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Friday, 20 May 2016

COMANGO urges government to take UPR commitments seriously

Seven Doraisamy (Suaram) presenting the COMANGO statment


By Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO)

The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO) urges the government to uphold its commitments to the recommendations which were accepted in March 2014 during its second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The government is encouraged to make their UPR pledges public — in Malay, Mandarin and Tamil — and allow for public review of the implementation of these. Additionally, the government should take all necessary steps and measures to put an end to the regression of human rights values in Malaysia and renew its commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights.  

Malaysia is encouraged to submit a mid-term report to the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). However, the government, through previous consultations with civil society organizations had indicated that it was not inclined to do so.

COMANGO, on the other hand, will be sending its mid-term report to the OHCHR as mandated under the Human Rights Council Review 2011.[1] The mid-term report details the assessment of implementation of a total of 60 UPR recommendations which Malaysia had accepted which are deemed specific and measureable. Among these recommendations, only 20% were fully implemented by the government. More worryingly, 57% of these recommendations have witnessed a regressing situation of increasing violations of human rights, and a trend of growing impunity.

Furthermore, since the October 2013 review, the Government has failed to translate Malaysia’s 2013 National Report, the Report of the Working Group on the UPR, and the Addendum to the Working Group Report. Peoples in Malaysia should know the international human rights standards that the government had promised to uphold.

For its part, COMANGO is pleased to launch the bilingual version of our report that was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013. We will be disseminating the bilingual version of our UPR report nationwide as part of our continuing work in engaging the government to uphold its commitments to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of all persons in Malaysia as part of the UPR process.

COMANGO calls on the government to take its UPR commitments seriously and carry out efforts to include as many relevant stakeholders as possible. The UPR should be an open and participatory process where the government works together with rights-based civil society organisations, the national human rights commission and international bodies to reach a common goal of improving the human rights conditions on the ground.

UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 member states of the United Nations. In Malaysia’s context, government representatives will be scrutinized through a process of peer review in 2018, which by then will be its 3rd UPR cycle thus far.

For more information, please contact ;-
Angela Kuga Thas –
Rizal Rozhan –
Contact No:        +603 7784 4977

Released by:
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

[1]  The Human Rights Council on UPR under item 8 states that: “other relevant stakeholders are encouraged to include in their contributions information on the follow-up to the preceding (UPR) review”.

NGOs concerned over regressing human rights

By Robin Augustin (FMT)
 | May 20, 2016
Reporting a decline in freedoms such as freedom of expression and religion, Comango urges government to honour its commitment to the UN’s recommendations.

PETALING JAYA: The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) is concerned with the regression of human rights in the nation.
At a press conference on its midterm Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process report, the group, made up of 54 NGOs, revealed its assessment of 60 measurable recommendations out of the 113 recommendations accepted by Malaysia in 2014.
The UPR report details United Nations member state’s performance in relation to the implementation of human rights recommendations it has accepted based on recommendations of other countries.
In its midterm report, Comango revealed that only 20% of the 60 recommendations had been fully implemented, while 57% of the recommendations have seen a regressing situation.
Areas which have seen a regression are freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of religion, elections and migrant workers among others.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy highlighted the increased use of the Sedition Act 1948 for political reasons as one of the examples in which freedom of expression had regressed.
“Additionally amendments to laws such as the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 may stifle freedoms.”
In the case of freedom of assembly and association, Sevan said the government had not taken steps to raise standards of press freedom, and that press freedom had been affected by the blocking of websites.
On the issue of women’s rights, Women’s Aid Organisation Advocacy Officer Lainey Lau said that while progress was being made, the government was still too slow to develop or amend laws to protect women.
This, she said, included a law against marital rape, which countries such as China, Hong Kong, Lesotho and Albania already had.
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM) activist, Rizuan Tempek, meanwhile, lamented the negligible protection of indigenous peoples’ land rights, with land grabs and encroachment cases still being reported.
Comango said it was not too late for the government to honour its commitments in relation to the recommendations it accepted and urged the government to do so, as well as work with civil society groups in the process.
The group also urged the government to translate its obligatory five year report into Bahasa Malaysia and disseminate it to the public.
Every five years, UN member states are required to submit their UPR report, while non-governmental organisations and rights groups are encouraged to submit shadow reports.
Governments are not required to submit mid-term assessments.
Also at the press conference were representatives from Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower),Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat ( Komas ) and The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham).


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Stop undermining Human Rights in Malaysia

PROHAM expresses its disappointment with the Government of Malaysia in its handling of the matters pertaining to SUHAKAM. This is totally unacceptable and unbecoming of a responsible government. Three areas of concern.

The first, is the provision of adequate funds for the work of SUHAKAM. It is totally unacceptable that the government of Malaysia is unable to find an additional RM5 million for SUHAKAM in 2016. The budget cut by 50% is unacceptable as a RM10 to RM12 million annually is a very small sum in light of the total federal spending. It is unbelievable that the government is unable to find the additional funds which it is obligated to provide.

Second, there is reference made recently that the geographical spread of SUHAKAM’s promotional and protection work is narrowed down to just the Klang valley. PROHAM calls the Minister referred to namely Dato Paul Low to verify and clarify the statement which is quoted as a written parliamentary reply. This too is totally unacceptable as the promotion and protection work must have a national coverage to all the states in the Peninsular as well as the states of Sabah and Sarawak.  

Third, we are once again in an unacceptable situation where there is a Commission without commissioners. It is the duty of the Federal Government that ensure that the appointments are made in due time of the expiry of the tenure of Commissioners. This failure to comply with human rights standards and obligations is reflective of the low priority placed on human rights by the current administration.

SUHAKAM was established in 1999 about seventeen years ago. Malaysia has previously played an active role in the United Nations both in the Security Commission and UN Human Rights Commission. It is of utmost importance that the work of SUHAKAM is not undermined but enhanced in accordance to international human rights standards.

Therefore PROHAM calls on the Federal Government to fulfill its obligations based on the SUHAKAM Act as well as Malaysia’s international obligations.

Issued on behalf of PROHAM by Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, PROHAM Secretary General
May 19, 2016