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Friday, 12 January 2018

All Children have a Right to Education



PROHAM is deeply concerned that the immigration department and the education department are depriving stateless children, born in Malaysia, the right to education.

Malaysia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child making it a duty on the part of the government to uphold its commitment to the protection and welfare of all children.

Children’s rights under the Convention includes the right to association with both parents, human identity, physical protection, food, universal state paid education, healthcare and child’s civil rights.

Hence, all states being parties to the Convention must ensure and guarantee these rights to each and every child irrespective whether they are citizens, stateless or refugees.

Every child is entitled to the rights and freedom set forth in the Convention without distinction or discrimination of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, birth or other status.

Article 3 of the Convention clearly provides that in all actions concerning children; whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities, or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall always be a primary consideration.

Therefore, to impose a requirement of a passport on a stateless child before a child is allowed to attend school is a preposterous condition and an outright violation of the Convention.

PROHAM urges the government and the relevant department to immediately revoke this condition to enable every child in this country be given their basic human right namely, the right to education.

Released by:
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman, Chairman
Ivy Josiah, Secretary General  ( HP: 012 371 7070)

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights
Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)

11 January 2018


Sunday, 31 December 2017

Detained without trial clearly in violation of UDHR


PROHAM is alarmed by the disclosure made by the Prison Departments that 2787 people are being detained without trial.

The Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 which permits detention without trial are clearly in violation of Article 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:-

Article 9 provides that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest detention or exile.
Article 10 provides that 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 charges against him.
Article 11(1) provides that 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.

As a member of the United Nations and having ratified several human rights conventions, Malaysia has affirmed the acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consequently must respect these rights.

There are sufficient provisions in the Penal Code to deal with those suspected of terrorism or criminal activities. Additionally, to deny these detainees a fair trial is a direct violation of their fundamental human rights as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.

PROHAM urges the government of Malaysia to either charge these detainees or in the absence of sufficient evidence warranting a charge, act on their immediate and unconditional release.

Released by:

Datuk Kuthubul Zaman, Chairman & Ivy Josiah, Secretary General
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights

Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)

 31 Dec 2017    

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Children in Detention

Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia / PROHAM is alarmed at the disclosure by the Home Minister in Parliament that as many as 142 children have been arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA) and 17 children under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

The arrest under POCA provides for a detention without trial. Hence, these children have been deprived of their basic human rights, children deprived of liberty can be vulnerable to abuses.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states, as in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity needs special safeguards and care including appropriate legal protection. Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly provides that no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. It also clearly provides that no child shall be deprived of his/her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. As Malaysia is a signatory to this Convention, the Government must take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discriminations and punishments.
PROHAM urges the Government to respect these rights embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Further, PROHAM calls on the Government to release these children immediately or charge them in the Juvenile Court so that these children are afforded legal rights to defend any allegations made against them. All children have the right to the protection of the law and access to justice.

Released by:
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman, Chairman & Ivy Josiah, Secretary General
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights
Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)  

8 November 2017 

Ivy Josiah
Secretary General of PROHAM- For further information conatct Ivy Josiah at 0123717070

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Groups, individuals condemn crackdown on intellectuals, book banning

KUALA LUMPUR: A joint declaration by more than 150 Malaysians, including those representing 63 groups, denounces what it called a series of crackdowns on intellectuals from Sept 25 to Oct 3.

The individals and groups comprising religious NGOs, human rights NGOs, civil society, student associations and other activist organisations issued a strongly-worded statement which was released at a press conference today.

They condemned the arrest of Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol, the harassment and persecution of Akyol’s host, Farouk Musa of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), and the banning of 22 books, including discursive writings by Akyol, Farouk, scholar Faisal Tehrani (Mohd Faizal Musa) and cleric Ustaz Wan Ji Wan Hussin.

