From Shadow to Light

For Immediate Release
10th November 2015

From Shadow to Light

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) would like to wish all Malaysians a happy Deepavali and hope that this festival of lights would bring light and joy to everyone.

On this day, SUARAM would like to shed light on information that was shrouded in ambiguity and not made publicly known.

After 15 years of struggle, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) have obtained some degrees of recognition by Malaysians. While their success was not without flaws, the impact they have in the human rights discourse in Malaysia cannot be dismissed easily. Despite their success (or perhaps because of their success), the Government of Malaysia have decided to curtail and reduce the budget for SUHAKAM for 2016. The budget allocation for SUHAKAM for 2016 is a mere RM5,509,400 (in comparison, RM10,986,200 for 2015). It would be difficult for SUHAKAM to conduct its daily operation and public campaigns with almost a 50% cut in budget.

With Malaysia’s deteriorating human rights situation observed throughout 2015, this cut in budget clearly shows the Government of Malaysia’s lack of political will to empower SUHAKAM. The Government of Malaysia cannot in good conscience claim that they hold human rights and civil liberties in high regards when it is not reflected in the budget allocation for SUHAKAM.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the Government of Malaysia to review the budget allocation for SUHAKAM and provide more intervention power for SUHAKAM to conduct its daily operations and public campaigns in a manner that reflect its status as a National Human Rights Institution. Failure to do so would ensure that the Government of Malaysia’s fail in complying with the Paris Principles and eventually result in the downgrade of SUHAKAM from its current ‘A’ status. This downgrade would only add to the ever growing list of human rights violations by the Malaysian Government and further shame Malaysia in its commitment to uphold and human rights and democracy.

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Memorandum SUHAKAM

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA(SUARAM) & GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA (GMI)
ADUAN SALAHGUNA KUASA POLIS DAN TUNTUTAN SATU PENYIASATAN TERBUKA TERHADAP PIHAK POLIS.

12 OGOS 2010

Kami dari SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) bersama dengan Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) dan para tahanan yang ditahan pada 1 Ogos 2010 lalu ingin membuat aduan pada hari ini terhadap pasukan Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM) yang dipimpin oleh Ketua Polis Negara Tan Sri Musa Hassan kerana telah menyalahgunakan pasukan polis dan Light Strike Force (LSF) pada 1 Ogos 2010 dalam satu program Vigil yang aman dan teratur.

1.0 ANTI ISA VIGIL SEMPENA 50 TAHUN ISA
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) telah mengumumkan kepada media bahawa satu program Vigil Lilin serentak akan diadakan pada 1 Ogos 2010 sempena 50 tahun ISA[1]. GMI bersama dengan kumpulan NGO yang lain seperti SUARAM, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS), Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), Student Democratic Movement (DEMA) dan Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) telah membuat perancangan untuk mengadakan program tersebut pada 1 Ogos 2010, pukul 8.00 malam serentak di beberapa tempat di Malaysia sejak bulan Jun yang lalu.

Vigil Anti ISA serentak yang diadakan di Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah dan Sarawak adalah untuk menuntut agar kerajaan mansuhkan ISA dengan segera, bukan hanya pinda, kerana ia adalah sebuah akta yang membenarkan penahanan tanpa bicara dan ianya mencabuli hak asasi manusia untuk mendapat perbicaraan yang adil.

