CALL FOR NOMINATION – HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD 2011

Call for Nominations

SUARAM HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD 2011

Deadline: 16 November 2011

Initiated in 1999 on the 10th anniversary celebration of SUARAM, this annual award seeks to give recognition to local communities and collectives in their outstanding and inspiring endeavors to protect and promote human rights activism in Malaysia.

This year, 11 years after the inaugural award was presented in 1999, SUARAM once again calls for nominations for this award.

Previous winners

Previous winners have been diverse in their causes, but all of them have overcome tremendous hardships and tribulations in the fight for human rights. Winners in previous years were:-

 

1999: The people of Kampung Sungai Nipah.

2000: The Reformasi Movement.

2001: Save Our Schools Damansara and wives of ISA detainees (Joint winners).

2002: Police Watch & Human Rights Committee.

2003: The former plantation workers’ community of Ladang Braemar.

2004 The Kuala Kuang villagers and the workers of Euromedical Industries (Joint winners).

2005: The Temuan Orang Asli Community from Kampung Bukit Tampoi in Dengkil.

2006: the Chin Refugee Committee and the Bukit Jelutong plantation community (Joint winners).

2007: The Coalition against Healthcare Privatisation and the residents of Kampung Sungai Terentang, Rawang (Joint winners).

2008: The Penan community of Ulu Baram, Sarawak and the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) (Joint winners).

2009: Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI).

2010: Sg. Rinching Action Committee.

 

Guidelines

The guidelines are listed as below:-

1. ELIGIBILITY

  • Only communities or groupings of people are eligible for nominations. Nomination of an individual will not be accepted.
  • Nominations of family members of the SUARAM secretariat and staff will not be accepted.

2. NOMINATIONS

  • Nominations will be received from any party, be it from individuals or organizations.
  • The nominating party is required to complete the Nomination Form in the languages of English, Malay, Chinese or Tamil.
  • Supporting Documentation is to be in the languages of English, Malay, Chinese and/or Tamil. These can be photographs, videos, newspaper clippings, newsletter etc.
  • The Nomination Form is to be sent with supporting documentation to SUARAM, via fax, email and/or postal mail.

3. CLOSING DATE

  • Nominations will be closed on 16 November 2011.

4. CRITERIA FOR SELECTION

  • Community or group of people which has struggled persistently and fearlessly in defending their rights, justice and dignity against oppression.
  • Organization and leadership of the people which has empowered and activated their people in the process of struggle and to continue in their efforts to promote and protect human rights.
  • Preference will be given to those who have made an impact in the current year.

5. SELECTION AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNER

  • A panel of judges comprising individuals who have been involved in human rights work in the country will select the award winner.
  • The winner will be announced 8 December, 2011 at Kuala Lumpur. All nominees are required to be present at the ceremony (Venue TBD).

6. PRIZE FOR AWARD WINNER

  • The winner will receive a prize money of RM2,000.00 and a specially-commissioned glass trophy designed by renowned artist Wong Hoy Cheong.

For further enquiries, please contact: Maisarah

E-mail: [email protected]

Tel: +603-7784 3525 / 7783 5724

Fax: +603 7784 3526

 

Please download the official nominee form:
SUARAM_HRA2011 FORM
Thank you.

A letter of Protest to President of the Union of Myanmar,

A letter of Protest to President of the Union of Myanmar, U Thein Sein.

U Thein Sein.

Via:

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
12, Jalan Ru, Off Jalan Ampang Hilir,
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : (603) 4256 0280 @ 4257 0680
Fax : (603) 42568320
Email : [email protected]

Dear Mr. President,

We, the Burma ethnic refugees in Malaysia together with the undersigned Malaysian civil society organizations wish to express our strong condemnation against the on-going arm conflicts, assaults, systematic persecution, torture and intimidation launched by the Burmese army against ethnic minority’s freedom fighters, armed groups and civilians in several states, in particular, the Kachin, Shan, Karen and other ethnic minority territories.

Such gross human rights violations and suppressions in ethnic territories have resulted thousands of civilians including children and women to flee and refuge in hand-made bamboo shelters in the deep forest and border areas without sufficient foods and healthcare. Due to this situation, the number of refugees who have transcended into neighboring countries is remarkably escalating. We would also like to express our deep concern over the forcibly use of the villagers as porters, guardians, minesweepers in conflict zone while women are reportedly raped and even brutally murdered.

The present arm conflicts in Karen State also results displacement of thousands of people including young teenagers from several villages located along the Three Pagoda Highway, surrounded villages of Fa Lu, Wei Lay and Maing Kyi Ngo. Reasonable numbers of refugees had also fled to refugee camps located at the Burma-Thailand border area in order to seek for asylum and protection.

The concomitantly systematic military offensive launched by the Burma army in Kachin and Shan States had also forced thousands of civilians to flee their villages and paddy fields in order to escape the civil war between ethnic minority’s armed groups and the Burma army. This may also stimulate the current food insecurity situation and may cause people facing lack of food supply.

Therefore, we, the Burma ethnic refugees in Malaysia together with the undersigned Malaysian civil society organizations, call upon the U Thein Sein’s government to immediately:

To stop military offensive and persecution against ethnic minority’s freedom fighters. Armed groups and civilians in entire states in Myanmar.

