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Monday, 18 May 2015


 Date:                          May 22, 2015 (Friday)

Time:                           3pm to 4.30pm
Venue:                         Global Movement of Moderates (15th Floor, Menara Manulife, 6 Jalan Gelenggang Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur

An estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, many of them hungry and sick, are adrift in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca in boats that had been abandoned by human traffickers with little food and water.

It has been reported in the news that after accommodating over 1,000 boat people in Langkawi, any more boats trying to land would be turned back as a “political matter.”

Whilst any Malaysians have responded to the humanitarian crisis collecting foodstuff and essentials for the boat people although it is not clear if these essentials will be taken to them, there are calls by civil society for Malaysia to take the lead to live up to this position as chair of Asean and the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) not only to provide humanitarian aid but seek long term solutions to the plight of refugees particularly the Rohingya ​, human trafficking and humanitarian aid.  This is clearly the responsibility of ASEAN.

The RTD will be solution driven from experts from civil society and UNHCR.


Welcome & Introductions by Ms Ivy Josiah (Proham Exco)

Screening of 30 minute documentary "Seeds of Hatred" by Mahi Ramakrishnan a film about the plight of Rohingya.

Panel Discussions (Invited)

Ms. Sumitha &    Ms Jessica Low  (Coordinators of Migration Working Group)

Mr Zafar Ahmad (Mynamar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation, Malaysia)

Mr Richard Towle, (Representative of UNHCR, as current chair of the Human Rights Theme Group of the UN Country Team).

Datin Paduka Marnia Mahathair (Social Activist)

Mr Ekraj Sabur, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Thailand

Mr Jerald Joseph (ASEAN People Forum Chair)

Moderators:     Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah & Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham). Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Chairman) will say a few concluding words.

Media will be invited. Please confirm participation:

You tube link to the film is

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Pushback endangers thousands in Bay of Bengal, says UN

Asean countries should focus on saving the lives of the Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants because pushing them back to sea after giving them provisions is incomprehensible and inhumane, said the United Nations as it urged governments in the region to take swift action to protect the migrants' lives.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was appalled at reports that Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia had been pushing boats full of migrants back out to sea, which he added would inevitably lead to many avoidable deaths.
"The focus should be on saving lives, not further endangering them,” he said, adding that news that a boat, carrying several hundred people in abject condition, had been given provisions and then pushed back out to sea by the Thai navy on Thursday was “incomprehensible and inhumane”.
Zeid also expressed alarm that countries in the region were threatening to criminalise vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers who had crossed the borders.
“Governments in Southeast Asia need to respond to this crisis from the premise that migrants – regardless of their legal status, how they arrive at borders, or where they come from – are people with rights that must be upheld,” he said.
Zeid said the number of people leaving Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat last year was estimated to have climbed to around 53,000.
Some 920 migrants, he added, were known to have perished in the Bay of Bengal between September 2014 and March this year.
“They have been predominantly Rohingya fleeing persecution from Rakhine state in Myanmar, with increasing numbers of impoverished Bangladeshi migrants taking to the seas over the last year.
“Until the Myanmar government addresses the institutional discrimination against the Rohingya population, including equal access to citizenship, this precarious migration will continue,” Zeid said.
For the regional meeting that will be hosted by Thailand on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean on May 29, Zeid urged the participating governments to ensure that their responses would be based on international human rights and refugee laws.
“This is a complex and multi-dimensional issue requiring a holistic response,” he said, adding that a coherent, human rights-based regional response was urgently needed.
On Sunday, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said that he was “increasingly concerned” about the plight of migrants and refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea and Strait of Malacca.
UN had also pleaded for countries in the region to keep their borders open and help rescue those stranded, while some parliamentarians slammed the "not-in-my-backyard" attitude. – May 18, 2015.
- See more at:

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Police continues to come under fire over May Day sweep

05/05/2015 04:54 PM
Human Rights group Proham says that the police had no reasons to hold activists and politicians overnight for questioning
By Christopher Loh (Berita Daily)
KUALA LUMPUR: Human rights body Proham today expressed its disappointment with the police over the arrests of May Day rally organisers and participants.

Proham secretary-general Denisan Jayasooria told Berita Daily that the police had abused their powers by their arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention of those arrested.

He said that the police had a duty to protect and facilitate peaceful gatherings rather than intimidate and harass their organisers and participants.

''It goes beyond questioning that the anti-GST themed Labour Day rally was a peaceful rally and thus a legitimate one,'' he said.

He criticised the police for dramatising and sensationalising ''isolated incidents during the rally',' such as the use of one smoke grenade.

He said the arrest of activists S Ambiga, Hishammudin Rais and Fariz Musa, as well as politicians Anthony Loke from DAP, PAS' Mohamad Sabu, Khalid Samad and Hattta Ramli, and PKR's Rafizi Ramli and Tian Chia were shocking and unnecessary.

