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Thread: Governance: THE UN DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    Governance: THE UN DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

    The UN Declaration of Human Rights

    PREAMBLE


    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,


    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,


    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,


    Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,


    Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


    Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,


    Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,


    Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.


    Article 1.

    • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


    Article 2.

    • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.


    Article 3.

    • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.


    Article 4.

    • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.


    Article 5.

    • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


    Article 6.

    • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.


    Article 7.

    • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.


    Article 8.

    • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.


    Article 9.

    • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.


    Article 10.

    • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.


    Article 11.

    • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
    • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.


    Article 12.

    • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.


    Article 13.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.


    Article 14.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
    • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.


    Article 15.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
    • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.


    Article 16.

    • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.


    Article 17.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
    • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.


    Article 18.

    • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.


    Article 19.

    • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


    Article 20.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    • (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.


    Article 21.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
    • (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
    • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.


    Article 22.

    • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.


    Article 23.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.


    Article 24.

    • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.


    Article 25.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.


    Article 26.

    • (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
    • (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
    • (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.


    Article 27.

    • (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.


    Article 28.

    • Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.


    Article 29.

    • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
    • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
    • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.


    Article 30.

    • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
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  2. #2
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    DEC
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    The Challenge to Ratify Universal Human Rights Conventions


    Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, head of Malaysia’s Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, head of Malaysia’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMMF), Proham, an association of former Malaysian Human Rights Commissioners, and many others have urged Malaysia to ratify 7 additional United Nations Core Human Rights instruments by 2020.



    The UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia which was conducted on 24 October 2013 continues to be widely discussed.



    On 9 December, Proham and GMMF hosted a discussion on the UPR. It included presentations from constitutional expert Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi and Malaysia’s OIC Human Rights Commissioner and specialist in Islamic law, Professor Raihanah Abdullah and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, Principal Research Fellow at UKM and a former Human Rights Commissioner.



    On 10 December, the world observed United Nations Day. On this day Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, a retired career diplomat who has often defended Malaysia on the international scene, spoke at a Suhakam/UN event in Kuala Lumpur. He said Suhakam would urge the government to ratify all core UN instruments. He also said Suhakam will meet with Malaysian stakeholders to discuss the UPR. The list of invitees will include MuslimUPRo.



    On 15 December, Berita Minggu published an article by Azril Mohd Amin, who led MuslimUPro, a coalition of Muslim NGO’s to the UPR process in Geneva; Azril is also vice president of Malaysia’s Muslim Lawyers Association.



    Titled “Cabaran meratifikasi konvensyen hak asasi manusia sejagat” (“The Challenge to ratify Universal Human Rights Conventions”), the article names Hasmy Agam, Saifuddin and Proham.



    We will not rehearse what the article says about them. It is enough to note that Hasmy was appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agung; Saifuddin was appointed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Proham is composed of persons who had been appointed Human Rights Commissioners by careful processes.



    The article, seemingly speaking for Muslims in Malaysia, says nothing of the fact that the official Malaysian delegation to the first UPR in 2008 had about 100 members, whilst the second, in 2013 had 36 members. A majority of the official delegates were Muslims.



    The article says nothing about Malaysia courting the UN – all our Prime Ministers, all of them Muslims, have taken the UN seriously: our current Prime Minister announced the creation of the GMMF in a speech to the United Nations. GMMF’s goal is to demonstrate to the world how wasattiah (“justly balanced moderation”) can be applied to promote world peace; our diplomats are hard at work to get us a seat on the UN Security Council.



    The article fails to acknowledge the wider diplomatic picture, and fails to take into account what 104 nations – including 34 Muslim-majority nations – said. It’s easy to dismiss it as mere ranting. Yet, it’s worth engaging, because it offers an opportunity to examine some common arguments against ratification.



    (a) Argument # 1: We have already done much to ensure that Malaysians enjoy a high standard of human rights; therefore we don’t need external standards.



    If we have such great enjoyment of human rights, why are Penans protesting the loss of their lands? Why do we have deaths in custody? Why do our policemen and prison wardens work in such filthy, degraded conditions? Why do Indonesia and Bangladesh ask us to improve our treatment of their nationals who work here?



    Should we also say that airplanes and drugs developed or used in Malaysia don’t need to be subject to international standards?



    Just as all decent businesses sign-up to standards and invite third parties to audit them, many countries do the same. So should we. We should state our aspirations and welcome scrutiny, so that we can be world leaders, not mere followers.



    (b) Argument # 2: The number of instruments signed by a nation is not a sufficient measure of the enjoyment of human rights in that nation.



    This ‘argument’ is what logicians call a straw-man: saying something which no one is saying, and then cutting it to shreds with sharp arguments.



