Take your own advice, Malaysia
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL MALAYSIA PRESS RELEASE
Malaysia has made several significant recommendations to the United States onhow it needs to improve its human rights record, ducking the fact that Malaysia has consistently ignored similar calls to address rights violations.
Among recommendations Malaysia made at the 22nd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in Geneva yesterday, was that the United States combat violence and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, address discrimination of minority groups and abide by a ban on torture and inhumane treatment of detainees.
We are pleased to note that Malaysia considers these human rights violations as being important issues to be raised at the Human Rights Council, but, Malaysia’s progress on these same issues back home is sorely lacking.
- Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni -
The UPR is a peer-review mechanism which reviews the human rights records ofall UN member states, and is convened by the UN’s Human Rights Council. A country that is up for review presents the advancements it has made to improve its human rights record while fellow member states participate in the process by recommending further actions needed. A country is reviewed every four-and-a-half years.
“It is important to note that some of the recommendations Malaysia made to the US were the very same ones Malaysia rejected at its own UPR review earlierthis year,” Shamini said.
When Malaysia responded to recommendations made in March this year, Malaysia rejected the call to set up a dedicated Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to oversee police accountability.
However, when reviewing the United States, Malaysia recommended that it “double efforts in combating violence and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials based on racial profiling through training, sensitisation and community outreach as well as ensuring proper investigation and prosecution when cases occur.”
“In a country where over 110 deaths in police custody have occurred in the pastdecade, a rape allegation during police questioning in custody has surfaced andwhere a government agency admitted negligence in the death of former Selangor political aide Teoh Beng Hock, it is embarrassing to find that we are trying to hold other countries accountable while unable or unwilling to tackle the same issues at home,” Shamini said.
At the US’ UPR process, Malaysia recommended that it “makes further progress in fulfilling its commitment to close the Guantanamo Detention Facility and to abide by the ban on torture and inhumane treatment of all individuals in detention.”
“In Malaysia, we are still reeling from passing of laws to allow detention without trial, yet Malaysia is recommending to the United States that it fulfils its commitment to shut down Guantanamo, a detention facility where prisoners can be held without charge or trial for decades. At the same time, only a handful of deaths that have occurred in police custody in Malaysia have been investigated while investigations into allegations of torture are rarely investigated,” she said, adding that the prison conditions and treatment of prisoners in Malaysia was another issue that needed serious attention.
The Malaysian representative, Zahid Rastam, also told the United States to “address discrimination, racial profiling by authorities, Islamophobia and religious intolerance by reviewing all laws and practices that violate the rights of minority groups with the view to amend them.”
“For decades, civil society groups have been urging Malaysia to review discriminatory laws and practices that violate the rights of minority groups on the basis of gender, race and religion. Discriminatory practices even exist in law. Yet, we have the Malaysian government telling another country that these very issues must be ‘addressed’.”
A final recommendation by Malaysia to the United States to improve its human rights record was to cease extrajudicial killings such as drone strikes and to ensure accountability for civilian loss of life resulting from extraterritorial counterterrorism operations.
“Malaysia must remember that the world is aware of its failing human rights record at home, especially against critics and dissent. The recent mass arrests of peaceful protestors, the clampdown on the freedom of expression offline and online, as well as continued use of the death penalty for non-serious crimes constitute only a handful of human rights violations committed by Malaysia.
“Perhaps, it is time that Malaysia takes its own advice,” Shamini said.
You may view Malaysia’s participation at the UPR process of the United States here: http://m.webtv.un.org/watch/usa-review-22nd-session-of-universal-periodi...