He denounced their overnight detention as not only being unnecessary but in total violation of human rights standards.

''The Royal Police Commission in 2005 had issued guidelines to the police clearly stating that prolonged detention of any sort has to be justified by 'absolute necessity','' he said.

'Politicisation of police power'

He clarified that 'absolute necessity' was defined on the grounds of whether or not the detained individuals posed a threat to public safety.

''Therefore, seeing that as Ambiga, Loke and the others were hardly dangerous criminals, their overnight detention was entirely unnecessary,'' he added.

''Furthermore, the recording of a police statement only took a meagre 10 minutes, it is hardly like this (the anti-GST rally) was a murder investigation,'' he said. ''The police are meant to uphold human rights, not violate them."

Jayasooria added that the government must establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) without delay to hold the police force “accountable for all abuses of power”.

Proham was among 51 Malaysian civil society organisations that have signed a joint statement protesting the misconduct of the police in response to the post-rally arrests and other abuses of power.

The statement accused the police of ''post-rally harassment of protesters'' and ''the politicisation of police power'' in relation to the post May Day rally arrests.

Apart from the politicians and organisers of the rally, the police had also detained 23 others for investigations into smoke bombs that were let off during the rally. They were arrested after the rally on Friday and are expected to be released later today.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Civil Society Groups Statement: Police should stop post-rally persecution by playing up isolated incidents

We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn in the strongest possible terms the police’s post rally persecution of the participants of the Labour Day Rally in opposition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), using the unruly behaviour of a small group of alleged anarchists as  the pretext.

The police have cast a wider net beyond those who were allegedly in possession and release of smoke bombs. At least 29 young persons were arrested in the first round and 23 of them were remanded for three more days.

Completely unrelated to the smoke bomb allegation, a number of leading activists and lawmakers were either arrested after being summoned to the police station or were simply stopped and arrested by the police.

These include former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan; Seremban MP YB Anthony Loke; Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S. Arutchelvan; Kuala Krai MP YB Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli; Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli; Batu MP Tian Chua; activists Hishamuddin Rais and Mandeep Singh. 

We hold that,

     1.      The May Day Rally was a peaceful event and the Government should stop shifting attention to the isolated incidents which occurred during the rally.

     2.      The Government should recognize that the turnout in the May Day Rally against GST is an indication that the policy is overwhelmingly burdening the rakyat when corruption, leakage and mismanagement are rampant and that GST must be halted for review if not abolished straightaway.

     3.      PDRM must respect the rights of Malaysians to participate in peaceful assemblies and employ best crowd control practices as displayed by the police force elsewhere in the modern world.

     4.      PDRM must stop all post-rally harassment and release all the innocent protestors immediately.

     5.      The long overdue Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) must be established the soonest possible to curb the abuse and politicization of police power.

Issued by the following Civil Society Organisation:

      1.      All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
      2.      Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
      3.      Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
        4.      Baramkini
      5.      Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BiPiM)
      6.      Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAS)
      7.      Coalition of Kelantan NGO (C-KNGO)
      8.      Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (PRIMA)
      9.      Institute for Development of Alternative Living, Sarawak (IDEAL) 
     10.  Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
     11.  Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
     12.  Japan Graduates Association Malaysia (JAGAM)
     13.  Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator (TN-Insinerator)
      14.  JIHAD for Justice (JfJ)
     15.  Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
     16.  Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiwa Indepent (KAMI)
     17.  LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
     18.  Malaysia Youth & Students' Democratic Movement (DEMA)
     19.  Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)
     20.  Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)
     21.  Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility (MPSR)
     22.  Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
     23.  Muslim Professional Forum (MPF)
      24.  National Indian Rights Action Team ( NIAT )
     25.  National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
     26.  Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
     27.  Partners for Community Organisaiton Sabah (PACOS)
      28.  People Welfare and Rights Organisation (POWER)
      29.  Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
      30.  Persatuan ALIRAN Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN)
      31.  Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor (PBTUSM)
      32.  Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kelej di China, Malaysia(LiuHua)
      33.  Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
     34.  Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur (PRIHATIN)
     35.  Persatuan RAPAT Malaysia (RAPAT)
     36.  Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
     37.  Projek dialog (PD)
     38.  Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)
     39.  Saccess Sarawak (SACCESS)
     40.  Sahabat Rakyat (SR)
     41.  Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
     42.  Save Rivers (SR)
     43.  Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
     44.  The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM)
     45.  Tindak Malaysia (TM)
     46.  Tamil Foundation Malaysia (TFM)
     47.  Tamilar Action Force (TAF)
     48.  United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
     49.  We Are Malaysians (WAM)
     50.  We Are One Race-Human Race (WAOR)

     51.  Women's Centre for Change, Penang (WCC)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Phil Roberts on outrageous arrests in Malaysia

"Expressing views and holding a peaceful, public march should not be considered a crime in Malaysia or anywhere else in the world. These arrests are nothing short of outrageous, and Human Rights Watch demands that Malaysia immediately and unconditionally release all the peaceful May 1st anti-GST protesters. This wave of arrests should raise alarm bells among international friends of Malaysia about just how far the powers that be in Putrajaya are dragging the country off the path of democratic, rights-respecting governance."