2.0 POLIS: PEMENANG ANUGERAH PENCABUL HAK ASASI RAKYAT
Sempena dengan 50 tahun ISA, GMI telah memaklumkan tentang program ini kepada Jawatankuasa Hak Asasi Manusia, Majlis Peguam Malaysia; Pusat Bantuan Guaman; SUHAKAM dan juga kepada Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan. (Sila Lihat Lampiran 1)
Pada 1 Ogos Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar telah memberi amaran kepada orang awam supaya jangan menyertai[2] Vigil aman ini walaupun notis pemberitahuan sudah diberikan kepada KPN pada 28 Julai 2010. Malah, semua tempat yang dirancang untuk diadakan Vigil telah disekat oleh pihak Polis dengan sepenuhnya walaupun kebanyakan tempat-tempat tersebut adalah tempat persendirian. Misalnya, di Padang Timur Petaling Jaya, pihak polis telah menutup keseluruhan padang tersebut walaupun pihak penganjur mempunyai permit yang diluluskan oleh Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) (Lihat lampiran 2). Amaran dan perbuatan menutup jalanraya dan tempat pertemuan adalah sesuatu yang tidak masuk akal dan sekaligus melanggari hak asasi rakyat untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10, Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pada jam 8.00 malam 1 Ogos, kebanyakan negeri telah menghadapi intimidasi yang tinggi daripada pihak Polis. Namun, ”Pemenang/Champion” sebenar pencabulan Hak Asasi pada hari tersebut adalah OCPD Petaling Jaya, ASP Arjunaidi Mohamed. Beliau telah menunjukkan sikap yang tidak profesional dalam menangani situasi pada hari tersebut. Beliau[3] langsung tidak memberikan masa yang mencukupi untuk memberikan laluan kepada pihak penganjur untuk beredar secara aman. Malah, beliau sebenarnya tidak tahu proses untuk menyuraikan para peserta. Beliau menggunakan LSF untuk menyuraikan para peserta yang berada dalam keadaan aman.

Walaupun Majlis Peguam Malaysia dan SUHAKAM berada di sana sebagai pemantau namun pihak Polis tidak mempunyai tanggungjawab dan kepekaan terhadap hak asasi manusia.

2.1 ANTARA KESALAHAN YANG DILAKUKAN OLEH PIHAK POLIS DAN SALAH DI SISI HAK ASASI MANUSIA ADALAH SEPERTI BERIKUT:

1. Kebanyakan rakyat yang hadir telah dikasari, ada yang dipukul, dicederakan dan kekerasan digunakan serta seramai 39 orang ditangkap di seluruh negara tanpa sebab yang munasabah. Insiden penangkapan ini berlaku di Petaling Jaya[4], Kelantan dan Pulau Pinang[5].

2. Ini termasuk dua juvana di bawah umur (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan) ditahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis.

3. Membuat tangkapan yang berniat jahat seperti menahan mereka yang memakai baju t-shirt berwarna merah dan hitam.

4. Salahguna kuasa oleh pihak polis yang tidak memaklumkan kepada pihak peguam atau pun orang kena tahan bahawa mereka ditahan.

5. Penggunaan LSF yang sangat keterlaluan menyebabkan para peserta mempunyai kesukaran untuk bergerak serta mengganggu orang awam yang berada di sekitar tempat perhimpunan

6. Pihak polis turut menyukarkan orang awam dengan membuat sekatan jalan di semua kawasan di seluruh negara yang menganjurkan vigil Anti ISA

7. Pihak polis turut mengancam mengambil kenyataan daripada para peguam yang mewakili orang kena tahan. Ini adalah satu pencabulan hak asasi yang serius dan initimidasi polis yang keterlaluan.

8. Wartawan Harakah suami dan isteri serta anak mereka yang berumur 16 tahun turut ditahan semasa menjalankan tugas mereka sebagai wartawan yang membuat liputan di Kelantan.

2. 2 BERIKUT ADALAH INFOMASI TEMPAT-TEMPAT YANG MENGANJURKAN VIGIL DAN MENGALAMI PENANGKAPAN:

Bilangan ditahan/initimidasi polis Lapor balik kepada polis
Selangor
Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur [6]
• Seramai 400 orang hadir di PJ
• Seramai 29 orang ditahan termasuk juvana bawah umur
• Ramai yang dikasari dan dipukul oleh polis (Lampiran 3: Disertakan Video) Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 16hb Ogos 2010

Penang Speakers Square[7]
• Seramai 5 orang ditahan
• Terpaksa menukar tempat lain kerana intimidasi polis yang tinggi
• Dikasari oleh polis Perlu lapor di Mahkamah pada 14 Ogos 2010

Perak Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh
• Seramai 200 orang hadir diIpoh
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil .Tiada

