Resume water supply at Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre

(Press Statement: 14 June 2010 )

SUARAM has been informed that detainees at Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre have been on a hunger strike since evening of Saturday, 12 June, as a protest against the lack of water supply in the detention centre. The hunger strike started when immigration officers denied the detainees drinking water when asked by the detainees. There has been no water supply at the detention centre for the past 5 days.

According to our source, there are an estimated 1,500 detainees at Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre. The estimated 500 Burmese asylum seekers in the detention centre will continue the hunger strike until they are given access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

SUARAM has previously expressed our deep concern with regards to the deplorable conditions of Immigration Detention Centres. This is not the first time that we have received complaints that water supply to detention centres is irregular and inadequate. Denying the detainees access to drinking water is an outrageous violation of a basic human right. Even persons in detention have fundamental right to adequate standard of living, which includes adequate and constant supply of water for consumption and maintenance of personal hygiene, as enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Detainees at immigration detention centres often fall ill due to the poor conditions that often cause malnourishment and poor immune system amongst detainees. The non-supply of water, coupled with the deplorable conditions of the detention centres could potentially cause the increase the risk of illnesses amongst the individuals.

SUARAM demands that the Government immediately restores water supply to Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre and to ensure that water supply to all detention centres are regular, adequate and clean. The Government must ensure that conditions in all detention centres comply with minimum international standards for places of detention.

SUARAM urges the Immigration Department to immediately provide the asylum seekers access to UNHCR and to allow the UNHCR to process their asylum claims. Upon verification of their asylum claims, the Government must immediately release the asylum seekers in to UNHCR’s official care.

Released by,
Temme Lee
Coordinator
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

TAKE ACTION: SIGN THE PETITION – Memorandum on Ill Representation and Discrimination of the Queer Community in the Media

To: Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

June 10, 2010

We refer to the articles published in Kosmo! (“Parti Lesbian Berleluasa”) and the Harian Metro (“Aksi Panas Pengkid, Lesbian”) dated 2nd and 16th May respectively.

We, the undersigned, are enraged by the usage of disparaging words such as “songsang” (deviant), “lucah” (lewd) and “jijik” (disgusting) in the newspaper reports to describe the queer community. The words used by Kosmo! and the Harian Metro and echoed by other newspapers (such as The Star, 3 May 2010) are heavily loaded with moral connotations and paint the queer community unjustifiably and unfairly as deviants and morally tainted.

These recent attacks were first and foremost attacks on sexual rights and, by extension, on human rights. The claim and exercise of these rights are integral to a person’s identity and self-worth and do not in any way contribute to general misconduct or a decline in moral values as wrongly implied by these journalists and newspapers. The continued stigma and discrimination perpetuated by the media towards the queer community (more pronounced since August 2003 when a memorandum was sent to Suhakam then) shows that Suhakam has done nothing to effectively uphold the human rights of the queer community as Malaysians of equal status.

These attacks were also a violation of privacy since these gatherings were by invitation only and exclusive to the queer community concerned.

Besides those two articles which were published recently in Harian Metro and Kosmo!, more than a dozen of articles have been published this year alone in local newspapers (please refer to attachment). These articles are reflective of an ongoing hostile trend by the media towards people of different sexual orientation and gender identity, in complete disregard for their human rights.

We strongly condemn journalists and newspapers who use unscrupulous tactics to obtain their stories and who further rely on sensationalism and titillation to sell their newspapers. We consider these journalists and newspapers unethical and unprofessional because they break the profession’s own standards of good reporting.

Both journalists and editors should be aware of the impact and consequences of how the news is reported especially when it comes to news about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities where unethical and biased reporting only instigates hate and violence towards the queer community. Creating and encouraging an environment of hate and violence is criminal. As a result of such irresponsible reporting, private spaces are being invaded and violated, thus making it harder and harder for the queer community to enjoy their human rights just like other Malaysians.

In light of our urgent concerns, we repeat our call since 28 August 2003, and urge Suhakam:

First, to push for the protection of the human rights of individuals perceived or identified lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transsexual, transgendered, queer, under the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Second, to pressure the government to repeal all laws that outlaw and criminalise mutually consensual sexual behaviour between adults.

