World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Malaysia: Protect Indigenous Rights While Reducing Poverty

Malaysia Must Protect Environment, Indigenous Rights As It Reduces Poverty – UN Expert

New York, Dec 18 2013 - After moving significantly towards reducing poverty, Malaysia must ensure that such gains do not come at the expense of the environment and the rights of vulnerable groups in society such as indigenous communities and migrant workers, a United Nations expert warned today.

“Malaysia has made impressive progress towards the reduction of poverty and has improved on all socio-economic indicators,” UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter said at the end of a 10-day official visit to the South-East Asian country.

“As it moves towards becoming a high-income country, it must address what may be called ‘second-generation’ development issues.”

He hailed the country’s significant achievements towards full realization of the right to food, including the adoption this year of minimum wage legislation, which, he said, “will make great strides in ensuring that access to food is a reality for the working poor in the country.”

But despite this progress, challenges remain. “Ending poverty means effectively safeguarding against exploitation,” Mr. Schutter stressed, referring to the precarious situation of up to 4 million migrant workers primarily working on palm oil plantations.

Palm oil, which dominates Malaysia’s agricultural sector, occupying 5 million hectares – over 70 per cent of its arable land, producing 39 per cent of global palm oil and accounting for 44 per cent of global exports – has sparked environmental concern due to deforestation, biodiversity loss and soil nutrient depletion.

The expert, who serves in an independent capacity and reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, warned that a focus on export-led commodity production makes Malaysia highly vulnerable to price shocks on international markets, since it depends on imports for basic foodstuffs, including 30 per cent of rice, Malaysia’s main staple, 66 per cent of fruits, and 41 per cent of vegetables.

He identified human rights challenges with regard to indigenous communities in Peninsular Malaysia and in Malaysian Borneo, urging that their rights, as recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, be fully respected.

“When development projects affect the land on which they rely for their food and livelihood, they must be given a real say in the matter,” he stressed. “They must provide free, prior and informed consent, on the basis of well-tested human rights principles, and be enabled to participate in and shape the development of their communities.”

He welcomed the national inquiry into the land rights of indigenous peoples conducted by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission. “I trust its recommendations will lead to a reorientation of policies to better protect the rights of indigenous communities,” he said, calling for the creation of a national commission for indigenous peoples.

He welcomed the Malaysian authorities’ efforts to ensure healthier diets, including initiatives to improve the dietary quality of school meals.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news