Statement attributable to Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch on arrest of anti-GST protesters in Kuala Lumpur.

hil Robertson
Mobile phone: +66-85-060-8406
skype: philrobertsonjr
twitter: @Reaproy

Friday, 1 May 2015


The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (the commission) expresses its support for The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)’s press release entitled “Royal Police Commission Findings: Ten Years On (April 29-2005 & 2015)” and calls on the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to strive to act with courage, composure, tolerance, impartiality and with respect for the constitutional rights of all at all times.

The Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police (Royal Commission) was established in 2004 in response to “widespread concerns regarding the high incidence of crime, perception of corruption in the PDRM, general dissatisfaction with the conduct and performance of police personnel, and a desire to see improvements in the service provided by the police”.

Among the most significant of the 125 recommendations in the 2005 Royal Commission report was the proposal to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), independent of the PDRM with the mandate, amongst others, to receive and investigate into complaints of alleged misconduct by the police force.

The report of the Royal Commission further identified that there were high instances of deaths in police custody. In its annual reports, the commission noted that there were 20 deaths in police custody in 2013 and at least 10 in 2014 based on the commission’s observations. To date, complaints involving alleged disproportionate use of force by the police, abuse of power and delays in acting on reports lodged are among the highest number of complaints received by the commission.
In response, the commission in 2011 and 2012 recommended that the police conduct initial investigations before making an arrest. and that arrests should only be made when there is reasonable suspicion that a person has committed an offence, or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent a person from committing an offence or from feeling.

The commission also has over the years outlined many recommendations to the PDRM, as contained in its public inquiry reports of 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The commission wishes to reiterate several of its key recommendations for the immediate consideration of the PDRM:
– There is need for the PDRM to facilitate peaceful assemblies as envisaged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 by ensuring crowd and traffic management and control, as well as minimising disruptions to the public and activities in the places concerned.

These can be realised through meetings with the organisers as well as ongoing training and workshops on crowd management and control in line with international standards.

– There is a need for the police to make the distinction between a peaceful assembly and a riot as well as to maintain its neutrality in protecting the safety of participants and members of public in the event of public assemblies involving two or more opposing groups in the same area.

– The authorities must undertake to immediately inform the next-of-kin in cases of deaths in custody the essential information, including date, time and place of the post-mortem examination, the right to be represented by a legally qualified medical practitioner or a legal practitioner or a medical practitioner during the post-mortem examination, right of family members to have a second post-mortem examination and a thorough explanation, in layman’s language of the findings of the post-mortem examination.

– The commission also stresses that while preventive detention laws have been re-enacted, the PDRM shall refrain from detaining individuals without charge as such practices not only violate human rights principles, but can have a devastating impact on the investigative abilities of the police.

In conclusion, the commission opines that in line with the Royal Commission’s strategic objective which was to “transform the Royal Malaysian Police into a world-class, twenty-first century organisation that is efficient, clean and trustworthy, dedicated to serving the people and the nation with integrity and respect for human rights”, the PDRM must aim towards fully adopting and implementing policing policies and techniques that are effective, lawful and humane. – May 1, 2015.

- See more at:

Proham calls on the Police to stop arresting people who were exercising their fundamental human rights during the May 1st rally

PROHAM is shocked that the Police have arrested Ambiga Sreenevasan, Anthony Loke, and S. Arutchelvan after the 1st of May rally..

The  May 1st  is celebrated worldwide with public rallies. Hence, participation in such rallies is a fundamental right and consistent with universal human rights principles as freedom to assemble and expression. The Police action to crack down on such rallies is uncalled for and is in violation of human rights standards.

Further, the Police can immediately after the arrest, record a statement and release those arrested without the necessity of overnight detention or further remand. Such detention is an abuse of process in respect of such offences as there is nothing further to investigate.

PROHAM calls on the Police to respect fundamental human rights and not restrict the exercise of such rights which is part of democratic freedoms. The Police must respect the rights of the people to exercise their democratic freedoms. The Police must stop arresting citizens who are exercising this fundamental human right.

PROHAM urges the Police to immediately release all detainees especially the 29 youths of the May 1st Rally.

Issued by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman (Proham Chairman) & Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary General)
May 2, 1015