KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has urged the Government to conduct an independent investigation on all reported enforced disappearance cases and bring the perpetrators to book.
"The rule of law must prevail and there is no place for a culture of impunity in Malaysia," its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail (pic) said during the keynote speech of the 2018 Regional Conference on Victims of Enforced Disappearances here on Wednesday (Aug 29).
His speech was read out by Suhakam secretary Dr Cheah Swee Neo.
In Malaysia, the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh, activist Amri Che Mat, as well as Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu are part of an ongoing Suhakam inquiry.
The terms of reference for the inquiry were to determine whether these were cases of enforced disappearances or cases of involuntary disappearances in breach of criminal, civil law or applicable human rights laws.
Razali also urged the Government to accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
He said that Malaysia, as a responsible member of the United Nations with important regional and international roles, should accede to the CED, which would enhance and ensure that the liberty of its people is adequately protected.
"This is crucial as there is no law or regulation in Malaysia which governs the act of enforced disappearances perpetrated or done with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the state.
"As such, families of victims of enforced disappearance are left with no effective remedy under the present laws," he said.
Razali also wants the Government to disclose the number of alleged cases or complaints on enforced disappearance in Malaysia as there are currently no official statistics or data available.
The conference was organised by the NGO Caged in conjunction with the 2018 International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on Aug 30.
Amnesty International says that enforced disappearances occur when state officials (or someone acting with state consent) grab them from the street or from their homes and then deny it, or refuse to say where they are.
Caged spokesman Thomas Fann said that they would hold the newly elected Pakatan Harapan Government responsible to provide answers and if possible release all the missing persons.
He said that they had not heard anything from the Prime Minister or the Home Minister about the cases despite reaching out to them.
"We are still hopeful that the truth will be uncovered," he said.
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