4TH MARCH 2016


(Geneva, 4th March 2016)  SUARAM under the accreditation of Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) is attending the 31st  Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which opened on 29th February in Geneva, Switzerland. During the week, the group will meet with the Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders and Torture as well as various permanent missions to the UN in Geneva and Geneva based NGOs, to highlight and make recommendations on Malaysia’s poor human rights record.

The delegation from SUARAM comprises of SUARAM Executive Director and activist, Sevan Doraisamy, Grassroots Community Organiser and PSM Central Committee Member Mr. S. Arutchelvan who was recently charged under the Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act and Mr. Bala Chelliah, Coordinator of Suaram International based in Geneva.

The delegation notes that, in his opening address to the Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on “leaders to take actions now to relieve the pressure on rights or face future explosive consequences”. 

In his statement to the Human Rights Council, Zaid Rastam, Malaysia’s Deputy Permanent Representative unashamedly expressed that the Malaysian government gives importance to the enjoyment of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms for its people. The delegation finds the statement to be nothing more than lip-service in light of the grave human rights violations committed by the Government of Malaysia. The Malaysian representatives also highlighted the government’s commitment to human rights in receiving 3000 Syrian refugees to Malaysia. While we welcome this effort, we have reservations in regards of the government’s selective treatment when providing aid and support to refugees. The delegation finds the statement delivered by the Malaysian representatives insincere and aim to placate the human rights council and the international community. 

SUARAM will make all the necessary efforts to lobby and advocate on the on-going human rights crisis in Malaysia to the international community. SUARAM will deliver two oral statements during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Special Rapporteur on Torture. The delegation will highlight the recent issues facing the country’s human rights defenders, as well as highlighting the latest reports of torture that occurred under security laws. Alongside this, Mr. S. Arutchelvan will participate in a panel side event organized by Forum Asia, entitled: Protection Needs of Human Rights Defenders working on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Challenges and Good Practices on Monday 7th March, 13.30pm at the 31st Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  Arul will joined by the other guest speakers including, Mr. Michel Forst, SR on Human Rights Defenders and Miss Navi Pillay, former High Commissioner for Human Rights.

For inquiries, please contact:

Nalini Elumalai, SUARAM International – [email protected]
Sevan Doraisamy, SUARAM Executive Director –
[email protected]