Right of public or private peaceful assembly should be respected, says Suhakam

PETALING JAYA: The police should respect and recognise the right of public or private peaceful assembly, says the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

Suhakam also added that the right to assemble is a fundamental right ”to collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.”

“Suhakam is deeply concerned with the police’s response to assemblies and the rakyat’s right to express their views and opinions,” it said in a statement on Monday (Aug 23).

It cited the recent arrest of 31 youths for holding a candlelight vigil in memory of those who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

“It was also reported that the vigil participants were forcefully arrested and transported to the police station and were then not informed about their rights nor the grounds for arrest," said Suhakam

“These, including reports that the group members were denied access to legal representation, is a clear breach of their constitutional rights," it added.

Last week (Aug 19), 31 members of Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) were issued with RM2,000 compound notices each for holding a candlelight vigil in memory of those who died of Covid-19.

It also noted that on Saturday (Aug 21), the police diverted 88 routes heading downtown Kuala Lumpur especially around Dataran Merdeka and Sogo Complex in response to the second Lawan rally that has been cancelled.

“Suhakam reiterates that it is incumbent upon the police to facilitate this right to assembly by people, as was witnessed by Suhakam during the #Keluar dan #Lawan rally on August 3," it said.

“With proper collaboration between police and organisers, all Malaysians may enjoy the right to assemble peacefully and, one day soon, their freedom for expression be fully met,” the commission added

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