    The fact that we have a law doesn’t necessarily mean we apply it. Just consider how few are prosecuted for giving and receiving bribes in Malaysia, though we acknowledge corruption is a major problem: we even have billboards about corruption in the arrival hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.



    Ratification is a commitment to an aspiration and a process of improvement, not proof of excellence.



    (c) Argument # 3: The ranking of countries according to how many instruments they have signed has no value.



    As argued in (b) above, the ranking shows aspiration. Isn’t it worth knowing whether a country aspires to achieve at least a “minimum standard?”



    Since the instruments are the result of consensus, and reservations can be placed on selected requirements within each instrument, it’s clear that those who rank low are those who don’t aspire to be better.



    In Geneva we as a nation impressed our peers with our presentation of the Government and Economic Transformation Programs. Many of the measures used in these programs are ranking-based. Why would we not do the same for nations?



    (d) Argument # 4: Proponents of ratification should not appeal to ratifications by Muslim-majority nations as an encouragement for ratification by Malaysia.



    The article claims, with no data, that Muslim majority nations which ratified the instruments did so under pressure of defeat in war. A little research on UN websites shows that Egypt has ratified 8 instruments. The first (on racial discrimination) was ratified on 01 May 1967: before Israel attacked Egypt on 05 June 1967. The next instrument to be ratified (on discrimination against women) was on 18 Sep 1981.



    Over the decades, whenever the Egyptian government persecuted protesters, no doubt nations and NGO’s from around the world appealed to the ratified instruments to seek justice for the persecuted.



    Through the UN website, it is also easy to confirm that many Muslim-majority nations continue to ratify instruments. But it’s not necessary to do much research, since in October, 22 OIC (Organization for Islamic Cooperation) member told Malaysia to ratify the instruments.


    The article says ‘unqualified’ persons represented Muslim-majority nations in the drafting of some conventions. This is barely significant, since numerous Muslim-majority nations participated. Furthermore, ‘decisions’ are not made by any individual representative; rather he/she brings to the drafting process the consensus decisions from each nation, made with appropriate stakeholders, over time.


    The article fails to notice the pressure placed on countries like Argentina, Chile and Israel to ratify the instruments so that we can demand rights for the persecuted on the basis of the instruments – and appeal to the same instruments as peacekeepers.



    How can we ask others to respect instruments if we ourselves refuse to ratify them?



    (e) Argument # 5: The UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) is the work of secular-liberal ideologists; since it doesn’t mention God, it must be rejected.



    Mention of the UDHR is surprising, as it is not one of the core instruments.



    Except for religious textbooks, all textbooks used in schools do not mention God. Does this mean we should reject them?



    We close with a few general comments.



    Already ratified. When discussing calls by Malaysians to ratify core UN instruments, it’s important to state “7 additional” because we have already ratified 3 of the instruments.



    In 1995 we ratified the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In 2010 we ratified the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Indeed, the October 2013 UPR, noted that we have removed some reservations we had previously placed on some requirements in the instruments.



    Reservations. When discussing any instrument, it’s important to recognize that the process of ratification allows for reservations: “ratification legally binds a State to implement the Convention and/or Optional Protocol, subject to valid reservations, understandings and declarations.” When we place a reservation on any provision in an instrument, we are stating up-front that, for the time being, we do not acknowledge that provision as legally binding upon us - many nations do this.



    Age of the instruments. When discussing any instrument, it’s important to state the date of the instrument because the date helps us assess the time available to study each instrument and consult all local stakeholders before ratifying it. Of the instruments Malaysia has not ratified, the oldest was adopted by the UN 48 years ago.



    Note: The UN uses the term “instrument” partly because the titles of some of the core documents say “convention,” while others say “covenant.” The term “instrument” is also descriptive, because it’s a tool for announcing, implementing and maintaining change.



    Aspirations. When discussing any instrument, it’s important to recognize that saying a nation has ratified an instrument doesn’t mean it has achieved “a high standard.” It merely means the nation has seriously discussed human rights, come to certain decisions, and intends to assure that it’s not mere talk. It also signals that the nation takes seriously its membership of the United Nations and is worthy of being given a place at the table when decisions of international significance are made.



    As Malaysians, let us respect the sincerity of co-religionists as well as those of other faiths; be fact-based; and recognize that we are players on the world stage.



    Posted Yesterday by Ramanathan

    Labels: GMMF government human rights Politics Proham Suhakam UN UNPR UPR
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  3. #3
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    Ratify UN human rights instruments, Govt told

    [COLOR=#707070 !important]Alyaa Azhar
    | December 27, 2013
    [/COLOR]
    The Malaysian Bar Council says it is crucial for the country to be human rights-compliant.
    PETALING JAYA: The government has been urged to swiftly ratify the six remaining United Nations human rights instruments.


