Aliran responds to UN Special Rapporteur’s report

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Maria Chin Abdullah submitted the following intervention on behalf of Aliran at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Thank you Mr. President. On behalf of Aliran and civil organisations of Malaysia, we appreciate the report of Special Rapporteur, Frank La Rue, on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (A/HRC/20/17) at the 20th session of Human Rights Council.

We welcome and echo the learned Special Rapporteur and the Chair Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s dismay over the arbitrary use of tear gas and chemical laced water cannons by securities authorities against peaceful demonstrators during the Bersih 2.0 rally. One death was reported due to asphyxiation of tear gas and about 1667 people were arrested. Prior to the said rally six leaders of Parti Sosialis Malaysia were arrested under the notorious Emergency Ordinance which allows for detention without trial for up to 60 days.

Mr. President, the violence during BERSIH 2.0 was repeated at BERSIH 3.0. While records show a decrease in number of arrests i.e. 388, the acts of violence against unarmed, peaceful demonstrators escalated at a worrying degree. For the record, a total of 909 tear-smoke shells were used in comparison to 262 in Bersih 2.0. The chairperson and its steering committee members were subsequently sued by the Malaysian government for allegedly causing damage to public properties during the rally.

The learned Special Rapporteur’s observation in regard to the arbitrary and disproportionate restrictions under the Peaceful Assembly Bill (as it then was) is accurate. The Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 turned out to be more repressive as it confers arbitrary powers to the police and the Home Minister. The Act provides a ban on street protests in toto and prohibits non-citizens and citizens under 21 years of age to assemble peacefully. The media’s access to public gatherings is now conditional pursuant to the Act.

READ MORE:  Belasungkawa kepada rakan Bersih 2.0 yang telah pergi pada tahun 2019 (Malay/English)

We are in agreement with the learned Special Rapporteur in respect of the rights of individuals and society at large to seek and receive information guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.In the same breath, we express our regret at the recent amendments made to the Evidence Act 1950 in particular Section 14A of the Act, which reversed the burden of proof to the accused person, failing which an author is liable whenever unlawful materials are published in the author’s name, blog or website or even transmitted from any individual’s computer. The burden of proof otherwise now rests squarely on the accused person.

We stress that the increased rate of hostility levelled against individuals, journalists and bloggers would intimidate and freeze freedom of expression and opinion in Malaysia. We recall the threat of a sedition charge against the Executive Director of Tenaganita, Irene Fernandez, for raising concerns on the abuse of migrant rights in Malaysia. Other instances include and banning of works from local authors Faisal Tehrani, Kassim Ahmad and satirical cartoonist Zunar and the latest demonisation of Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book titled “Allah, Kebebasan & Cinta” (Allah, Freedom & Love).

Mr President, we are cautious, as rightly pointed out by the learned Special Rapporteur, that laws purported to protect national security or to counter terrorism continue to be invoked against journalists who report on sensitive or critical matters of public interest. The Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill (“SOSMB”), which has passed in both houses in Parliament, is one example. A person can be detained on bare suspicion for as long as 28 days.

READ MORE:  Belasungkawa kepada rakan Bersih 2.0 yang telah pergi pada tahun 2019 (Malay/English)

We humbly request the support of the Human Rights Council to make a recommendation to the Malaysian Government to invite the UN Special Rapporteurs to observe the coming General Elections so as to ensure transparency, clean and fair elections as well as the protection of freedoms. you Mr. President.

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Karanraj Sathianathan
8 Sep 2012 4.16pm

What Aliran doing is a great service to all Malaysians. Barisan government has not learnt any lessons from the people’s rally starting with HINDRAF’s peaceful march to British Embassy in 2007 till BERSIH’s peaceful demonstrations. The government continues to use force to suppress free voice and human rights in Malaysia. Malaysia is at present overtaking Somalia as the worst … nation of the world. If Barisan continues to rule, then (so much of) the wealth of the country would be (siphoned away) leaving a bankrupt nation. Time to throw out all Barisan parties including … UMNO … by not giving them any votes during the 13GE. One thing I fail to understand why ALIRAN never bothers to highlight the sufferings of most marginalised, poorest 80% of Malaysian Indians and the stateless people. ALIRAN knows very well that Barisan made these people to suffer, deny any opportunities including education, jobs, business, permits, contracts and treat them worst than 4th class citizens past 55 years. But Pakatan which these Indians trusted also ended up in (allegedly) cheating these victims by (allegedly) giving almost all benefits of the rule… Read more »

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
7 Sep 2012 6.16pm

Call for the resignation & (investigation) of UMNO, MACC & PBB leaders NOW. Twitter quote: ‘Mubarak cried and resisted leaving the helicopter that took him to prison.’ Let this, Gaddaffi & Saddam etc be a warning to others. … Scorpene scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Think, before the arrival of internet media, twitter & blogs, how much has been plundered, squandered and hidden …. Malaysia has become a big laughing stock. Howard Zinn: “….…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves…(and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” Don’t tolerate another day, not even another hour!

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
7 Sep 2012 6.11pm

… The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity” committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

On 30 Nov ‘73, the UN General Assembly opened for signature and ratification the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.[1] It defined the crime of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
7 Sep 2012 6.09pm

Quote:’ Give us back our country, Malaysia. UMNO BN does not owned the country and her people. BN is voted in to serve and prosper the country and the Rakyat. NOT to enrich themselves. NOT to dictate over us Malaysians and do what they like! BN has failed big time after 55yrs, time to make way for PR. The Rakyat would like to give PR federal government a chance to prove it can rule better and fairer than BN. PR will put right all the wrong doings now going on in the governmental agencies and GRCs. We, the Rakyat have a choice to choose from now.’

Adam
Adam
7 Sep 2012 4.06pm

We can only hope to vote for change when the elections are fair and clean. The basic principle of democracy of one person one vote has not been complied with; how do we expect fairness in the elections?

najib manaukau
6 Sep 2012 7.50am

Can you ever get (them) to stop biting regardless of whatever you do or can do ? Don’t waste your time trying to get them from doing what they are born with and that is deception.
The one and only way to stop (them) from biting is to … kick out the morons from Putrajaya in the coming GE so just do that !