Kedah Dataran Zero KM, Sungai Petani • Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Kelantan Taman Hijau, Jalan Sultanah Zainab, Kelantan
• Seramai 30 orang menyertai Vigil
• 5 orang ditahan termasuk dua wartawan Harakah dan kanak-kanak bawah umur yang 16 tahun. Lapor kepada polis pada 1 September 2010

Seremban Dataran Seremban
• Seramai 100 orang menyertai di Seremban
• Tiada tangkapan tapi initimidasi polis sangat teruk sehingga terpaksa menukar tempat lain untuk teruskan Vigil. Tiada

Johor Plaza Seni, Johor Bahru
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

Sibu No. 25, Pusat Tanah Wang, Jalan Perdada, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak • Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang Tiada

Kuching Lots 468-469, Bangunan Al Idrus Commercial Centre, Jalan Satok, 93400Kuching.
• Tiada gangguan yang teruk melainkan beberapa amaran untuk bersurai dengan awal
• Vigil dijalankan tanpa sebarang gangguan yang teruk dan di tempat yang dirancang, Tiada

2.3 PERLEMBAGAAN PERSEKUTUAN VS AKTA POLIS
Pihak Polis sekali lagi telah melanggar hak asasi dan juga menyalahguna kuasa dengan menggunakan keganasan dan kekasaran terhadap para peserta Vigil Anti ISA. Kerajaan gagal untuk melihat kepentingan dan kebebasan rakyat Malaysia yang menggunakan ruang demokrasi mereka untuk berkumpul secara aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan Negara. Malah penggunaan Akta Polis khasnya seksyen 27 (Perhimpunan Haram) adalah amat bertentangan dengan perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Kami ingin imbas kembali pendirian yang diambil oleh SUHAKAM semasa kejadian Lebuhraya Kesas (2001), Bloody Sunday di KLCC (2006), serta insiden Bandar Mahkota Cheras (2008). Salah satu pendirian dan cadangan yang disarankan oleh SUHAKAM semasa penyiasatan umum kejadian Bloody Sunday di KLCC[8] adalah pihak penganjur hanya perlu memberikan notis awal kepada pihak polis berkenaan dengan sebarang perhimpunan aman seperti yang termaktub dalam Deklarasi Hak Asasi Sejagat Manusia (UDHR).

Penggunaan LSF secara rambang adalah satu tindakan yang tidak releven dan seharusnya boleh dielakkan sekiranya pegawai polis bersedia untuk berunding dengan pihak penganjur. Pihak polis melakukan pelbagai kesalahan atas nama ketenteraman awam dan menurut arahan. Antara kesalahan yang mereka sering lakukan adalah menghalang perhimpunan awam, hak untuk mendapatkan khidmat peguam, menahan juvana dan kanak-kanak, dan penyeksaan terhadap tahanan. Namun mereka tidak sekalipun berubah selepas setiap kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh mereka sentiasa dikritik secara nasional dan antarabangsa.

3.0 PERKARA YANG PERLUKAN PERHATIAN
SUARAM dan GMI amat mengalu-alukan inisiatif SUHAKAM yang telah turun sebagai pemantau semasa program Vigil Anti ISA di Petaling Jaya. Ini adalah suatu langkah yang amat progresif dan perlu diteruskan. Malah kami juga menyokong kenyataan akhbar yang bertarikh 3 Ogos 2010[9] yang dikeluarkan oleh SUHAKAM sejurus selepas insiden tersebut bahawa pihak polis tidak memberikan masa yang secukupnya untuk bersurai dan menyifatkan tindakan polis sebagai pencabulan Hak Asasi.
Sehubungan itu, kami ingin membawa perhatian SUHAKAM kepada beberapa isu yang memerlukan tindakan segera:

1. Penyalahgunaan kuasa oleh Polis semasa menyuraikan para peserta semasa perhimpunan Vigil:

a. Menggunakan LSF (khasnya di Petaling Jaya) secara ganas dan kasar semasa menyuraikan para peserta
b. Penangkapan dibuat secara ganas dan kasar
c. Wartawan Harakah ditahan di Kelantan adalah mala fide
d. Sesiapa yang memakai baju warna merah dan hitam menjadi sasaran
e. Semua penahanan di Petaling Jaya, Pulau Pinang dan Kelantan adalah tidak releven dan mala fide

