Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Universal periodic review of Malaysia by the UN Human Rights Council

Malaysia's human rights record is coming under review by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. This will be happening on Tuesday, 11 February 2009 in Geneva from 9.30 pm till 12.30 am.

Malaysia's review will be facilitated by 3 countries (the troika): Egypt, Qatar and Nicaragua.

During that review, the 3 main documents they will be referring to are:

1) the national report (prepared by the Government of Malaysia);

2) the UN agencies' report (a compilation report prepared by the UN based on their interaction with Malaysia through e.g. UNFPA, UNDP and the CEDAW Committee);

3) the stakeholders' report (a compilation of reports from 11 organisations that submitted reports to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in September last year. From Malaysia, we have the main NGOs report - COMANGO's, then one from MWG-JUMP, JOAS and another from the Malaysian Bar. SUHAKAM submitted a report as well.

The great thing about technology is that now we get to watch the review live! The link to watch the live webcast is on the website of the OHCHR:

The Government of Malaysia is led by Tan Sri Rastam (Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). His delegation includes 20+ people.

Let's watch - this is the first time we can see how our officials interact with the Human Rights Council.

Amongst the questions asked by states during this session, for which Malaysia is expected to give an answer, are:
  • Malaysia's use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) to arrest and detain critics of the government, including indefinite extensions of detention and degrading treatment of detainees during detention
  • Malaysia's measures to protect the rights of the children of detainees/ prisoners
  • Malaysia's selective application of the right to freedom of assembly to those who support government policies, while it denies permission, arrests and conducts harsh crackdowns on those who oppose government policies
  • Malaysia's measures to guarantee freedom of religion for all citizens, including the right to leave a faith, the right to a place of worship for all faiths, and the right of non-Sunni Muslims to worship
  • Malaysia's treatment of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, in particular, their mass arrest, deportation, and detention in inhumane conditions; concerns are also raised about unwarranted violence by immigration officers and RELA during operations
  • Malaysia's criminalization of consensual sexual activity amongst people of the same sexMalaysia's treatment of street children
  • Malaysia's measures to address patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes about the roles and responsibilities of women
  • Malaysia's measures to protect the rights and prevent discrimination of indigenous peoples
  • Malaysia's steps to ensure that SUHAKAM is in compliance with the Paris

PrinciplesMalaysia's views on accession to core international human rights treaties

Within 48 hours after this session, a Working Group comprising selected states will write a Summary Report that list the issues raised and the recommendations made to Malaysia.

This report will be formally adopted at the next Human Rights Council Session in June 2009. Malaysia will then be responsible for implementing these recommendations.


The UPR is a state-driven process under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, through which all 192 UN Member States are reviewed every four years. Through this process, the Human Rights Council reminds all states of their responsibility to respect and fulfill human rights obligations and commitments.

In examining Malaysia, the Human Rights Council will be considering:

  • A report submitted by the government of Malaysia, which is supposed to be drafted in broad consultation with stakeholders
  • A report compiled by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) summarizing information on human rights in Malaysia as collected through UN agencies and treaty bodies
  • A report summarizing submissions by SUHAKAM and civil society groups - including the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO), Migration Working Group & the Northern Network for Migrant and Refugees (MWG-JUMP), Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS), Bar Council of Malaysia, Amnesty International and Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme & SUARAM (FIDH-SUARAM)

These reports can be downloaded from: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR\PAGES\MYSession4.aspx

马来西亚在联合国人权委员会的会员籍将于2009年结束 --- 我们可以再拿一届吗 -- 哈哈。还是不要丢脸啦 ---

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At February 11, 2009 12:03 AM, Blogger 王妤娴 said...

M'sia should face grilling at UN review: HRW
Feb 10, 09 6:19pm

Malaysia should face a grilling over the abuse of migrants and the jailing of political opponents when its seat on the UN Human Rights Council is reviewed this week, a watchdog said today.

MCPX"A long, hard look at Malaysia's performance on fundamental human rights, including its detention practices, is in order," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"Countries should call Malaysia to account for failing to address abuses against migrants and refugees, and for its continuing use of preventative detention," she said in a statement.

Civil society groups have seized on Wednesday's review in Geneva, which is mandatory every four years, to highlight Malaysia's alleged abuses and its draconian colonial-era internal security laws.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) provides for detention without trial for renewable two-year periods, and has been used against suspected terrorists as well as government critics.

"Malaysia uses the pretext of national security to invoke the ISA and lock up critics and political opponents indefinitely," Pearson said.

"UN member states should challenge Malaysia to repeal the ISA, and either to charge or to free all those currently detained under its provisions."

Human Rights Watch said it noted that last year the nation's top blogger, a newspaper journalist and an opposition politician were all detained under the law and later released.

And in 2007 five leaders of an ethnic Indian rights group were arrested after organising unprecedented anti-government protests. They remain in detention in a camp in Kamunting.

Malaysia is also accused of mistreating the millions of foreign workers who live here, as well as asylum seekers, including thousands from military-run Burma.

Human Rights Watch singled out an infamous government-backed volunteer force known as Rela which it accused of beating, threatening and extorting money from migrants and asylum-seekers.



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