Third, to further educate citizens on constitutional provisions for the protection of the human rights of citizens and non-citizens, and to further educate the public on the spirit and core values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Yogyakarta Principles.

Fourth, to pressure the government to repeal all laws that restrict freedom of expression and freedom of information.

We hope that together, we will all be able to protect the democratic principles enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution, and strengthen the practice of a truly humane, participatory democracy in Malaysia.

sign the petition online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/kryss/petition.html

Appendix | Lampiran:

1.Grandpa Held in Raid at Gay Joint, Feb 4, 2010, The Star
2.Kisah gay di Malaysia, Feb 28, 2010, Utusan Malaysia
3.Pesta Khatan Berkepit Pondan, March 17, 2010, Harian Metro
4.Serbu Mak Nyah Mencari Pelanggan, March 27, 2010, Harian Metro
5.Belaian Lelaki Jambu, Apr 11, 2010, Harian Metro
6.Pondan Kejam, Apr 14, 2010, Harian Metro
7.Hasutan Cinta Pengkid, Apr 21, 2010, Kosmo!
8.Dua gay durjana, Apr 26, 2010, Harian Metro
9.Parti lesbian berleluasa, May 2, 2010, Kosmo!
10.More than 100 go wild at lesbian party, May 3, 2010, The Star
11.Iklan pasangan songsang, May 11, 2010, Harian Metro
12.Gays put themselves out on social media sites, May 12, 2010, The Star
13.Tv3’s Raid on the gay massage parlour, May 20, 2010, 999 – TV3
14.Pengarah Filem Diugut, May 25, 2010, Harian Metro
15.Mak Nyah Tua Dicekup, May 28, 2010, Harian Metro
16.Tagih cinta gadis, June 9, 2010, Harian Metro

————–
Endorsed by | Disokong oleh:

Organization | Organisasi:
1.All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
2.Annexe Gallery
3.Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
4.Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
5.Malaysian Bar Council
6.Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)
7.Straten Malaysia
8.Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
9.Titled World
10.Women’s Candidacy Initiative (WCI)
11.Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

sign the petition online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/kryss/petition.html

Stop the arrests of refugees and release the 45 Sri Lankan refugees now

Urgent Appeal: 24 March 2010

Urgent Appeal: 24 March 2010

SUARAM has been informed that 45 Sri Lankan refugees were arrested last night at Ipoh. They have since been taken to Langkap Immigration Detention Centre. We have identified 21 individuals in the group, all of whom are refugees recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The names of the refugees will not be published for security and confidentiality purposes. We condemn the ongoing arrest of refugees with UNHCR documents.

SUARAM demands that the group of Sri Lankan refugees are given access to UNHCR immediately and consequently upon verification, released into UNHCR’s official care. All asylum seekers who have been detained by authorities must be given access to UNHCR who will verify their asylum claims. This must be extended to not only this group of Sri Lankan refugees but all asylum seekers and refugees arrested by law enforcement authorities.

SUARAM is concerned with the ongoing crackdown on undocumented migrants conducted by Immigration authorities. We have received a few reports of arrest of refugees with UNHCR documents in the past week. We call upon the Malaysian Government to ensure that that all law enforcement agencies (in particular RELA, Police and Immigration) respect UNHCR documents and refrain from arresting holders of these documents.

We also call upon the Malaysian Government to ensure that the law enforcement agencies respect and protect the rights of migrants and refugees during the course of the crackdown, including refraining from arresting migrants whose passports are held by their employers.

We remind the Malaysian Government of its obligation to uphold the international customary law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms.

Released by,

Temme Lee
Coordinator

Urgent action needed:

Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the mistreatment of refugees. Please also demand the Malaysian Government to stop the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees.