The groups made four key demands to the federal government and relevant state authorities, as follows:
  • To end all harassments, investigations and charges on Farouk Musa, IRF and their past and future intellectual guests;
  • To lift the ban of the books as well as other books that promote intellectual discourses and moderation;
  • To abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act and to replace it with a human-rights-compliant publication law;
  • To uphold Freedom of Expression, as enshrined in Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution and to end all thought policing on academics and academia.
“Religious teaching without tauliah [proper accreditation]” (Section 11 of Act 559 in this case) is a shariah offense normally reserved for errant preachers in mosques and surau.
“So, are intellectual discourses in universities involving Islam now being regulated by the relevant religious authorities as well?

“Do universities have to get clearance from the religious departments before inviting any speakers on any topics related to Islam?” the group said over the cancellation of a forum by Nottingham University where Akyol was to speak, due to pressure from the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Affairs Department (Jawi).

The group said Jawi’s actions against Akyol for allegedly “teaching without accreditation” prior to the aborted forum, and against Farouk for allegedly abetting Akyol, has set a dangerous precedent with far-reaching implications for academic freedom and, certainly, freedom of speech in Malaysia.

“As Islam is being applied in almost every sector in Malaysian society, are the religious bureaucrats now the de-facto thought police for the nation to decide what thoughts we can and cannot have?”, the statement said.

Such control, the group says, also seems to be extended to what religious authorities deem fit for reading by Malaysians.

Mind control

“We also view the recent banning of books by Akyol, Farouk , Faisal Tehrani and Ustaz Wan Ji under Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA) as a further attempt at mind control.”

Based on the relevant passages in the act that was used by the government to ban these books – “prejudicial to public order, morality, security,” “to alarm public opinion,” or “prejudicial to public interest or national interest” – the group questioned Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over how did the books do as such.

“How did Zahid find ‘Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty’ and its Malay translation ‘Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan’ by Mustafa Akyol, the two volumes of ‘Wacana Pemikiran Reformis’ edited by Farouk Musa, ‘Aku _ maka aku ada’ (I _ therefore I am) by Faisal Tehrani and ‘Ulamak yang bukan pewaris Nabi’ (Those clergy who are not the Prophet’s successors) by Ustaz Wanji, to be harmful to public order, morality, security, public opinion, public interest or national interest?

“Are ideas like moderation, reform and liberty now enemies of the state?”
The groups said they were coming together as they were concerned the actions taken against Akyol, Farouk and the banning of books were not isolated incidents.

“They seem to be a serious and dangerous escalation in a long and on-going process of thought policing to close the minds of Malaysians, especially Muslims.

“If we do not speak up for Akyol, Farouk, Faisal, Wan Ji and others whom the state want silenced, soon there will be no one left to speak up for us when we are silenced.”

The 50 groups include Sisters in Islam, Aliran, Bersih 2.0, National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Media Independence Movement (Geramm), Suaram, Human Rights Promotion Association (Proham), Pusat Komas, Himpunan Hijau, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and Research For Social Advancement (Refsa).

Source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/10/09/groups-individuals-condemn-crackdown-on-intellectuals-book-banning/

Saturday, 30 September 2017

UNLAWFUL DETENTION OF MUSTAFA AKYOL

PROHAM is concerned at the direction and manner in which the religious authority of Wilayah Persekutuan is interpreting the powers under Section 11 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.

Invoking this provision of the law against Mustafa Akyol; the world-renowned journalist, author and academic has marred and besmirched Malaysia’s status as a moderate Muslim state in the eyes of the world. The Honourable Prime Minister has always maintained and promoted Malaysia as a moderate Muslim nation and as an example to be followed by other Muslim states. However, this incident unfortunately proves otherwise.

PROHAM notes that Section 11 is not applicable to someone who gives public lectures on comparative religion or conducts an academic discourse on Islam. It does not come within the context of religious education as envisaged under Part X of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993. Hence, Mustafa Akyol’s detention is unjustified, unlawful and the religious authority concerned has acted in excess of its jurisdiction.

