Press Statement: 25 July 2012
SUARAM call up on the Principle Politicians in BN and Pakatan Rakyat to take a Stand on Human Rights for LGBT
SUARAM condemns the discriminatory statements against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) community made by both the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Prime Minister Najib Razak. On 18th July 2012, the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim stated that the law against homosexuals is needed in order to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriages and that archaic laws must be reviewed to prevent the innocent from being penalised. On 19th July 2012, Prime Minister Najib Razak said that LGBT community along with liberalism and pluralism are enemies of Islam.
We recall the promises and commitments made by both leaders to uphold human rights i.e freedoms of expression, assembly and association in line with international standards.The act of singling out LGBT community to the public arena for contempt and discrimination is absolutely distasteful.
We view these statements as direct attacks as it proclaim the existence of discrimination against the LGBT community. The statements have certainly sent out a clear message that approves and justifies homophobic and Transphobic violence, abuse and harassment by the society. It must be made clear that LGBTs are not asking for any new or special rights. They are simply asking the government to live up to their promises and obligations in recognizing equality and non-discrimination for all human beings.
Pakatan Rakyat and ruling government have never had a principle holding on this issue and always find a way to berate and insult the LGBT community in Malaysia. SUARAM believes that the root cause of homophobia is fear and culture of homophobic intolerance driven by fear has no place in modern Malaysia. We should not allow fear to manifest itself into discrimination or in the dehumanisation of any human beings. Our progress towards building a more tolerant society should not be allowed to go into reverse gear.
We are deeply concerned with the situation where religious and political leaders, as well as the media’s consistent demonization of LGBT communities in Malaysia. In addition, LGBT people are frequently targeted and exposed to hate speech, attacks and harassment. We believe that everyone in Malaysia deserves to be free from discrimination, harassment and violence regardless of their sexual orientations and their gender identities. We believe it is our right to be responsible for our own body. It is important that we stand united today to say that it is a fundamental value of our country that all people deserve humanity, dignity and rights, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The UN Human Rights Council has on numerous occasions expressly stated that homosexuality is protected by Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as a special status of non-discrimination and urged states to pass anti-discrimination legislation that expressly includes sexual orientation as a protected ground. According to Article 7 of the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (also known as the Human Rights Defenders Declaration):-
“Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance” and according to Article 12.2 “The state shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of their rights referred to in the present Declaration”
The Malaysian government, opposition members and general societies must now take concrete, positive steps to move forward with tangible measures such as the recognition of civil status of LGBT communities and to prove once and for all that intolerance, discriminations and violence against the LGBT communities will not be accepted and should be opposed. Politicians should stop playing to the gallery but get down to the serious business of reform, which starts at the door of human rights.