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

Dignity for Meera — Azrul Mohd Khalib

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY AZRUL MOHD KHALIB

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

FEBRUARY 27 —This past week, we have been sickened by the case of Sameera Krishnan. A worker at a florist, she was attacked by masked individuals who repeatedly shot and slashed her with an edged weapon resulting in severe wounds to her head, arms and legs. She did not survive the attack. Her body was found in the wee hours of the morning.

The reasons behind such brutality and her murder can only be speculated at this point. The degree of cruelty and savagery needed to inflict such harm on another human being is often unable to be understood or seen unless you work in criminology or law enforcement.

But for many who work who work in the area of human rights, particularly dealing with sexuality, acts of abuse and violence can be an altogether familiar story.

While this incident has been considered by police to not be a hate crime, I want to take this opportunity to once again to highlight the incidences of harassment, discrimination and abuse experienced by the transgender community.

The Federal Constitution guarantees the protection of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. It provides for all Malaysians the same fundamental rights and protections. That all persons are equal before the law and entitled to its equal protection. A person shouldn’t and cannot be singled out or criminalised for simply being who and what they are.

I hope that there will be justice for Meera and that the authorities will do all that they can to find, capture and bring the perpetrators to court. But it can be a daunting task for members of this community to look for justice when they themselves are often victims of persecution. Read more

Cops: Transgender’s murder not a hate crime

Source: The Star Online

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Tragic end: Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan. Pic taken from The Star Online.

KUANTAN: There is no element of hate crime in the murder of transgender woman Sameera Krishnan.

“We are looking into the victim’s past activities and also whether the murder was linked to a kidnapping case in Klang two years ago.

“We are investigating if it was an act of vengeance but there is no indication that the murder was a hate crime against a transgender individual,” said Pahang CID chief Senior Asst Commissioner Datuk Raja Shahrom Raja Abdullah.

Sameera, 26, was the main witness in her own kidnapping case, which had been set for hearing at the Shah Alam court early next month.

In the 2015 case, she was rescued by police when her captors’ car was involved in an accident with another vehicle at the Sungai Rasau toll plaza.

Early Thursday morning, Sameera was found dead with a gunshot wound and her body mutilated in Jalan Pasar, Kuantan, after she went out to buy food.

Kuantan OCPD Asst Comm Ab­­dul Aziz Salleh said police were taking the case seriously like any other crime.

“The point is someone was murdered so police will investigate this case thoroughly according to procedure as always,” he said. Read more