Please call and send your protest letters to:

Depot Imigresen Langkap
Jalan Chui Chak
36700 Langkap
Perak
Tel: +605-6592528
Fax: +605-6592527
Komandan Tel.: +605-6593898

Dato’ Abdul Rahman bin Othman
Director-General of Immigration Department,
Director-General’s Office,
Immigration Department of Malaysia Headquarters,
Level 7 (Podium),
No 15, Persiaran Perdana, Presint 2,
62550 Putrajaya,
Malaysia
Tel: +603-88801005
Fax: +603-88801201
E-Mail: [email protected]

Y.B. Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
Home Minister
Ministry of Home Affairs
Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D
Pusat Pentadbiran
Kerajaan Persekutuan
62546 Putrajaya
Tel : +603-8886 8000
Fax : +603-88884913
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister’s Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building ,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya , MALAYSIA
Tel : +603-8888 8000
Fax : +603-8888 3444
E-Mail: [email protected]

SAMPLE LETTER

[Letterhead of your organisation]

Dato’ Abdul Rahman bin Othman
Director-General of Immigration Department,
Director-General’s Office,
Immigration Department of Malaysia Headquarters,
Level 7 (Podium),
No 15, Persiaran Perdana, Presint 2,
62550 Putrajaya,
Malaysia
Tel: +603-88801005
Fax: +603-88801201
E-Mail: [email protected]

Dear Sir,

RE: Stop the Arrests of Refugees and Release the 45 Sri Lankan Refugees Now

We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over your government’s treatment of Sri Lankan refugees in Malaysia.

We demand that the 45 Sri Lankan refugees detained at Langkap Immigration Detention Centre are released immediately into the custody of UNHCR. We demand that UNHCR is given immediate and free access to register those who have yet to access UNHCR. This applies to all refugees and asylum seekers that are arrested my Malaysian law enforcement authorities.

We demand that the Malaysian Government take measures to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers who are currently in Malaysia and fully respect the principle of non-refoulement, as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), two UN Conventions of which Malaysia is party to.

We remind the Malaysian Government of its obligation to uphold the international customary law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms.

We strongly urge you, once again, to stop bringing shame to Malaysia and to ratify 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. The Malaysian Government must take serious measures in promoting and protecting human rights if it intends to run for elections into the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Yours sincerely,

[Name]

Kendalikan Inkues terhadap semua kes Kematian dalam Tahanan dengan Segera!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) mengutuk tindakan  Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) atas satu lagi kes kematian dalam tahanan iaitu saudara P.Babu yang berumur 28 tahun dalam lokap Ibupejabat Polis Daerah Jempol, Negeri Sembilan.

Mengikut keterangan saudara kepada mangsa, M. Mahadevan, 35,P.Babu dijangka telah terlibat  dalam beberapa kes samun pada 26 Januari 2010 di kawasan Ladang Bahau. Selepas dicari oleh pihak polis, maka  mangsa bersama dengan rakannya telah menyerah diri kepada polis pada 28 januari 2010 untuk membantu Polis dalam siasatan.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) mengutuk tindakan  Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) atas satu lagi kes kematian dalam tahanan iaitu saudara P.Babu yang berumur 28 tahun dalam lokap Ibupejabat Polis Daerah Jempol, Negeri Sembilan.

Mengikut keterangan saudara kepada mangsa, M. Mahadevan, 35,P.Babu dijangka telah terlibat  dalam beberapa kes samun pada 26 Januari 2010 di kawasan Ladang Bahau. Selepas dicari oleh pihak polis, maka  mangsa bersama dengan rakannya telah menyerah diri kepada polis pada 28 januari 2010 untuk membantu Polis dalam siasatan.

Namun demikian, P babu didapati telah mati dalam lokap pada 1hb Februari 2010 atas alsasan beliau membunuh diri di lokap dengan menggunakan baju lokap yang dipakai oleh mangsa. Malah, mengikut keluarga mangsa, pihak polis hanya memberitahu kematian mangsa P. Babu hanya selepas proses bedah siasat habis dijalankan. Suaram mempunyai beberapa soalan dalam perkara ini. Dimanakah pegawai polis yang bertugas berada ketika mangsa bunuh diri? Mengapakah pihak polis mengambil tempoh masa yang begitu lama untuk memaklumkan kepada pihak keluarga mangsa? Apakah  hasil daripada bedah siasat yang dijalankan?

Maka, SUARAM amat meragui punca kes kematian P.Babu yang dikatakan membunuh diri dan sekaligus tidak dapat menerima alasan pihak polis yang menyatakan bahawa CCTV di lokap tersebut telah rosak pada hari kejadian .  SUARAM  mengesa kerajaan menjalankan  inkues serta membenarkan  bedah siasat untuk  kali kedua bagi mengetahui punca  kematian P.Babu. Pihak polis perlu bertanggungjawab terhadap segala kes kematian dalam tahanan kerana adalah tanggugjawab polis untuk menjaga OKT(orang kena tahan) dalam keadaan sihat seperti yang dinyatakan dalam Akta Kaedah-Kaedah Lokap(L.N.3289/1958)(4).

