Not ratifying ICERD puts the country to shame, says Lawyers for Liberty

  • Nation
  • Friday, 23 Nov 2018

PETALING JAYA: Non-governmental organisation Lawyers for Liberty has expressed disappointment at the government's decision not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Its advisor N. Surendran (pic) said the misconception that Article 153 of the Federal Constitution would need amending before ICERD could be ratified had no legal basis, and neither would it affect Islam.

"All Muslim countries have already ratified the ICERD – except Malaysia and Brunei.

"There is simply no reasonable or acceptable reason not to ratify ICERD," he said in a statement on Friday (Nov 23).

Surendran added that it was appalling for the government to have faltered and make such an embarrassing "U-turn" by going back upon its own earlier decision to ratify the convention.

"Government leaders have failed to show moral leadership when it was most needed.

"Some very senior leaders and MPs of Pakatan Harapan 'abandoned ship' midway by publicly calling for the ratification to be delayed," he said, adding that the lack of a strong and united voice within Pakatan led to the government's eventual capitulation on ICERD.

He noted that the government had set a dangerous precedent by changing their position in the face of prejudice and false arguments.

"(Not being able to) ratify this key anti-racism treaty puts Malaysia to shame – regionally and internationally.

"It robs us of moral authority on the world stage," said Surendran, adding that it showed a "lack of resolve, courage and purpose in the government".

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