Detained without Trial for Fighting: Draconian EO Must Be Abolished

SUARAM strongly condemns the detention of the Vikneswaran Venugopal under Section 3 (i) of the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Crime Prevention) since 11 June 2010 for alleged involvement in a fight.

SUARAM deeply regrets that Vikneswaran, the latest of the countless number of victims of detention-without-trial laws in Malaysia, has not been given access to lawyers and his family since the day he was detained under the EO. SUARAM strongly and urgently calls upon the government to immediately provide the detainee with access to legal counsel and his family immediately.

Release Vikneswaran or Charge Him!

SUARAM strongly urges the police to charge the detainee immediately or release him unconditionally. The detainee must be accorded his right to an open trial with legal representation.

While SUARAM recognises the responsibility of the Malaysian government to curb crime and to deal with criminals, gangs and syndicates, there is no justification whatsoever for the government to resort to detaining suspects without trial in its efforts to address criminal activities, or any crime for that matter. SUARAM stresses that there are ample laws in Malaysia which could adequately deal with the various crimes and offences for which the government currently detains individuals without trial.

SUARAM reiterates that the detention of any individual without trial is a gross violation of fundamental human rights under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and the Federal Constitution, which guarantee due process and security of persons.

Amendments and UN Visit: Malaysia’s Failed Public Relations Exercise

While the government has announced its plans to amend the three detention-without-trial laws in the country, the detention of Vikneswaran among the many recent detentions under the EO demonstrates that the government has no intention to make any progress towards complying with universally-accepted human rights standards of the right to fair trial.

SUARAM further notes that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is currently visiting Malaysia to study the situation of arbitrary detentions in the country. As such, SUARAM calls upon the Working Group to take note of the latest arrest.
That such an arbitrary detention was made even during the visit of the Working Group to Malaysia – a time when the Malaysian government is likely to seek to improve its reputation over such detentions in the eyes of international observers – only goes to show that the rampant use of the EO by the Malaysian government cannot be hidden.

Thus, the Malaysian government’s proposed amendments to the three detention-without-trial laws and its acceptance of the visit of the Working Group, seemingly aimed at improving its image of human rights compliance, are turning out to be a futile exercise as this latest EO detention clearly demonstrates the government’s unchanged position on detention without trial.

End Detention without Trial Now!

SUARAM wishes to reiterate its position that all detention-without-trial laws – the EO, the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act (DDA) and the Internal Security Act (ISA) – must be repealed. In the same vein, SUARAM strongly urges the government to release all who are currently being detained under any of the three detention-without-trial laws, or charge them in a fair and open court of law.

Released by,
Nalini.E
SUARAM Coordinator

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]