    Bar Council president Christopher Leong in a statement today said Malaysia has failed to make much headway toward commitments made in June 2009 to study the ratification of four further international instruments.


    These are namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.


    Leong revealed that the National Report submitted by the government for the Oct 2013 review had no reference to an expected conclusion and recommendation in respect of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and a commitment to studying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.


    “Nothing, however, was said about the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


    “If there are genuine concerns about these international instruments, they should be intelligently and coherently articulated,” he said.


    He added that proper discussion of the ratification of these instruments is not advanced by the vilification of individuals and groups in support of them.


    “The unwarranted disparaging remarks and verbal attacks on Suhakam chairman Hasmy Agam and the Coalition of Malaysian Non-Governmental Organisations in the UPR Process (COMANGO) and members of that coalition, serve no positive purpose,” he said.


    Leong also pointed out that the recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia by the United Nations Human Rights Council had shown the glaring disparity between Malaysia’s international ambitions and the domestic realities.


    “As an outgoing member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Malaysia has failed in the last four years to show much progress in extending our commitment to the international system of human rights norms and standards,” he said.
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    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR...Session17.aspx



    . Malaysia
    1. 03/06/2013/JUA/Malaysia/Freedom of expression; Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Human rights defenders; 03/06/2013/JUA
    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/24th/public_-_UA_Malaysia_03.06.13_(4.2013).pdf
    Allegations of harassment and arrest of activists and political leaders participating in demonstrations following the conclusion of the last national elections on 5 May 2013. According to the information received, on 17 May 2013, a leader of the opposition People’s Justice Party and deputy to the Selangor State Assembly Mr Nik Nazmi was charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act. On 18 May 2013, student activist Mr Adam Adli was arrested in Kuala Lumpur. On 23 May 2013, he was charged under the Sedition Act 1948, for allegedly uttering a seditious statement during a public forum on 13 May. He was released on bail on the same day, pending a court hearing set for 2 July. A candlelight vigil that was held on 22 May 2013 to call for the release of Mr Adam Adli resulted in the arrest of 18 participants, who were also questioned by the police. On 29 May, authorities allegedly re-arrested opposition Member of the Parliament Mr Tian Chua, opposition PAS Islamic Party member, Mr Tamrin Bin Abdul Ghafar and civil society activist, Mr Haris Ibrahim along with student activist Mr Safwan Anang, under the same Sedition Act in Kuala Lumpur.



    2. 9/06/2013/JUA/Malaysia/Freedom of expression; Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Human rights defenders; 19/06/2013/JUA
    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/24th/Public_-_UA_Malaysia_19.06.13_(5.2013)_Pro.pdf
    Allegations of new instances of harassment and arrest of activists and political leaders participating in demonstrations following the conclusion of the general election held on 5 May 2013. According to the information received, on 27 May 2013, six opposition leaders, Messrs Ong Eu Leong, Thomas Su, Mohammad Anuar Zakaria, Nazree Yunus, R. Yuneswaran, and Kamarulzaman Md Yunus, were reportedly charged under Section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act for organizing rallies against alleged electoral irregularities during the general election of 5 May 2013. On 28 May 2013, Mr Hishamuddin Rais, a political activist affiliated to Bersih 2.0, was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act after he reportedly made a seditious statement at a public forum in Kuala Lumpur on 13
    May 2013. On 5 June 2013, Mr Badrul Hisham Shaharin, a political leader, was charged under Section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act because he allegedly failed to notify the police about a rally he had organized on 25 May 2013 in Petaling Jaya. On 15 June 2013, 15 activists were arrested under Section 9(1) of the Peaceful Assembly Act, and investigated under Section 9(5) of the same Act, after taking part in a peaceful flash mob in Kuala Lumpur, with a view to informing the public of the date of a forthcoming rally scheduled for 22 June 2013.


    3. 12/07/2013/JAL/Malaysia/Freedom of expression; Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Human rights defenders; 12/07/2013/JAL
    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/24th/public_-_AL_Malaysia_12.07.13_(6.2013).pdf
    Allegations of arrest of, and possible charges against, three organizers of a private screening of a human rights documentary. According to the information received, on 3 July 2013, Ms Anna Har, Mr Arul Prakkash, and Ms Lena Hendry, from KOMAS, together with the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Right Committee (KLSCAHCRC), organized a private screening of the documentary film entitled "No Fire Zone", about allegations of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the civil war in 2009. They were subsequently placed under arrest under Section 6 of the Film Censorship Act. On 4 July 2013, Ms Anna Har, Mr Arul Prakkash, and Ms Lena Hendry were released on bail after their statements had been recorded.


