Why Malaysia failed to get on the UN Human Rights Council — Zan Azlee

Source: Asian Correspondent

BY ZAN AZLEE

LAST week, Malaysia faced a slight disappointment when they lost their bid to be elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The last time the country was on the council was five years ago, with membership ending in 2013.

Out of 16 countries that were vying for a spot on the council, 15 made it, making Malaysia the sole candidate to lose its bid. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman mentioned that the loss could be attributed to North Korea and Burma (Myanmar) going back on their promise to vote. Read more

Malaysia loses bid to get elected to UN Human Rights Council

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Malaysia has lost its bid to be elected to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council after a five-year absence from the council, after emerging as the only country to miss out on a seat among 16 countries vying for 15 seats worldwide.

In a notice today, the United Nations announced that 15 countries have been elected to replace outgoing members for the term 2018-2020.

Malaysia, which had put forward its candidature back in January, did not make the cut.

The election is conducted via a secret ballot by member nations.

Malaysia sat on the Human Rights Council consecutively between 2006-2009 and between 2010-2013.

Malaysia was one of six countries which initially vied for the four Asia Pacific vacant seats on the council, though Maldives later withdrew their candidacy.

All the other candidates in the region — Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and Qatar succeeded in their bid, with Qatar being re-elected.

UN expert urges states to work toward cyber surveillance treaty

Source: FMT News

As violations on online privacy increases, more needs to be done to enhance protection against surveillance -- pic taken from FMT News

As violations on online privacy increases, more needs to be done to enhance protection against cyber-surveillance — pic taken from FMT News

NEW YORK: The world needs an international treaty to protect people’s privacy from unfettered cybersurveillance, which is being pushed by populist politicians preying on fear of terrorism, according to a UN report debated on Wednesday.

The report, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN independent expert on privacy, Joe Cannataci, said traditional privacy safeguards such as rules on phone tapping were outdated in the digital age.

“It’s time to start reclaiming cyberspace from the menace of over-surveillance,” Cannataci told the Council.

With governments worldwide demanding data from firms such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter, it did not make sense to rely entirely on US legal safeguards, and creating an “international warrant” for data access or surveillance would unify global standards, he said.

“What the world needs is not more state-sponsored shenanigans on the Internet but rational, civilized agreement about appropriate state behavior in cyberspace,” the report said. “This is not utopia. This is cold, stark reality.” Read more

UN rights envoy urges inquiry into abuses of Rohingya in Myanmar

Source: IRIN News

By Jared Ferrie

The front page of Myanmar's state-run newspaper on 9 February 2017 carried two articles about government attempts to investigate alleged military abuses of Rohingya. Pic by Jared Ferrie/IRIN

The front page of Myanmar’s state-run newspaper on 9 February 2017 carried two articles about government attempts to investigate alleged military abuses of Rohingya. Pic by Jared Ferrie/IRIN

The UN should launch an inquiry into military abuses of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslims, because the government is incapable of carrying out a credible investigation, the UN’s rights envoy will tell the Human Rights Council next month.
Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, told IRIN that she will urge member states to sponsor a resolution for a commission of inquiry when she presents her report to the Council in Geneva on 13 March.
“I never said in the past to a reporter what I plan to put in my report,” she said in a phone interview. “This time I am making this point: I will certainly be pushing for an inquiry, definitely, on the Rohingya situation.”
Rights groups have, over the past few years, been urging the UN to investigate reports of abuses against the Rohingya, a mostly stateless minority forced to live under an apartheid system. But the calls have become more urgent since reports of mass rapes, killings, and other atrocities began to emerge in early October, when the military launched counterinsurgency operations.

Read more

UN appoints Vitit to protect LGBT rights worldwide

Source: The Star Online

LONDON: The UN Human Rights Council appointed Vitit Muntar­bhorn (pic) as its first independent investigator to safeguard the rights of homosexual and transgender community across the world amid strong objections by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.

The first independent investigator’s main job will be to help protect homosexual and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.

The UN expert Vitit will have a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT) people.

Vitit is an international law professor at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and has served on several UN bodies, including inquiries on Syria and as a special rapporteur on North Korea. Read more