Work on police misconduct commission, rights group tells Putrajaya

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday

KUALA LUMPUR: Rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) today urged the new Pakatan Harapan government to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission in its first term of office as outlined in its election manifesto.

In a statement, HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams said this would ensure that all allegations of misconduct are investigated in a fair and comprehensive way.

He added that such measures were critical to reforming the country’s police force.

Adams said the PH government, headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, must also move swiftly to implement the human rights commitments set out in its election manifesto.

He said the organisation had written to Mahathir on the matter, adding that Malaysia could become a regional example of a protector and proponent of human rights and rule of law by fulfilling these promises. Read more

Global rights group says Malaysia sliding towards conservative Islam

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A global human rights organisation today urged Malaysian government officials to speak out against the rising tide of religious intolerance rather than contribute to it.

In its 2018 World Report released in New York, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Putrajaya continued to shift toward a more conservative Islam.

It cited PAS’s plans to introduce amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, allowing shariah courts to impose stiffer punishments on Muslim offenders.

The report also noted the arrest of Turkish academic Mustafa Akyol by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department, for giving a talk on Islam without official credentials from religious authorities.

HRW Asia deputy director Phil Robertson said Prime Minister Najib Razak should speak out for all Malaysians.

“In a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, Najib should defend the rights of everyone in the country to speak freely and practise their religion without fear,” he said.

HRW also questioned the claim by Najib that freedom of speech was “thriving” in Malaysia, saying the reality did not reflect this. Read more

Rights group criticises US after Malaysia upgraded on human trafficking list

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. — AP File Pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — The US State Department’s move to drop Malaysia from its people smuggling watch list yesterday belies the latter’s “mediocre” efforts in the area, according to the Human Rights Watch.

HRW’s deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson complained that Malaysia made no effort to identify the different categories of people smuggling, which allowed debt-bonded foreign workers to escape classification as victims of human trafficking.

Other problems such as overcrowded detention facilities, failure to institute the “moderate” reforms promised, and corruption among enforcement officials made further mockery of Malaysia’s removal from the department’s Tier 2 Watch List in its latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, he added.

“For the second year in a row, it’s no exaggeration to say the section on Malaysia undermines the credibility of TIP report,” he said in a statement. Read more

Watchdog calls for end to state laws criminalising gender, sexual identity

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Taylor’s University had explained that it cancelled LGBT awareness event at its campus because the organisers did not obtain its approval. — AFP pic

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Malaysia noted that attacks against trans women have become increasingly brutal. — AFP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Malaysian laws criminalising activities like cross-dressing has led to increased discrimination and violence against transgenders and those of different sexual identities and orientations, an international human rights watchdog said.

In its latest report to the United Nations committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on Malaysia released Friday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted that attacks against these peoples, especially trans women, have become increasingly brutal.

It highlighted the February murder of a trans woman named Sameera in Kuantan, Pahang whose body was also mutilated as a recent example of the growing phobia taking against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the country.

The organisation further noted the increased frequency of state-sanctioned raids, arrests and prosecution of transgenders who are subjected to rough treatment under detention, and added that these have far-reaching socio-economic repercussions. 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

Malaysia: Longtime Turkish Residents Detained

Source: Human Rights Watch

(Kuala Lumpur) – Malaysian authorities on May 2, 2017, detained without charge two Turkish nationals who are longtime Kuala Lumpur residents, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should provide the basis for holding the men – Turgay Karaman, the principal of Time International School in Ipoh, and Ihsan Aslan, a Kuala Lumpur-based businessman – and allow them full access to legal counsel and contact with their families.

On May 3, Malaysia’s inspector general of police, Khalid Abu Bakar, tweeted that police were holding the men on suspicion of national security offenses under article 130 of Malaysia’s penal code, relating to harboring or assisting a “prisoner of State.” But at a news conference the next day, Khalid said the two were being held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA), an administrative detention law. Read more

Southeast Asia’s leaders steer away from democracy, say activists

Source: FMT News

By every measure, the region is falling deeper into dictatorship, repression, and rights abuse. Pic from FMT News.

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war is part of a worrying assault on human rights and democracy across Southeast Asia, activists said as regional leaders gathered in Manila on Friday.

Duterte has been condemned in the West for the crackdown, which has claimed thousands of lives since he took power last year, but he is expected to enjoy the support of most of his guests as he hosts the heads of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

This is partly because the leaders of most other countries in the region have few democratic credentials themselves, or have human rights clouds hanging over them, according to Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. Read more

Malaysia: Reject Security Bill Extension – Let Abusive Detention Provision Lapse

Source: Human Rights Watch

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government’s proposal to extend its authority to detain security suspects for 28 days violates the right to prompt judicial review, Human Rights Watch said today. The provision of the 2012 Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) that allows senior police officials to detain people without charge to investigate “security offenses” will lapse on July 31, 2017, if not renewed by parliament.

“Since 2012, Malaysian authorities have repeatedly used the security offenses law to pursue a political agenda of detaining outspoken activists without charge,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Parliament should recognize the harm this detention provision causes both for ordinary Malaysians and for Malaysia’s reputation abroad, and reject it before further damage is done.”

Section 4(5) of SOSMA, which the government is seeking to reauthorize for another five years, permits detention for 28 days without any judicial oversight, violating international human rights standards for prompt judicial review. Although the law provides that no one is to be arrested “solely for his political belief or political activity,” it defines “political activity” narrowly, leaving room for authorities to arrest and detain people for other forms of peaceful political activity. Read more

Rights groups rail against activist’s conviction for screening film

Source: FMT News

Suaram condemns attempt to punish Lena Hendry for simply screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war while Human Rights Watch alleges political motivation. Pic from FMT News.

Suaram condemns attempt to punish Lena Hendry for simply screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war while Human Rights Watch alleges political motivation. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups are crying foul over the conviction of activist Lena Hendry for her role in showing a documentary film on war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

The programme coordinator at rights group Pusat Komas was found guilty by the Magistrates’ Court yesterday of screening an uncensored documentary, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”, on July 3, 2013.

“No Fire Zone” tells the story of war crimes committed in the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called the conviction a violation of Lena’s freedom of expression, adding that it was not in line with international rights standards.

In a statement today, HRW said the move appeared to be motivated by Putrajaya’s desire to appease the Sri Lankan embassy officials whom the NGO said had publicly demanded that the film not be shown. They had also visited the venue on the day of the film’s screening to urge venue managers to cancel the event, HRW said. Read more