Unnecessary restrictions imposed on journalists, authors and academicians infringe the basic principles of human rights. All religious authorities must respect this basic right. Further, the act of the religious authority in this manner undermines tolerance and respect for the various religious beliefs in a country with multi-racial, multi-religious and a democratic society like ours.
PROHAM calls on the government to ensure that such a conduct by any religious authority is never to be repeated again.

Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari

Chairman, PROHAM
Sept 30, 2017

Sunday, 24 September 2017

PROHAM's response to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennounce's observations in Malaysia



'PROHAM  shares the views and observations made by the UN Special Rapporteur, Karima Bennounce made on 21/9/17 at the end of her visit to Malaysia.

PROHAM  also urges  the Malaysian government to exercise regional leadership on human rights and to ratify the various International human rights treaties and conventions which are still pending.

Issues raised with regards to the indigenous peoples especially the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia need to be addressed urgently by the government.  The recommendations made by the relevant UN bodies on the cultural rights of the indigenous peoples must be fully implemented. 

The Special Rapporteur has also raised a long standing national concern about the impact of the unilateral conversion of the children by one parent and PROHAM urges the government to reconsider the proposed amendments to the Law Reform Marriage and Divorce Act which was withdrawn at the last Parliament sitting. 

The Malaysian government should also remove restrictions and bans on artistic and cultural practices as well as on certain authors, publishers, filmmakers, artists and cartoonists. The use of the Sedition Act to quell freedom of expression is regretted and   PROHAM reiterates Ms Karma's call on the government to repeal the Sedition Act and all laws that continuously provide for detentions without trial. We agree too with Ms Karima's observation on gender discrimination, the restrictions on women performing for mixed audiences in Kelantan must be lifted without delay. 

The Malaysian Constitution protects peoples of all faiths (including atheism) and allows them to practice their religion freely. So PROHAM further urges the Malaysian government to respect and protect these rights, including the right not to profess any religion or belief.

Released by:
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman, Chairman & Ivy Josiah, Secretary General 
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights
Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM) 
Sept 24. 2017

Sunday, 20 August 2017

PROHAM’s response to the Home Minister’s comments on 15 August 2017

PROHAM is appalled at the position of the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who while launching his book on the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) 1959 on 15 August 2017 criticised human rights defenders accusing them of defending criminals. 
The Home Minister reportedly alleged that critics of the law often masquerade as human rights defenders. Apparently he had said, “They claim to defend human rights, but in court, they defend criminals accused by the authorities.”
It is a principle of natural justice that everyone has the right to a trial and to be heard in court. Article 10 of the UDHR states "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.” 

Furthermore the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is an important element of our criminal justice system. For the Home Minister to ignore this basic right and malign human rights defenders and presumably lawyers who take up cases to defend detainees is to willfully dismiss Article 11 of the UDHR which states "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 defense.”
If the genuine concern is to eliminate serious crimes including organised crime PROHAM believes we have a battery of existing laws to do just that. We want to take this opportunity to refer to the report by the Royal Commission on the Malaysian Police, which has a dedicated chapter to combating crime. The “ Enhancing Investigative Policing” chapter has 26 recommendations to improve police investigations without having to resort to detention without trial. 

PROHAM strongly opposes detention without trial. 

In 2014, the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (“POCA”) was amended and expanded to reintroduce detention without trial and the recent amendments, the Prevention of Crime (Amendment) Act 2017 (POCAA), further slice off the rights of a detainee. The latest amendments takes away the right to appear before an Inquiry Officer and the Prevention of Crime Board (POCB) so as to respond to the allegations made against the detainee. The detainee is now deprived of a fundamental right to be heard nor have a lawyer make representations before the Inquiry Officer or the POCB. 

PROHAM urges the government of Malaysia to study the Report of the Royal Commission on the Malaysian Police, which states “Preventive laws are undesirable because they deny the individual his personal liberty without a right to trial in an open court as provided for in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and international Bill of Rights. This right is the most precious that the individual has and it must be safeguarded.” 

Released by:
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman, Chairman & Ivy Josiah, Secretary General
Society for the Promotion of Human Rights
Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)