smear campaigns against Comango.” Read more

Malaysia on right track in human rights protection — Zulkefli

Source: The Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is already on the right track in protecting human rights with the establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999.

Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said the Act had set out the powers and functions of such a commission for the protection and promotion of human rights in Malaysia.

He said amongst the functions and powers of the Commission were to promote awareness and educate the public on human rights and to advise and assist the government in formulating legislation and administrative directives and procedures, as well as recommend the necessary measures to be taken.

He was speaking at a session of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) Judicial Colloquium titled “The Future of Judicial Cooperation on Human Rights Protection in Asean – Recommendations and The Way Forward” held at a hotel, here, today. Read more

No excuses for nixing human rights standards

Source: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Women’s rights activist Ivy Josiah today denounced those who cite cultural and religious rules for rejecting international human rights standards.

She said governments had no choice but to say “yes” to Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw).

“The article deals with how a state or government must address stereotyping and prejudices because of culture,” she pointed out. “It must do all in its power to change that mindset. One might say it will take a long time to do that, or that I’m not going to do that ever because it’s part of my culture and religion. No. Religion and culture cannot be used as an excuse to violate someone’s rights.” Read more

We Ask Stakeholders If Foreign Workers Are Entitled To Equal Rights As Local Employees

Source: Malaysian Digest

In recent years, Malaysia has frequently been linked to human rights abuses in the international media involving migrant workers and and victims of human trafficking.

Malaysia’s human trafficking score was even a topic of international political debate recently when the United States was accused of upgrading Malaysia’s score to Tier 2 Watch List to ensure that we meet the criteria as a signatory of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

FilePic: ANN

FilePic: ANN

According to a report by the Asian Century Institute in 2014, the number of foreign workers in Malaysia rose an alarming 340% to reach 1.8 million by 2010 but have our labour laws kept up with the times to cope with this sudden spike in foreign labour presence in our country?

Malaysia outsources workers from Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.

They are mostly employed in sectors involving heavy manual labour (the infamously labelled ‘3D’ jobs) in manufacturing, construction, plantation, agricultural and domestic help. However some Malaysians do not realize that they are vital for the economy and treat these workers without respect.

What is more worrying is the increase in the number of cases that make headlines involving Malaysians dispensing vigilante justice without any regard for the law. Read more

Treat transgender detainees humanely, group tells police

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Star Online reported Friday that 12 “transvestites” were arrested in George Town for various offences, including gang robbery and cross-dressing. File picture shows a general view of George Town. — Picture by K.E.Ooi

The Star Online reported Friday that 12 “transvestites” were arrested in George Town for various offences, including gang robbery and cross-dressing. File picture shows a general view of George Town. — Picture by K.E.Ooin

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — A transgender group urged the police today to accord humane treatment to trans women who were recently arrested in Penang.

Justice for Sisters also called for the repeal of laws that criminalise transgender people, after it was reported that six of the dozen trans women arrested last Thursday were investigated under Section 28 of the Penang Shariah Criminal Enactment 1996 for cross-dressing.

“These laws are not only discriminatory and violate fundamental human rights of transgender persons — including right to self-determination, freedom of movement and freedom of expression — but these laws are also open to abuse.

“In this case, although the women were asleep while they were arrested in their hotel rooms, they are still being investigated under Section 28,” Justice for Sisters said in a statement. Read more

Malaysia vows to battle child marriage despite fears of drop in fertility rate

Source: Channel News Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government is continuing its fight against the “harmful practice” of child marriage despite worries about citizens only tying the knot late in life, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Rohani Abdul Karim said on Thursday (Feb 25).

Under Sharia Law, girls in Malaysia can get married once they reach 16 years of age. (Photo: Syafiq Safian)

“Child, early and forced marriage is a violation of human rights,” Ms Rohani said while attending the Child, Early and Forced Marriage exhibition by the Canadian Government and Girls Not Brides, a global partnership advocating the end of child marriage.

“At the current alarming rising number of this sort of marriage, globally, it is literally ‘a scream’ to push all efforts to prevent and eliminate this harmful practice,” she added.

Although the legal age for marriage is 18 in the Muslim-majority nation, Sharia law allows Muslim girls to be married when they reach 16. Those who are younger are required to obtain a letter of consent from their parents as well as permission from the Shariah court and the chief minister of their state; the same applies to Muslim boys under the age of 18. Read more