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

 


Malaysia: Move to outlaw human rights groups

8 January 2014

Malaysia: Move to outlaw human rights groups is an assault on freedom

Today’s attempt by Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs to ban the country’s leading coalition of human rights NGOs is a disturbing assault on the rights to freedom of expression and association, Amnesty International said.

The Ministry alleged that the majority of the 54 groups that make up the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (COMANGO) are “un-Islamic”, lack official registration, and are therefore prohibited.

“Outlawing COMANGO is a deeply disturbing action aimed at silencing important critical voices that have advocated on the world stage for Malaysia to uphold international human rights law and standards,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Malaysia researcher at Amnesty International.

COMANGO responded to the move by saying that, as a coalition of different NGOs rather than a single organization, it is not bound by the requirement to register under Malaysia’s Societies Act, which dates back to 1966.

The coalition raised the ire of the Malaysian authorities in March 2013 when it submitted a report to the United Nations, ahead of Malaysia being scrutinized under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session late last year.

Its report pointed to a wide range of areas where the Malaysian authorities need to improve their human rights record – not only on freedom of religion and the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, but also on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. Amnesty International and other non-governmental organizations highlighted similar concerns in recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council last year ahead of its UPR of Malaysia.

“This move seems less about enforcing registration requirements and more about removing a thorn in the side of the authorities. Labelling human rights groups ‘illegal’ only adds to an already long list of human rights violations that Malaysia’s authorities need to remedy, as the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process again highlighted last year,” said Galang-Folli.

Freedom of religion was one of the key issues discussed during Malaysia’s UPR review, with several states making comments and recommendations. A representative of the Malaysian government defended the religious restrictions, saying that they were in the interest of public order.

Although Malaysians adhere to a variety of religious faiths, the Constitution prescribes Islam – followed by more than 60 per cent of the population – as the official religion. But the country’s legal system has its roots in Common Law, and Shari’a law has traditionally only applied to practicing Muslims.

“It is concerning to see the Malaysian authorities increasingly taking their cue from hard-line religious groups and others seeking to silence those who espouse views that differ from their own agenda,” said Galang-Folli.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news