We, the undersigned civil society organisations, are appalled at the police investigation that is reportedly being carried out against Numan Afifi in relation to a statement that he read out at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Numan’s statement was made in collaboration with other Malaysian non-governmental organisations and addressed the recommendations made by various UN member states to Malaysia during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process with regard to issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.
While welcoming Malaysia’s acceptance of the recommendation to implement anti-bullying campaigns in schools, the statement expressed concern that Malaysia had merely noted the remaining 10 recommendations that were made.
The statement also highlighted ongoing violence and discrimination faced by LGBT persons in Malaysia, including state-sponsored programmes such as conversion therapy camps and action plans targeting LGBT persons. It also highlighted discrimination and harassment against LGBT persons in relation to their participation in the Women’s March.
The police investigation into Numan’s statement merely serves to highlight the harassment, bullying and discrimination faced by LGBT persons in Malaysia. There is absolutely nothing in Numan’s statement that could warrant any investigation by the authorities.
The fact that this investigation is being carried out is a clear breach of the freedom of expression guaranteed in Article 10 of the Constitution and an act of intimidation by the authorities towards a marginalised and vulnerable group of persons.
There are constant attacks against LGBT persons – both physically and verbally – that do warrant investigation. LGBT persons have been threatened with death, rape and other forms of violence, all of which seem to have gone unnoticed by our authorities. Instead, they appear to have chosen to investigate someone for calling for an end to such violence and other forms of discrimination.
We call on the Malaysian police to immediately cease any investigation of Numan Afifi. We also call on all members of the government to respect the human rights and fundamental liberties of LGBT persons.
Vilifying them in public and in Parliament merely legitimises the violence and discrimination that is carried out against LGBT persons and encourages the authorities to carry out unjustified investigations such as this.
- Centre for Independent Journalism
- Agora Society
- Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)