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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Malaysia Needs To Ratify Six International Conventions On Human Rights - GMM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 (Bernama) -- Malaysia needs to ratify the remaining six core international conventions on human rights in order to raise its position in the global arena.

Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the failure to do so had resulted in Malaysia being among the bottom 10 among United Nations (UN) member countries in terms of championing human rights issues.

This was among the points agreed at the Human Rights Day discussion here today, based on the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) made by UN on Oct 24, which highlighted that Malaysia had not ratified numerous covenants and conventions dating from 1965.

"We understand some technical committees have been established in the last few years to look at the conventions. We hope to see the result by 2018, if not earlier," Saifuddin told reporters after moderating the half-day discussion jointly-organised by Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham) and GMM titled 'Human Rights Priorities for Malaysia Beyond 2013 UPR to 2018.'

The panelists comprised Universiti Teknologi Mara legal advisor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, Universiti Malaya Centre for Civilisational Dialogue director Associate Prof Dr Raihanah Abdullah, former UN Coordination Specialist Dr Lin Mui Kiang, Proham Secretary-General Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, and Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) chief executive officer Tan Sri Michael Yeoh.

To date, Malaysia had only ratified three out of nine most important UN Human Rights Conventions, namely Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Saifuddin said he was informed that Malaysia was now at number 187 out of the 195 of UN member countries, since most of them had ratified at least four or more of the human rights conventions.

"Even in the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), we are among the last," he said.

The discussions was held with the aim, among others, to review the UPR comments and recommendations made by UN member states and draw out a priority list for Malaysia's focus, which are to be fulfilled before the third review in 2018.

The non-ratified conventions are the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination adopted in 1965, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966); Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984); International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990) and International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (1992).

The three-hour discussion also support the need to strengthen the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) by giving it investigation and enforcement powers, allowing its annual report to be debated in Parliament, forming a parliamentary select committee on human rights and begin the process of forming a national human rights action plan.

It also agreed that Malaysia had done well in addressing human rights issues, including on safety and security, adequate housing, education, health and also economic rights such as overcoming income inequality and eradicating poverty.


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