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