Proham calls on the Prime Minister to provide greater clarity to these thoughts as this reference raises greater concerns to Putrajaya’s commitment to fostering human rights in contemporary Malaysian society.
The standard benchmark for human rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the United Nations Conventions and instruments on human rights. These have been drawn up by the global community through a participatory and consultative process which Malaysia is a party too. Human Rights is not “anti any religion” nor “pro a particular religion or ideology” but founded upon fundamental principles and values that is acceptable across nations, religious traditions and cultures.
Malaysia is already a party to a number of such UN human rights conventions. Malaysia has also played an active role in the UN Human Rights Council. Malaysia has used human rights principles to advocate justice for South Africa, Palestinians and other Muslim minorities in South Thailand, Myanmar and Philippines. Malaysia has also played an active role at the ASEAN level in human rights
Muslim majority nations through the OIC have issued the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights and have established an OIC Human Rights Commission. While there are a number of differences between the UDHR and Cairo Declaration, nonetheless the OIC has made a commitment to human rights including working with the United States in sponsoring Resolution 16/18 on Combating intolerance and violence against persons based on religion or belief. A majority of these Muslim nations including Indonesia have ratified human rights conventions thereby seeking to conform domestic laws consistent with global human rights values and standards.
The recent Universal Periodical Review (UPR) process saw a large number of countries calling on Malaysia to ratify the core human rights conventions. Some of these include the Convention of the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (ICERD). Furthermore the United Nations process has opportunity for countries to place reservations due to religious, cultural or contextual views.
The Prime Minister and the Federal Government must make a clear commitment towards a strong political commitment towards human rights, democracy and good governance. As a nation we might have certain reservations on the basis of religion and culture but this we must be clarified, justified and reasoned out in public policy discussions both locally and abroad. However we cannot throw out human rights as if it is a new ‘ism’ threating the very core and existence of Malaysian society. In mounting this attack on human rights, Malaysia is in danger of isolating ourselves from the global community.
Therefore, Proham feels that the Prime Minister’s speech raises fundamental and ideological questions to the very basis of human rights in Malaysian society. It seems to be a speech driven by political expediency rather than good governance and democracy. It is not consistent with Malaysia’s international obligations.
In this context Proham calls on PM to host a dialogue with all Malaysian Human Rights organisations such as SUHAKAM, Bar Council, Suaram, Komas, Hakam and Proham to provide greater clarity of these terms in the light of Malaysia’s commitment in the global community both at the United Nations and Asean.
Issued on behalf of Proham by:-
Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (Proham Chairman) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General). May 16, 2014