Activist Numan Afifi investigated over LGBT speech at United Nations

PETALING JAYA: Gay rights activist Numan Afifi has been called up by the police over a speech made at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in Geneva in March.

In a statement on Facebook on Tuesday (April 16), Numan said the police asked him to give a statement at Bukit Aman on April 26 to assist in investigation over a speech that was made at the UNHRC Universial Periodical Review (UPR).

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activist said he had read out a statement on gender identity and sexual orientation under the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

“The statement that I read was made by a coalition of 12 Malaysian organisations that work on gender identity and sexual orientation,” he told The Star, adding that the statement was in response to Malaysia’s UPR.

“We commended the government for accepting one recommendation, which is the anti-bullying campaign in schools, but raised concerns that Malaysia has rejected the rest of the 10 recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said.

“We also spoke about how LGBT people’s participation at the March 9th Women’s March was particularly sensationalised... which led to the Home Ministry saying that LGBT people’s right to assembly should be curtailed,” he said.

Numan added that they also agreed with the Foreign Ministry’s statement in the UN that LGBT issues was not taboo.

They called for dialogue between the government and civil society, he said.

However, Numan said he was unsure whether the police investigation was directed specifically at his speech, or if it involved the other nine NGOs who also spoke at the UPR.

"I will not bow down to these acts to harass or intimidate me as a human rights defender in Malaysia," Numan said.

"I fight for all human rights and will continue doing so. Stand in solidarity with us as we enlarge civil space in Malaysia and condemn those who attempt to shrink it," added Numan, who was formerly the press officer to Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Twitter that he was aware of the issue.

“Am very concern (sic),” he tweeted.

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