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  • SUARAM

LIGHT BRIGADE AND FAMILY FRONTIERS WIN 25TH ANNUAL SUARAM HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) proudly announces two recipients of the 25th SUARAM

Human Rights Award: Light Brigade and Family Frontiers’ Network of Malaysian Mothers for

Equal Citizenship (“Family Frontiers”). In recognition of their impactful work on right to education and citizenship rights respectively, both awardees will each receive a certificate, trophy and a prize of RM500.00.


Light Brigade, comprising three secondary school girls from Kota Belud, Sabah,

demonstrated exceptional courage and persistence in the face of hindered access to

education. Faced with negligent teachers and school administrators, these students took

their case to court in 2020. Their three-year journey culminated in a court victory in 2023,

overcoming tribulations such as testifying without legal representation and facing reprisals

from Ministry of Education officials. Despite being children and the lack of support at the

time, their fearless defence of the fundamental right to education – a right that many of us

easily take for granted – is exceptional.


Family Frontiers, a peer support network consisting of 250 Malaysian mothers impacted by

gender-discriminatory citizenship laws, evolved into a formidable entity that advocates for

the constitutional amendment to confer Malaysian women with foreign spouses the equal

right to confer citizenship on their overseas-born children. Among initiatives undertaken by

these mothers to have their voices heard, with support from the Association of Family

Support & Welfare Selangor & Kuala Lumpur, included strategic litigation and

experience-sharing on mainstream and social media. These efforts have elevated their

issues to the national and global stage, demonstrating resilience and dedication to their

cause.


The award ceremony also recognised the work of nine other nominees:

● Apa Kata Wanita Orang Asli (AKWOA) – a collective comprising young Orang Asli

women from Peninsular Malaysia. AKWOA engages in capacity-building activities

with Orang Asli youth, such as workshops, film production and screening etc.

● Dewan Belia India Malaysia – a three-month youth programme that brought together

Indian youth aged 16 to 30 to discuss and debate national policies. It also involved

online presentations of proposals for five ministries.

● Pertubuhan Kebajikan Keluarga Kasih (Kekasih) – a NGO that empowers family

members of inmates on death row and life sentences via advocacy and awareness

programmes in collaboration with the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN).

● North South Initiative (NSI) - a cross sector-based consortium that engages in case

management, strategic litigation, policy and international advocacy, community

capacity-building etc to protect and promote migrant and refugee rights.

● Persatuan Penduduk Laman Gahal (Pelaga) – a NGO that advocates for better

community welfare and safety, especially in the context of land development and

natural disasters.

● Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sebaran Kasih Malaysia – a NGO that empowers families with

incarcerated members through upskilling, facilitating access to support services and

other interventions.

● SIUMAN Collective – an organisation that engages in online and international

advocacy to improve rights of persons with disabilities in Malaysia.

● Tiada.Guru – a group of anonymous Ministry of Education whistleblowers founded in

rural Sabah that works to end corruption in education and combat extreme teacher

absenteeism.

● University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY) – a student group that

advocates for the abolishment of the Universities and University Colleges Act

(AUKU), as well as other issues affecting university students and human rights

violations.


SUARAM extends its heartfelt congratulations to all awardees and nominees. Their work

serves as an enduring inspiration and reinforces our joint commitment to shaping a Malaysia

that truly respects, recognises and upholds universal human rights for all.

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