Atrocities in Rakhine State in Myanmar Must Stop and Allegation of Crime against Humanity Must be Investigated

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is gravely concerned with the on-going crackdown and violence against ethnic Rohingya in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and condemn the escalating human rights violations against the Rohingya community in Rakhine.

The preliminary investigations and inquiry by the United Nations has raised concerns that there may be crime against humanity committed in Myanmar. Despite grave allegations posed against the Myanmar government, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s resolution (A/HRC/RES/34/22) to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission was refused by the Myanmar government, further cementing the concerns that there are substantial human rights violations in the region.

The persecution of ethnic Rohingya stand as one of the worst human rights violations in the ASEAN region. The consistent threats posed against the community by the Myanmar government and the active attempt to eliminate the Rohingya from Myanmar can no longer be treated as merely crime against humanity but must be called as it is, a genocide.

Recognizing the plight of the Rohingya, Malaysia must play a proactive role to protect and promote the rights of the community within and outside of Malaysia. The protection of these rights including the rights to peaceful assembly afforded to Malaysians and to any foreign nationals including the Rohingya.

SUARAM is appalled by the attempts to deprive the Rohingya of their fundamental human rights and call for all stakeholders to uphold the rights of the Rohingya in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recognizing the immediate need for intervention and the irreparable harm inflicted on the Rohingya, SUARAM calls for the Myanmar government to:

  • Cease all hostilities and military maneuvers by the Myanmar government in Rakhine;
  • Allow the proposed international fact-finding mission to enter Rakhine to investigate all allegations of crime against humanity and genocide;
  • Allow the entry of humanitarian outfits to provide assistance to refugees and casualties of the conflict.

SUARAM also calls for the Malaysian government to:

  • Intervene, on behalf of the Rohingya people, in all international and regional platform;
  • Summon the Myanmar Ambassador to Malaysia to answer for the on-going human rights violations in Myanmar;
  • And, to suspend diplomatic ties with Myanmar in the event of further escalations.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

*Notes

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Interview with Rohingya’s fleeing from Myanmar since 9 October 2016

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/FlashReport3Feb2017.pdf

Resolution A/HRC/RES/34/22

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G17/081/98/PDF/G1708198.pdf?OpenElement

 

Human Rights Day in Troubled Times

For Immediate Release
10 December 2016

Human Rights Day in Troubled Times

Human Rights Day that falls on the 10th December 2016 is supposed to be a day of celebration where people from around the world celebrate human rights. While the spirit of solidarity and hope remains strong within and without Malaysia, the situation pertaining to human rights in Malaysia have brought morale of all Malaysians to a new low.

Detention without Trial

The detention of Maria Chin Abdullah, Siti Noor Aishah, Azmi Nur Jalani, R. Sri Sanjeevan and many others made it clear that the spectre of Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) has not left Malaysia. While ISA has been repealed for years, the mannerism where detention without trial is a ‘must have’ tool adopted by the Royal Malaysian Police and the Malaysian Government has not changed. Draconian laws that were supposedly meant for counter-terrorism efforts have been and will continue to be abused by those in power for their benefit.

The Deputy Prime Minister himself has unabashedly informed the Malaysian people that 37 individuals from the Immigration Department of Malaysia were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. Of the 37 detained, only 4 had a chance to stand trial in court while 33 of them were subsequently rearrested and detained under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959. Dozens remain in custody till this day. Such practice does not protect Malaysian from further criminal acts and violence. Such practices only serve to hide the hidden hands that have had a role in these injustices and penalize the innocents.

Torture in Detention

The Deputy Minister for Home Affairs and the Inspector-General of Police continues with the perverse defence that the treatment received by Maria Chin Abdullah was no different from the treatment received by any other detainees as the Royal Malaysian Police only acted in line with their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Perhaps the good minister and the well learned police chief wilfully chose to forget that compliance does not absolve the government of the crime of committing torture.

The claims that it the treatment experienced by Maria Chin Abdullah fully complied with SOP only serve as an evidence that torture is not an exception to the norm. The consistent statement and claims put forward by both the Minister and the Inspector-General of Police only proves and substantiate the past allegations that torture is systematically used against those detained under SOSMA and POCA.

Persecution of Student Activists

The disciplinary proceeding against student activists Anis Syafiqah, Luqman Nul Haqim, Luqman Hakim and Suhail Wan Azahar was heard on the eve of Human Rights Day. Their defence was swept aside and they were all found ‘guilty’ for jeopardizing University Malaya’s reputation, for organizing a rally and for causing public unrest and damage to public property.

The unfounded and malicious charges against the University Malaya 4 is only exacerbated by the unprofessional manner in which the disciplinary board heard the disciplinary proceeding. The notion of fair trial and natural justice was nowhere to be found with the allegations put forward against the students being altered and changed at a whim. The embarrassing display by University of Malaya only render themselves guilty of jeopardizing the reputation of the University and position the University as a key player of human rights violations against student and youth.

Indigenous Peoples Rights

Despite long year of campaign and small victories along the way, violation of indigenous peoples’ rights continues with absolute impunity. The communities’ fight for survival and human rights was not met with understanding and acceptance but challenged with violence and threats by the Federal and State government.

The government’s insistence on allowing the logging operation to continue with no plans for remedy would only set the indigenous community on the path to extinction. With such callous response, it is inevitable that our indigenous friends would gradually lose their homes, their livelihood and eventually their heritage and identity. Such loss would only be made worse with Malaysia losing its last few vestige of natural heritage with the culling of the forest.