To sign cease-fire agreements and to hold political dialogue in order to achieve a nationwide cease-fire with all ethnic minority groups.

To release all political prisoners across the country unconditionally

To entirely halt the Myitsone dam project

This letter has been endorsed by:

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (SUARAM)
TENAGANITA
LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY (LFL)
CIVIL SOCIETY COMMITTEE OF LLG CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
PERSATUAN SAHABAT WANITA SELANGOR
SAYA ANAK BANGSA MALAYSIA [SABM]
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATION FOR CONSUMERS, MALAYSIA (ERA CONSUMER MALAYSIA)
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (AI), MALAYSIA.
HEALTH EQUITY INITIATIVES (HEI)
JERIT
SOLIDARITY FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN CHINA (SCRC)
CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE OF KLSCAH
PERSATUAN MASYARAKAT SELANGOR & WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN (PERMAS)
PUSAT KOMAS (KOMAS)
PARTI SOSIALIS MALAYSIA (PSM)
CENTER FOR ORANG ASLI CONCERNS
MALAYSIAN SOCIAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (MSRI)
MALAYSIA YOUTH AND STUDENTS DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT (DEMA)
STUDENT PROGRESSIVE FRONT UNIVERSITY UTARA MALAYSIA (SPF UUM)
STUDENT PROGRESSIVE FRONT UNIVERSITY SCIENCE MALAYSIA (SPF USM)
STUDENT PROGRESSIVE FRONT NEW ERA COLLEGE (SPF NEC)
GERAKAN MAJU MAHASISWA UNIVERSITY PUTRA MALAYSIA (GMM UPM)
PERSATUAN MAHASISWA ISLAM UNIVERSITI MALAYA (PMIUM)
BRIDGED PUTERA MALAYSIA
MAJLIS PERWAKILAN MAHASISWA NASIONAL (MPMN)
AWAM

Delay in Abolishing ISA undermines Reform Process

SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (SUARAM)
&
GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA

Press Statement: 4 October 2011

Delay in Abolishing ISA undermines Reform Process

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) are of the view that the delay announced by the government to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) is a cause to concern. We believe that the delay announced undermines the reform process as being a mere political gimmick for the upcoming general election. We are also perplexed to learn that the government failed to conduct reasonable study and stakeholder consultation prior to the announcement of this historic and important political change.

We would also like to remind the Prime Minister that over the past few decades, thousands of people were detained without trial under the ISA not for what they did or said but based on anonymous and often false accusations from third parties. People been locked up not for the crimes they have not proved in a court of law and thousands were left to anguish in secret detention cells around the country indefinitely.

SUARAM and GMI also views the announcement on the two new Acts to replace the Internal Security Act as another concern as we stress our protest that all security laws must not allow for detention without trial and the safeguards of rights and fundamental liberties to be protected. The view on the definition of terrorism and public order is also another concern as we learn from many jurisdictions that the term terrorist were liberally interpreted to criminalise legitimate dissent and protest activities and groups. The similar is said on public interest protection mechanism as we recall the recent ban on Bersih 2.0 as an example of arbitrary ban on a legitimate people’s initiative on free and fair election.

SUARAM and GMI also would like to point out that in the past Malaysia have legislated to include terrorism-related offences in the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code in 2006. By virtue of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2003, a new Chapter VII A entitled “Offences Relating To Terrorism” was inserted and this came into force on 6th March 2007. Similarly, by virtue of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act 2006, a new Chapter XIIA entitled “Ancillary Investigative Powers In Relation To Terrorism Offences” was inserted and came into force on 6 March 2007. Malaysia also passed legislation dealing with anti-terrorism financing in the form of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (Act 613).

We view that the two new legislation’s as proposed by the Prime Minister must take into account the body of security laws in existence and the protection of fundamental liberties before it chooses to add new security laws and its impact on fundamental liberties.

As such, SUARAM and GMI calls upon the Prime Minister to affect a moratorium on the Internal Security law and release all the detainees pending the total recall. We also call upon the government to stop legislating laws which allows detention without trial and to deal the
terrorism issues with the existence laws.

