Maryam Lee, activist and writer, has received a vicious onslaught of online abuse following her public comments on the #UndiRosak Movement, observes Hakam.
The attacks on Lee go far beyond criticism of her political ideas. Rather, they attack and bully her personally.
These online attacks are a breach of Lee’s right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment and her right to hold and express opinions without interference.
Political disagreements should be addressed through respectful discourse, not through immature, personal attacks. Productive public discourse requires us to respect the humanity of our opponents, even if we strongly disagree with their views. Everyone is entitled to the protections human rights provide, regardless of their political view.
The gendered nature of the abuse Lee received breaches her right to be free from sex-based discrimination. This sends a devastating message to politically active young women. It says that their voices will be silenced and that they will be ridiculed in the most personal ways, with attackers targeting their sexuality, their bodies and ultimately, their humanity.
Hakam condemns this toxic bullying against Lee and other proponents of #UndiRosak.
Robyn Choi is secretary general of the Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam). This statement was issued on behalf of the Hakam executive committee.