Geneva, 4 March 2016 – Two Suaram representatives under the accreditation of Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) are attending the 31st regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which opened on 29 February in Geneva, Switzerland.
During the week, the group will meet with the Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders and Torture as well as various permanent missions to the UN in Geneva and Geneva-based NGOs, to highlight and make recommendations on Malaysia’s poor human rights record.
The two Suaram reps accredited by Aliran are Suaram executive director and activist Sevan Doraisamy and Bala Chelliah, coordinator of Suaram International based in Geneva.
Grassroots community organiser and PSM central committee member S Arutchelvan, who was recently charged under the Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act, is also in Geneva, having been accredited by Forum Asia.
The delegation notes that, in his opening address to the Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on “leaders to take actions now to relieve the pressure on rights or face future explosive consequences”.
In his statement to the Human Rights Council, Zaid Rastam, Malaysia’s deputy permanent representative unashamedly expressed that the Malaysian government gives importance to the enjoyment of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms for its people.
The delegation finds the statement to be nothing more than lip service in light of the grave human rights violations committed by the government.
The Malaysian representatives also highlighted the government’s commitment to human rights in receiving 3,000 Syrian refugees to Malaysia.
While we welcome this effort, we have reservations with regard to the government’s selective treatment when providing aid and support to refugees. The delegation finds the statement delivered by the Malaysian representatives insincere and aimed at placating the Human Rights Council and the international community.
Suaram will make all necessary efforts to lobby and advocate on the ongoing human rights crisis in Malaysia to the international community. Suaram will deliver two oral statements on behalf of Aliran during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Special Rapporteur on Torture.
The delegation will highlight the recent issues facing the country’s human rights defenders, as well as highlighting the latest reports of torture that occurred under security laws.
Alongside this, S Arutchelvan will participate in a panel side event organised by Forum Asia, entitled: Protection Needs of Human Rights Defenders working on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Challenges and Good Practices on Monday, 7 March, 13.30pm at the 31st Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Arul will joined by the other guest speakers including Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Navi Pillay, former High Commissioner for Human Rights.