Released by,

Nalini.E

GMI Secretariat &Coordinator SUARAM

16 Former Detainees: Abolish Singapore’s Internal Security Act



Dated this 19th day of September 2011
(Figure above is News Report by NST Singapore dated 20th Spetember 2011)
We welcome Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement that his government would repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance.  He said the changes are aimed at “having a modern, mature and functioning democracy which will continue to preserve public order, ensure greater civil liberties and maintain racial harmony.” We look forward to the Malaysian Prime Minister fulfilling his promise to his people.
Singapore inherited the ISA from Malaysia. This law has been in existence for more than half a century and its impact on society is both crippling and pernicious. Its life began soon after the Second World War as the Emergency Regulations in 1948 when the British used it to put down strong anti-colonial movements. In 1955, the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance incorporating the Emergency Regulations was passed. When Singapore joined Malaysia in 1963, the Federation of Malaya’s Internal Security Act 1960 became part of our law。
The Ministry of Home Affairs claims that:
    “ … A person arrested under the ISA in Singapore may be held in custody for 30 days after which an Order of Detention or Restriction Order must be issued or else the up to person must be released unconditionally.
In Malaysia, the period of custody is up to 60 days…” (ST 17.9.2011).
This comparison is irrelevant because political detainees in Singapore have been imprisoned for periods which far exceed those in Malaysia.  Dr Chia Thye Poh was imprisoned for 26 years. Dr Lim Hock Siew was imprisoned for 20 years.  Mr Lee Tee Tong was imprisoned for 18 years and Dr Poh Soo Kai and Inche Said Zahari for 17 years.
The Ministry further claims that the Advisory Board is a safeguard against abuse under the ISA. The protection accorded by the Advisory Board is spurious, if not a farce. Several of us have appeared before such a board and can confirm that the board did not examine witnesses and evidence against the detainee.  In 1987, appearances before the board lasted not more than a few minutes each. Furthermore, detainees were discouraged from appearing before the board by ISD officers. Many were advised that appearing before the board would jeopardise their chances of early release.
Singapore has many existing laws that will deal with acts of terrorism. We have the Penal Code, the Sedition Act, Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act, Vandalism Act and after 9/11, the Terrorism (Suppression of Bombings) Act and the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act. These laws provide severe punishments which include death,  life imprisonment and caning.
In 1991, then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “Singapore will seriously consider abolishing the Internal Security Act if Malaysia were to do so”. He made this response to seven Malaysian journalists in his office when asked why the ISA was still needed in Singapore even though the Communist Party of Malaya no longer posed a threat. (ST 3.2.1991.) Now that Malaysia is repealing the ISA, we call upon PM Lee Hsien Loong to translate  his 1991 statement into reality and keep in step with the aspirations of our people for a mature and functioning democracy. Indefinite detention without trial is an affront to the human rights of citizens and an assault on our justice system.
Endorsement name list:
  1. Dr Lim Hock Siew
  2. Dr Poh Soo Kai
  3. Said Zahari
  4. Lee Tee Tong
  5. Loh Miaw Gong
  6. Chng Min Oh @ Chuang Men-Hu
  7. Tan Sin alias Tan Seng Hin
  8. Toh Ching Kee
  9. Koh Kay Yew
  10. Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan
  11. Teo Soh Lung
  12. Yap Hon Ngian
  13. Tan Tee Seng
  14. Low Yit Leng
  15. Wong Souk Yee
  16. Tang Fong Har

Repeal of the ISA: Reform should be sincere and not selective

SUARAM is cautiously optimistic on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recently announced reforms to detention without trial laws; specifically the proposed repeal of the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA); along with the lifting of the Emergency Declarations and presumably the Emergency Ordinance along with it. Other laws that he said would be re-examined included the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Banishment Act and the Police Act.
The Prime Minister has made a public statement to push for these reforms because “Malaysia aspires to the ranks of ‘developed nations”’. Many may remember similar promise of reforms, although of a lesser scale were made by him in 2009, and by his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2004. And many remember still the subsequent u-turns as the government succumbed to right wing and conservative elements in the country.
A vague reference was made to shifting detention powers from the Executive to the Judiciary, but the Judiciary’s independence has been suspect for a number of years. After all, this is a Judiciary that has repeatedly shirked its responsibility in Constitutional matters, especially matters of religious conversions and child custody in mixed marriages as well as the recent case on native customary land.
The promise of two new acts to replace the ISA in “preventing subversive activities, organised terrorism and crime to maintain peace and public order” is also cause for concern. What will these two new acts look like? We have no idea. Najib Razak points to two nations, the United States and the United Kingdom, who have enacted preventive detention laws to combat terrorism, glossing over the fact that these laws are themselves subject of criticism by human rights defenders.
SUARAM welcomes the repeal of the ISA and all other preventive detention laws including the Dangerous Drugs Act and a more progressive approach to civil and political rights in the country. However, these must be substantive reforms and not merely cosmetic, as seen with the amendments to the University and University and Colleges Act (UUCA) in 2009. The Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act have not been considered in yesterday’s announcement nor was there mention of the IPCMC that has been recommended by the Royal Police Commission a few years ago.
To show his sincerity in carrying out these reforms, SUARAM calls on the PM to immediately implement the following:
1.       Current EO and ISA detainees be released forthwith or put on trial under current legislation.
2.       An immediate moratorium on the requirement to apply for a permit for any peaceful public assembly.
3.       The formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) should be the basis for governance and our government has yet to ratify the International Covenants on Civil & Political Right and Economic, Social & Cultural Right; the Conventions against Torture; on Refugees, and on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination.
Looking further down the road to a society focused on social justice, equality, and democracy, existing and future laws must conform to international human rights standards and principles if Malaysia is to join the ranks of developed nations.
Finally, SUARAM would like to congratulate GMI, the peoples of Malaysia and all the brave victims of human rights abuses who have stood up for their rights and demanded the end to detention without trial and real change in the country.
SUARAM was founded in the shadow of the ISA. We will continue our work of upholding and promoting human rights.
Released by,
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar
Coordinator