KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is expected to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) by the middle of next year.
UNCAT committee member Abdel Wahab Hani said there were positive indications that the Government would ratify the convention following engagement with representatives from several government ministries, religious officials and the civil society.
“A reasonable time frame for the ratification would be between six and 18 months as Malaysia is prepared to be part of the convention,” he told a media briefing at the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) office here yesterday.
He said Malaysia was eyeing a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council in October and the Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights would be held in November 2018.
Abdel Wahab said it would augur well for the country if it ratifies the convention.
“But there are challenges to overcome, as caning is a common punishment under both criminal and syariah laws.”
He said there were instances where caning has been abolished in Muslim countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.
“It is normal to face resistance but we need to convince the various ministries that the convention seeks to harmonise domestic laws and international standards against torture,” he added.
Suhakam chief commissioner Tan Sri Razali Ismail said Malaysia could not remain as one of the countries that had yet to ratify the 30-year-old human rights instrument.
UNCAT was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1984.
Some 32 nations, including Singapore and Myanmar, have yet to ratify the convention.