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Pendapat / Opinion

Malaysia can do better on human rights

Proham recognises that an Asean Human Rights Declaration is an important document and a major step forward in fostering a human rights culture within the region. We recognise the role Malaysia has played and emphasise the necessity to enhance our role and position as a promoter and defender of human rights within Asean and the globe.

Indeed we call on the PM and Malaysia to take on a strong leadership role in Asean. However, the Asean HR Declaration is not a satisfactory document as it does not  reach the status of the UDHR and other international human rights instruments. Nonetheless we note that this Asean declaration is welcome as a step forward, in anticipation of the Asean community to be set up  by Jan 1, 2015.

In this context Proham urges Asean partners such as Singapore, Brunei, Mynamar and Malaysia to take urgent action to ratify the core human rights conventions such as the convention on civil and political rights (ICCPR), economic, social & cultural (ICESCR), elimination on racial discrimination (ICERD) & against torture.

In the track record of ratification, some of the Asean partners have already done much better  than us – like Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand. Countries like Loas, Cambodia & Vietnam have a better track record as compared to Singapore, Brunei, Mynamar and Malaysia.

This  is  unacceptable  as  Malaysians  are  in a better  socio economic  and even  political position to do  better  in our  Human Rights. This comparative analysis must be a wake-up call for Malaysia. We must be among core Asean partners like Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines.

It is therefore urgent for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to seriously review our commitment to human rights by improving our ratification and compliance to international instrument and standards.  Malaysia should not be known and seen to be lagging behind  in our  Human Rights  legislation and performance. This  will not  be  consistent  with our  approach to our Vision 2020 developed  status  in just seven years time!

We urge  our  government  to accept  the challenge  to take the lead in Human Rights in Asean
Issued on behalf of Proham by Ramon Navaratnam (Proham member) and Dr Denison (Proham secretary-general).-FMT

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