2. Kebebasan untuk Berhimpun dirampas
a. Polis menutup jalan ke arah semua kawasan yang dirancang untuk mengadakan vigil
b. Amaran daripada Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara yang melarang orang awam menyertai Vigil adalah tindakan yang melampau dan melambangkan pihak polis tidak mendukung prinsip Hak Asasi dan Demokrasi.
c. Penangkapan orang awam dan penganjur Vigil sebelum program bermula.

3. Peguam diinitimidasi oleh Polis
a. Sekumpulan peguam daripada Majlis Peguam Malaysia, Pusat Bantuan Guaman dan Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) yang mahu mewakili anak guam mereka diganggu pihak Polis dengan pihak peguam juga diminta memberikan keterangan.

4. Hak Kanak-kanak dirampas
a. Dua juvana di bawah umur di tahan selama beberapa jam di balai Polis (di Petaling Jaya dan Kelantan). Pihak Polis telah melanggari peruntukan dalam Akta Kanak-kanak seksyen 19(5) dengan tidak memaklumkan kepada Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat tentang penahanan kanak-kanak bawah umur.
b. Malaysia telah menandatangani Konvensyen Hak Kanak-kanak (Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu) yang bertanggungjawab dalam memastikan bahawa hak kanak-kanak yang ditahan atau berada dalam penahanan polis harus dijaga dengan rapi. Namun, ianya dilanggari oleh Polis apabila mereka tidak mengambil inisiatif untuk maklumkan kepada ibu bapa atau Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat.

4.0 TUNTUTAN KAMI
SUARAM dan GMI berpendirian bahawa penindasan, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan keganasan Polis semasa Vigil di seluruh negara adalah kesalahan Hak Asasi yang teruk dan mereka harus dibawa ke muka pengadilan.
Oleh itu, kami ingin menggesa SUHAKAM agar:

1. Melaksanakan Penyiasatan Umum dan terbuka terhadap kesalahan dan tindakan Polis yang melampau pada 1 Ogos 2010.
2. Memberikan laporan akhir kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pihak Polis yang melakukan kesalahan dan tindakan melampau mereka ke atas para peserta.
3. Memberikam tekanan kepada Kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengkaji kembali Kanun Keseksaan (Penal Code) dan Akta Polis 1967 dan mencadangkan kepada mereka agar membuang semua bahagian yang menghadkan kebebasan berhimpun dan bersuara.
4. Meneruskan kerja pemantauan dalam setiap perhimpunan aman. Malah pada masa yang sama, kami juga ingin menggesa SUHAKAM untuk lebih proaktif dengan cuba menjadi orang tengah antara pihak penganjur dan pihak Polis sebelum sebarang perhimpunan supaya boleh mengurangkan tekanan antara Polis dan pihak penganjur.
5. Mengambil inisiatif untuk mengaktifkan Bahagian Human Rights Defenders dalam SUHAKAM dan melindungi semua aktivis dan pendukung Hak Asasi daripada seringkali menjadi mangsa keganasan, kekasaran dan intimidasi polis dan kerajaan.
Diserahkan Oleh,
Nalini Elumalai, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Pengerusi Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

________________________________________
[1] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/138332
[2] http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/1/nation/6776657&sec=nation
[3] http://www.klik4malaysia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3660%3Anationwide-anti-isa-rally-in-conjuction-with-50-years-of-isa-success-despite-of-police-brutality&catid=94%3Asuaram&Itemid=195〈=en
[4] http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/138896
[5] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/Police-break-up-anti-ISA-vigils-arrest-30-in-PJ-3-in-Penang/
[6] http://www.aliran.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1435:anti-isa-vigils-held-across-the-nation&catid=63:gmi&Itemid=48
[7] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/Police-break-up-anti-ISA-vigils-arrest-30-in-PJ-3-in-Penang/
[8] Suhakam (2006) ‘Report of Suhakam Public Inquiry Into the Incident at KLCC on 28 May 2006’.
[9] http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/3/nation/20100803145014&sec=nation

SUHAKAM’s Positive Efforts Must Continue

SUARAM commends the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) for sending an official monitoring team to the Anti ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 at Padang Timur Dataran MBPJ, Petaling Jaya. This was in response to an earlier request by SUARAM and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) to send a monitoring team for the vigil. The vigil was held to commemorate the passing of the Internal Security Act (ISA) 50 years ago and to call for the abolition of the ISA.