Kes kematian dalam tahanan ini adalah bukan yang pertama. Malah, sehingga kini satu penyiasatan yang menyeluruh dan terperinci tidak pernah dijalankan terhadap mana-mana kes kematian dalam tahanan polis  yang dilaporkan. SUARAM berpandangan kes kematian dalan tahanan polis adalah satu isu yang amat berat dan menyalahi undang-undang Hak Asasi Antarabangsa.

Maka dengan ini SUARAM  menyeru agar kerajaan:

1. Segera melaksanakan  IPCMC iaitu  Suruhanjaya Bebas Salahlaku dan Aduan Polis yang dicadangkan oleh Suruhanjaya Diraja Penambahbaikan Perjalanan dan Pengurusan Polis Diraja Malaysia yang bersifat bebas serta telus dan adil

2. Wujudkan Mahkamah koroner yang bebas untuk meyiasat segala kes kematian dalam tahanan dan inkues yang terbuka perlu dijalankan dengan serta merta bagi setiap kes kematian dalam tahanan.

3. Membawa semua pihak yang terlibat dan bertanggungjawab dalam kes Kematian tahanan sebelum ini dan termasuk P. Babu untuk dibawa ke muka pengadilan dengan segera.
Yang bertugas,
Lucas Yap Heng Lung
Penyelaras SUARAM

The Anwar Ibrahim Trial: A Discredited Government’s Attempts to Persecute Opponent with Archaic Sodomy Laws

While the trial of Anwar Ibrahim on the charge of sodomy has drawn international concerns about whether he will be given a fair trial, the government-controlled media has today begun their “trial by media” in the same way they did over Sodomy trial #1. They have given headline prominence to the accuser’s allegations in an attempt to besmirch Anwar’s reputation and integrity.

While the trial of Anwar Ibrahim on the charge of sodomy has drawn international concerns about whether he will be given a fair trial, the government-controlled media has today begun their “trial by media” in the same way they did over Sodomy trial #1. They have given headline prominence to the accuser’s allegations in an attempt to besmirch Anwar’s reputation and integrity.

In a repeat of the trial of Anwar 12 years ago on charges of corruption and sodomy, the latest trial bears the characteristic political persecution of the leader of the Opposition who has since the general elections of 2008, posed the biggest challenge to the ruling regime since Independence.

The way the trial has progressed clearly shows that Anwar has been denied a fair trial. Even before the trial began, the prosecution has refused to deliver evidence to the defence which is fundamental to ensuring a fair trial. Consequently, SUARAM does not believe that the current trial of Anwar will be in any manner fair and just.

The focus of the government-controlled media in playing up the testimony of Mohd Saiful at the High Court yesterday is clearly an attempt to discredit and cast doubts in the minds of the public over the morals of the former deputy prime minister.

While issues surrounding the question of a fair trial have drawn national and international concerns, another serious human rights violation surrounding the criminal charge on Anwar is the use of the archaic sodomy law of the country against him. All over the world, including countries in Asia, antiquated laws on sodomy are being abolished. On 2 July 2009, the Delhi High Court delivered a historic judgement to amend a 149-year-old colonial-era law and forthwith decriminalised private consensual sex between adults of the same sex. India became the 127th country to decriminalise homosexuality.

It is a shame that a country like Malaysia, which has in the past chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights and has been a recent member of the UN Human Rights Council, not only continues to maintain such archaic laws criminalising homosexuality but also uses it in a politically-motivated trial to discredit and neutralise a political challenger. The Barisan Nasional government’s continued pursuance of the political trial of Anwar Ibrahim and the farcical manner in which the trial progresses will doubtless discredit Malaysia in the eyes of the international community.

SUARAM strongly urges the government to drop its charges on Anwar and further calls for the abolition of our outdated sodomy laws. SUARAM further calls on the Malaysian media to be responsible in reporting the trial and not make this a parallel “trial by media”.

Released by,

John Liu