    4. 23/07/2013/JAL/Malaysia/Freedom of expression; Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; 23/07/2013/JAL
    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/24th/public_-_AL_Malaysia_23.07.13_(7.2013).pdf
    Allegations of arrest of 14 student activists and opposition political party members. According to the information received, on 20 July 2013 at 8 a.m., the police arrested Ms Sheryne Olivia Yahcob, Ms Laizah Laida, Mr Mohd Asraf Sharafi b Mohd, Mr Harieyadi b Karmin, Mr Ardin b Manja, Mr Johan Muhammad, Mr Mohd Saifuddin Ahmad, Mr Mohd Firdaus Muhammad Noor, Mr Aliff b Basri, Mr Akhdan Sheik Shah Sabang, Mr Lahirul Latigu, Mr Mohd Fathihie Gadius, Mr Mohd Hisham Jais, and Mr Mohd Abdillah Matlin. The above-listed people were peacefully protesting against the Trans Pacific
    Partnerships Agreement, in front of the Sutera Harbour Hotel, Kota Kinabalu. The police initially used Section 15 of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to arrest 11 demonstrators, who took urine tests which all turned out to be negative. The police then investigated the 14 participants under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. They were all released on the same day.
    5. 16/08/2013/JAL/Malaysia/Freedom of expression; Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Human rights defenders; 16/08/2013/JAL
    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/24th/public_-_AL_Malaysia_16.08.13_(8.2013).pdf
    20/02/2013/GOV
    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/24th/Malaysia_20.08.13_(8.2013).pdf
    Allegations of investigation of a human rights defender under the Sedition Act 1948. According to the information received, on 7 August 2013, Ms Cynthia Gabriel, Secretariat Member of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), a human rights organisation, went to Petaling Jaya police station after having been informed that a police report had been filed against SUARAM under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 following a fundraising dinner organized on 19 July to support litigation on a corruption case allegedly involving Malaysian officials. At Petaling Jaya police station, Ms Gabriel was asked questions on SUARAM’s work and policies.
    Attached Files Attached Files
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    1:21PM Mar 21, 2014
    Malaysia rejects remaining human right conventions

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    Malaysia has rejected all recommendations to accede to the remaining six human rights conventions it is yet to sign.

    It has also rejected to remove reservations on conventions it already acceded to at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process held late last year.

    The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs for the UPR Process (Comango), in a press statement today, said the Human Rights Council officially adopted the outcome report on Malaysia’s second UPR review, in which the government accepted 150 out of 232 recommendations made to it.

    "It is disappointing that while Malaysia received the most recommendations regarding the abolition of the death penalty, all such recommendations were rejected," said Comango co-secretariat member, Yap Swee Seng.

    Comango also said that Malaysia rejected recommendations to accede to the Convention on Torture as well as to abolish the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, Prevention of Crimes Act and the Dangerous Drugs Act.

    Malaysia also rejected all recommendations to ensure laws and policies concerning indigenous people are in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

    "Malaysia also rejected a recommendation to address issues highlighted in the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples pending the outcome of a task force set up to review the findings of the inquiry.

    "Indigenous representatives make up only 30 percent of this task force," Yasmin Masidi, another co-secretariat member of the coalition, said.

    Recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) were rejected outright by Malaysia, as expected.

    Government supporters had criticised Comango for allegedly spreading the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community’s agenda with its pursuit to make oral submissions during the UPR process.

    The Home Ministry even announced a ban on Comango shortly after the conclusion of the UPR process.

    "The Malaysian government must end the attacks, with impunity, against human rights defenders both from NGOs and other public figures.

    "It should not support groups bent on suppressing civil society voices," said Jerald Joseph, a Pusat Komas representative who is also part of Comango.
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    Indigenous rights group unhappy with rejection of UN recommendations

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    Posted on 22/03/2014 - 17:59


    Anna Chidambar


    KUCHING: The Indigenous Peoples' Network of Malaysia, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) has refused to accept the Malaysian government's explanation on why it has not accepted six recommendations related to indigenous peoples' rights at the second cycle of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR).


    JOAS which comprises 83 community organisations, five candidate members and five NGO affiliate members said it was outraged by Malaysia's response as at the UPR, the Foreign Affairs Ministry had indicated positive response on recommendations pertaining to indigenous rights.


    JOAS chairman Thomas Jalong regarded the non-acceptance of the recommendations of the UPR as the government's tactics to backtrack from issues regarding the rights of the natives especially with regards to native customary rights lands (NCR).


