HOURS LEADING UP TO UPR | These are MACSA’s hopes for Malaysia’s human rights f…
In less than 4 hours, Malaysia’s human rights practices would be scrutinised in the United Nations Human Rights Council mechanism, called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in Geneva, Switzerland. This is the third time Malaysia would be reviewed, following Malaysia’s participation in the human rights practices of UN members initiated by the UN General Assembly in 2006.
MACSA hopes that this quinquennial platform would be utilised by all those involved and the various stakeholders to focus on genuinely pressing and urgent matters, rather than riding on pseudo-human-rights issues simply to denigrate the tradition and religious practices of the Malaysian people, and to further some perverted ideological agenda that does not fit well with the local customs and conditions.
For the past few years, MACSA’s delegation to the UN in Geneva have been working very hard, meeting with representatives from various UN member countries, as well as experts on human rights and fellow activists in Geneva. The two issues that we hope could be given priority in all earnesty, are:-
(1) firstly the rights of women in Malaysia, who are facing years of discrimination when they are continuously being, forced to remove their hijab at workplace; and
(2) secondly, the rights of refugees, especially the Rohingyas in Malaysia.
These are real human rights violations, affecting millions and hundreds of thousands of lives in our country, every single day. MACSA has also highlighted other issues as per our stakeholders report submitted to the Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the 29 March, 2018. (Refer: https://uprdoc.ohchr.org/uprweb/downloadfile.aspx?filename=5657&file=EnglishTranslation )
Further, MACSA is also alarmed by the audacity of some of the civil society organisations which disseminated misleading facts, if not outright lies, to paint a damaging picture on some of the Islamic practices in Malaysia, in the Side Event here in the Palais des Nations. One such example is when a representative from Pusat Komas, which is part of the coalition called COMANGO, cited the use of the signboard “Tandas Muslimin”, as purported evidence of growing religious intolerance; when in actual reality it has already been clarified that the incident that happend at a rest area on the East Coast Expressway (Phase 2) was actually a case of error in installing the signboard, when the contractor mistakenly used the signboard for the toilet at the Muslim prayer room for general toilet. Such case of error could hardly be used as proof of religious intolerance.
This subtle, yet calculated attacks against the religious rights of the Muslims in Malaysia is unwarranted, it reeks of Islamophobia, and clearly is a violation of the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, that calls for the combating of negative stereotyping and stigmatization of religion or belief.
Lastly, it is MACSA’s hope that any recommendation accepted and implemented (or rejected and not implemented) by Malaysia for the UPR, must, in addition to upholding international human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI), also be in tandem with Malaysia’s own laws and customs, particularly with the Federal Constitution and the positions of the States existing within the Federation.
8 November 2018
Palais des Nations
Azril Mohd Amin,
Chief Executive CENTHRA, and Chairman of MACSA
Associate Professor Dr. Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar
President of WAFIQ and the Co-Chairperson of MACSA