Freedom of Expression and Assembly

Reflecting on the long year of repression, the first right that was silenced in this campaign of repression was our right to express ourselves and assemble peacefully. Persecution of vocal critics to the arrest and detention of individuals expressing their concern for human rights and democracy threatened to destroy the small democratic space we have left.

Imposing fine is no longer satisfactory. Only prison sentence seems to be enough the quell the Government of Malaysia’s need for retribution against those who were perceived as enemy of the state. Unfortunately, even the prosecution and punishment of critics in public space is no longer enough. The ire of the government now turns to every day Malaysian who voice their discontent and worries online. What freedom do Malaysians’ have when a Facebook comment can now put us in shackles?

The Fight Continues

In these troubled times, Malaysians need to remember that the night is the darkest hour is just before dawn. The fight for human rights and better Malaysia cannot be stopped and will only continue to grow. All Malaysians can do and all we can do is to stand together in solidarity with our friends in need and continue to march on against repression.

SUARAM reiterate our dedication to the human rights cause of Malaysia and call on all Malaysian to stand together in our fight for human rights and democracy. SUARAM also calls upon the Malaysian government to re-examine its callous stance on human rights and adopt policies that genuinely cares for Malaysians’ welfare. Failure to do so would only doom us all for all of us have no other home but Malaysia.

Salam Perjuangan!

In solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

‘Red Shirt’ Violence against Bersih Participants and Media Must Stop!

For Immediate Release
17 October 2016

‘Red Shirt’ Violence against Bersih Participants and Media Must Stop!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemns the violence shown by ‘Red Shirts’ supporters and call for stern action against instigators and provocateurs attempting to cause chaos and violence against participants of the peaceful and orderly Bersih 5 Convoy.

The rhetoric of violence advocated by Jamal Yunos and his supporters can no longer be seen or remotely considered as a verbal brinkmanship. The events and escalating violence documented in the past few weeks have make it undeniably clear that Jamal Yunos and the ‘Red Shirts’ that he leads plots to derail Bersih 5 through whatever means available to them.

The scuffle that took place on 15th October 2016 where ‘Red Shirt’ supporters physically assaulted a Bersih 5 convoy participant and manhandled members of the media who were present on scene marks a dangerous precedent for all. As the ringleader of the group, Jamal Yunos must immediately apologize for his unconscionable acts of violence and cease with his violent attempts to derail and intimidate Bersih 5 convoy.

On this note, SUARAM remind the Royal Malaysian Police that it holds a unique and crucial role in providing and protecting freedom of assembly. Their role in this is not only a responsibility not to restrict, but also the responsibility to facilitate any peaceful assembly. To this end, SUARAM applauds the commendable support and assistance shown by the police force throughout the weeks and strongly support the neutral and impartial assistance to participants on the ground for safety and security reasons.

On the other hand, the growing threat shown by the ‘Red Shirt’ supporters suggest that more proactive steps need to be taken to mitigate and defuse these ‘counter-protestors’ before any untoward incident take place. To this end, SUARAM calls for a swift investigation into the criminal acts committed by Jamal Yunos and his supporters and for them to be prosecuted accordingly.

In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Uphold Students & Youths Right to Peaceful Assembly!

Uphold Students & Youths Right to Peaceful Assembly!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is repulsed by the attempts to criminalize and restrict the rights of students and youth groups to take part in public assemblies. The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental right that is afforded to all human beings and provided for under the Federal Constitution and can only be derogated in the direst of circumstances.

The attempt to criminalize and penalize students for participating in the #TangkapMO1 rally scheduled on the 27th August 2016 is not only regrettably but represents a gross human rights violation by the Government and the education institute. The act of criminalizing such participation can be seen as a move to remove the voice of students and youth groups and limit the democratic rights of students and youth groups.

The courage to stand up for democracy and human rights are traits that should be promoted and fostered within students and must not become the reason for them to be expelled from their respective universities.

SUARAM reiterate our support the call for action by the student coalitions of #TangkapMO1 and strongly condemn all attempts to restrict the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly afforded to all Malaysians under the Federal Constitution.

As a show of solidarity, SUARAM will provide assistance and support to the rally on the 27th August 2016. Participants who found themselves arrested for participating in the rally can contact the urgent arrest team on duty and send their name, IC number, polis station or place of arrest to 012-256 6089.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

ALLOW THE PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND RESPECT THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

 

PRESS STATEMENT: 8 MAY 2013

 

ALLOW THE PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND RESPECT THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

SUARAM urges the Malaysian government to respect the fundamental right to peaceful assembly by allowing the opposition rally today at the Kelana Jaya Stadium. The rally is being held in response to allegations of election irregularities and fraud that happened on Election Day.

SUARAM also condemns the statement by the IGP Ismail Omar who stated that the rally is illegal (7 May 2013, an article in news portal Malaysiakini titled “Rally illegal, participants face arrest, warns IGP”). SUARAM‘s position is that there is no need for an application of a permit by the organizers which is in line with provisions in the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA), .  As far as SUARAM is concerned, the organisers only need to notify to the police of the assembly.

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Further, the right of every Malaysian to assemble peacefully without arms is also enshrined in the country’s highest law, the Federal Constitution.

SUARAM continues to call for abolishment of the Peaceful Assembly Act as many of the provisions in the Act contravenes international human rights standards and provides the police with excessive powers to restrict peaceful assemblies

As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Malaysia has made commitments on numerous occasions, in various international fora to protect human rights. If the government does not intend to make a mockery of its own international commitments, it must allow the rally to proceed without any disruption, and ensure that the police manage the rally in compliance with international human rights standards.

Released by,

 

Nalini Elumalai

Executive Director

SUARAM