    Malaysia took part in the UPR in Geneva from Oct 21 to Nov 1, 2013 which comprises 47 member states of the Human Rights Council. Instead of accepting the recommendations, the response report issued by the Malaysian government stated it was unable to accept the recommendations at this juncture.


    The rationale was that it had set up a Task Force comprising senior government officials, civil society representatives and academicians that were in the process of determining the details on which the recommendations can be implemented in the short, medium and long term.


    While it would continue to take steps to better protect and respect the human rights of its indigenous population, the government did not wish to pre-judge the outcome of the Task Force's deliberations.


    JOAS members strongly stated that the reason given by the Malaysian government to reject the recommendations because of the existence of the Task Force was unacceptable and indicated that it was not sincere and showed no respect for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Malaysia (RIPM).


    "This shows that it has no respect for the RIPM and is not sincere in its intentions. We are frustrated with the government and we will not respect a government that does not respect us," Jalong said.



    JOAS stressed that indigenous representatives in the Task Force comprised a mere 30% and based on the report by these representatives to indigenous peoples, the discussions on key issues were very limited.


    Thus they were unable to counter the government representatives' constant denial of the systemic violation of indigenous peoples' land rights as highlighted by the Suhakam Report.


    According to JOAS, the government failed to give any explanation for its rejection of the other important recommendations and the act by Malaysia to accept only general recommendations at the UPR showed its lack of seriousness in addressing the human rights violations and marginalisation of indigenous peoples.


    "Malaysia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council and from the National Inquiry Report and the situation of indigenous peoples on the ground, our current laws and policies on indigenous land rights are far from satisfactory and are below human rights standards, particularly the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)," it said.


    The six recommendations include allowing visits to Malaysia by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; ensuring that laws on indigenous peoples as well as their implementation comply with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples and local forest dependent peoples in law and practice, in particular regarding their right to traditional lands, territories and resources.


    The other recommendations are to establish an independent National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and ensure that laws, policies and their implementations are in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; establish an independent body to investigate disputes over land, territories and resources; and to take measures, with full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, to address the issues highlighted in the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    py

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    13,391
    Apr 25, 2014'

    Don't like universal human rights, don't join UN'




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    Malaysia should adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) if it wants to be a member of the United Nations (UN), the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said.

    "If you don't like it, then don't join the UN, but we join the UN because that is the way of the world.

    "The UDHR is not a legal requirement but if we do not take steps (to adhere) to the 30 (rights), you'll be pushed by your colleagues," Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam said.

    Referring to the Universal Periodic Review process, he also said that out of 232 recommendations given to Malaysia, the country had only fully accepted 113, and not 150 as reported.

    The figure was recognised as 150 due to diplomatic negotiations but this was after stiff opposition by some in Geneva, who viewed that Malaysia had not truly accepted the recommendations.

    "(The final figure was 150) as it was only because of the diplomatic process, as they did not want to offend Malaysia so much," he said.

    Hasmy was responding to a question on whether Malaysia's human rights standards have improved in 2013 compared to the year before, at a press conference on Suhakam's annual report 2013.

    According to Hasmy, the standards have "gone up but on paper in terms of ascensions (to conventions), we have not done much".

    He said that some conventions are as old as 50 years, including conventions against torture, but Malaysia still refuses to accede to them for various reasons.

    "If we talk about being developed in all senses of the word, then it includes human rights.

    "How would our leaders feel if they attend an international meeting including on human rights and are not about to say this or that and can only keep mum and look down?

    "They won't be able to look people in the eye because we have not done that (uphold human rights)," he added.

    'Rights not just about religion, LGBT'

    Hasmy said the government's reasoning that some conventions cannot be acceded due to religion does not hold water as reservations can be made.

    He added that Malaysia's understanding of human rights is also "patchy" with some communities insisting that human rights only pertain to freedom of religion and sexuality rights.

    Malaysia has only acceded to three out of nine core UN human rights treaties.

    According to the annual report, Suhakam has engaged multiple stakeholders to push for the accession of four treaties with variable results. They are:

    o The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

    o The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);

    o The International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; (ICERD); and

    o The International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Punishment (CAT)

    Suhakam deputy chairperson Khaw Lake Tee, in presenting the annual report, said that the ICERD is crucial in multiracial and multireligous Malaysia to ensure there is no discrimination.

    She added that not acceding to a convention against torture implies that the state endorses the practice.

    "It would seem a very logical thing to accede (to the CAT). Does it imply that we support torture, cruel and inhuman treatment?" she asked.
    py

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