SUARAM notes that SUHAKAM Commissioners James Nayagam and Muhammad Sha’ani, accompanied by their five officers, were present before the vigil began and also at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters where those arrested were brought. They continued monitoring at the police station until the last person was released at approximately 4.50am.

This is indeed a positive step forward following SUHAKAM’s refusal to do the same exactly one year ago, in the massive anti-ISA rally in August 2009, which subsequently saw 589 individuals being arrested.

Such renewed efforts in SUHAKAM’s work is indeed welcomed and is especially timely in view of the continued occurrence of grave violations of human rights in the country. SUHAKAM’s latest effort is a glimpse of what the Human Rights Commission that Malaysia could and ought to do to fulfil its mandate as a credible national human rights institution and expected role as a public defender of human rights.

Notwithstanding this, SUARAM expresses concern over the government’s disregard of SUHAKAM’s previous recommendations. The arrests made during the anti-ISA candlelight vigil on 1 August 2010 were the latest of the many instances of the government’s refusal to comply with SUHAKAM’s numerous recommendations on peaceful assembly, including those contained in the Commission’s reports of its public inquiries on the cases of the Kesas Highway incident (2001), the “Bloody Sunday” incident in KLCC (2006), and the Bandar Mahkota Cheras incident (2008). In the report of the public inquiry into the “Bloody Sunday” incident, for example, SUHAKAM recommended that “peaceful assemblies should be allowed to proceed without a license”. However, through the excessive use of force by the police and FRU personnel in dispersing participants of the candlelight vigil and previous peaceful assemblies, it is evident that SUHAKAM’s repeated recommendations to the Government have fallen on deaf ears.

SUARAM thus strongly calls upon the police and the Malaysian Government to respect SUHAKAM’s decisions and actions following the Anti ISA vigil and to implement all recommendations made by SUHAKAM.

Encouraged by the positive efforts by SUHAKAM, SUARAM lastly urges the Commission to revisit all recommendations made to the government with increased vigour. SUHAKAM must ensure that its improved efforts in the protection and promotion of human rights do not end with this instance.

Press Statement: 21 June 2010 Gov’t Must Act Immediately on UN’s Call for the Repeal of Detention-without-Trial Laws and End to Detention of Refugees & Asylum Seekers

The initial findings and recommendations of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) from its country visit to Malaysia from 7 to 18 June 2010 have added to the long list of recommendations and concerns pertaining to the Malaysian government’s legislations, policies and practices of arbitrary detention.

“Classic Cases of Arbitrary Detention” under ISA, EO, DDA, RRA
Among its initial findings of its visit, the WGAD stated that it is “seriously concerned” about the existence and enforcement of laws which provide for detention without trial in Malaysia, namely the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance (EO), the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act (DDA), and the Restricted Residence Act (RRA).

The WGAD stated that these laws “deny the detainee the right to a fair and public hearing” and “severely restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel”.

During the press conference held by the WGAD on 18 June 2010, its Chairperson-Rapporteur El Hadji Malick Sow stated that detentions under the ISA, the EO, the DDA, and the RRA are “classic cases of arbitrary detention”. The WGAD also noted with concern that “thousands of people” are being detained under the EO and the DDA.

“Systematic” Detention of Refugees
Also of concern to the WGAD is the detention of refugees and asylum seekers. The WGAD’s Chairperson-Rapporteur described the detention of refugees as “systematic”, noting that even refugees who are in possession of identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are not exempted from arrests and detentions.

