Malaysia wants to be in Human Rights Council

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is offering herself as a candidate for membership in the United Nations’ Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic) said Malaysia would continue to advocate for the rights of the people “who have long been subjected to human rights abuses such as the Rohingya and Palestinians”.

“We are ready to play our role as a constructive partner and work closely with member states to advance the global human rights agenda as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“With that, it is my sincere hope that we will receive your support for Malaysia’s candidacy. In unity, for humanity, ” he said in his address at the High Level Segment of the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council yesterday.

Hishammuddin also said that the role of the Human Rights Council is now more vital than ever with the Covid-19 pandemic plaguing the world, which serves as an opportunity to work harder and find common ground.

He said the world should come together in solidarity, to show joint resolve in safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable.

The pandemic, he added, was an unprecedented challenge and tested countries’ resilience in public health, social protection, governance systems, information sharing and economic policy.

In addressing the impact of the pandemic, it is important to come to grips with the fact that the most vulnerable and marginalised are always the hardest hit, Hishammuddin pointed out.

He said while there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with the availability of vaccines, there is also fear that the tide of nationalism that swept the world last year will affect response and delay the distribution of the vaccine.

“The ‘vaccine race’ might push producing nations to hoard the shots for domestic use.

“Malaysia’s stand is clear on this: the vaccine must be available to all in sufficient quantities; accessible to all without discrimination.

“Vaccination is a human right that must be respected, protected, and fulfilled. This is a global moral responsibility that must triumph over nationalism.

“The social value of a safe and effective vaccine is almost immeasurable as we recover from this pandemic, ” he added.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that Malaysia has always been consistent on the matter and since the pandemic began, its government has provided free Covid-19 testing and treatment to everyone in the country, including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, regardless of their immigration status.

“Now, we are staying true to our principles and have pledged to provide vaccination to all for free, covering roughly 80% of our population, irrespective of citizenship status.

“This is fundamental in our efforts to achieve herd immunity as Covid-19 does not discriminate, and our response should not either, ” he added.

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