KUALA LUMPUR: Four key issues should be addressed by the Government to break the culture of denial and impunity, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
These issues are the Rohingya refugees, misuse of laws, rights of orang asli and custodial deaths.
In a statement to mark Human Rights Day 2016 yesterday, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the past year had been challenging for the country.
“Malaysia has witnessed some progress in the protection of human rights despite the many unfortunate happenings.
“Suhakam applauds the police for dismantling the begging syndicate that exploited people with disabilities in the Klang Valley.
“The Government also deserves praise for outlawing the marriage of children below the age of 18 and the unilateral or forced conversion of children,” he said.
On the Rohingya, Razali said although there was rising interest in their plight, Malaysia still did not legally recognise them as asylum seekers.
“Suhakam hopes that as awareness grows, Malaysia will do more and the situation in Myanmar will improve,” he added.
He also criticised the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for non-terrorism purposes.
“We are concerned that preventive detention, terrorism and security laws are being misused to suppress freedom of expression and political dissent.
On the orang asli, Razali said the fundamental rights of the community had been repeatedly violated by the development of infrastructure in rural areas while claiming that they were beneficial to the country.
“Some orang asli have been displaced without consent, satisfactory provisions for resettlement or adequate compensation, and those who tried to defend their land in Kelantan were instead arrested and charged,” he said.
Razali also pointed out concerns by local and international communities regarding Malaysia’s commitment to combating torture, especially with the high number of custodial deaths.
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