Malaysia’s non-ratification of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and non-recognition of the status of refugees and asylum seekers have resulted in the detention of many refugees under immigration laws in Malaysia for their alleged “illegal presence” in Malaysian territory. The WGAD noted that detainees who have served prison sentences under immigration laws are often held in immigration detention centres for an indefinite period while awaiting deportation to their countries of origin.

Recommendations Not New, No Reason for Delay in Implementation
While the WGAD’s final report will only be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2011, its initial recommendations are clear enough for the government to make immediate efforts for improvements.

Furthermore,similar recommendations have already been made in the past by other bodies – such as the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, and various UN member states. As such, there is no justification for the government not to implement the WGAD’s recommendations immediately, especially in view of its status as an elected member of the UN Human Rights Council. Moreover, since it was the Malaysian government that invited the WGAD for this visit, it must also be consistent with such commitment by implementing the recommendations made.

Repeal All Detention-without-Trial Laws
On detention-without-trial laws, the WGAD recommended that the ISA, the EO, the DDA, and the RRA be repealed. The WGAD further noted that even if these laws are not repealed, the government must ensure that they are amended to the extent that they are in conformity with Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights spells out the guarantees of the right of every individual to a fair trial.

In other words, even if the government wishes to amend the detention-without-trial laws instead of repealing them, the amendments must ensure that all persons must be accorded a fair trial before being detained. This effectively means that the government must end its practice of detaining
individuals without trial.

Hence, while the government has announced its intention to amend the ISA, the EO, and the DDA, any changes which will merely reduce the periods of detention – including the initial investigative period of detention (currently 60 days) and the subsequent detention order by the Home Ministry (currently 2 years) – would not adequately fulfill the recommendations of the WGAD.

SUARAM thus strongly calls upon the government to immediately re-look into the proposed amendments to all the detention-without-trial laws with additional consideration of the WGAD’s recommendations to do away with the practice of detaining individuals without trial. Ultimately, the ISA, the EO, the DDA, and the RRA must be repealed.

At the same time, the government should immediately end the arrests made under the detention-without-trial laws, and release all individuals who are currently detained under these laws or charge them in a fair and open court.

End Detention of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants On the detention of immigrants, the WGAD stated that “detention of immigrants should be decided upon by a court of law, on a case by case basis, and pursuant to clearly and exhaustively defined criteria in legislation”. The WGAD stressed that immigrants should have an effective remedy to challenge the necessity and legality of their detention at any time.

The WGAD also stressed that immigration detention should not be applied to refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable groups of migrants, including unaccompanied minors, families with minor children, pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, or people with serious and/or chronic physical or mental health problems.

The Malaysian government has also been urged by the WGAD to ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a recommendation which has already been made on numerous occasions by SUHAKAM as well as UN member states during the Universal Periodic Review of Malaysia in February 2009.

SUARAM strongly urges the government to immediately implement these recommendations, especially in refraining from the arrests of refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups of migrants. The government should also immediately provide a concrete timeframe for the ratification of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

Invite UN Experts in Other Areas Too
Lastly, while the WGAD expressed its gratitude towards the Malaysian government for its invitation which made the visit possible, and while being fully aware of the fact that the visit of the WGAD as well as other Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the UN Human Rights Council cannot be made without the host government’s invitation, SUARAM wishes to point out that the WGAD had in fact made a request for a country visit to Malaysia way back in 2008. It was only in early 2010 that the Malaysian government officially and publicly confirmed its acceptance of the WGAD’s request to visit Malaysia.

To date, the Malaysian government still has not responded to eight pending requests by other
Special Procedures Mandate Holders, namely the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (request made in 2002); the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples (2005); the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion (2006); the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants (2006); the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism (2005); the Independent Expert on Minority Issues (2007 and 2009); the Special Rapporteur on Racism (2008); and Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (2009).

SUARAM therefore calls upon the Malaysian government to extend standing invitations to all Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the UN Human Rights Council, with particular urgency in responding to the eight mandate holders which have made requests for country visits to Malaysia.

Released by,
John Liu
Coordinator