‘Malaysia to fight for rights of the vulnerable’

KUANTAN: Malaysia will continue to advocate strongly against human rights violations such as the systemic oppression of the Palestinians and the Rohingya, besides working with the international community to rebuild Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic) said this during a press conference after Malaysia was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2022-2024 term on Thursday.

Malaysia received an overwhelming 183 votes and had served twice before on the HRC, from 2006-2009 and 2010-2013, where it worked with all stakeholders in pursuit of a balanced and non-politicised approach to human rights issues.

Earlier in his speech, Saifuddin said as a Council member, Malaysia intended to prioritise the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly children, women, indigenous people and the elderly.

“Malaysia plans to push for the empowerment of youths to have a bigger role at all levels of decision-making, as well as upholding access to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that needs to be protected and promoted,” he added.

He said Malaysia believed the role of the HRC was now more vital than ever, especially as the world rebuilds and recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure that human rights were kept at the centre.

To this end, Malaysia would remain actively engaged with the Council as well as its related processes to find common ground, build back stronger peaceful coexistence and ensure that no one was left behind, he added.

Malaysia plans to prioritise constructive engagement, cooperation, inclusivity, transparency and mutual respect in the HRC.

“As a multi-ethnic, multicultural and democratic society, we believe Malaysia will be able to share the values of inclusivity, acceptance and understanding as captured under the Malaysian Family concept,” he said.

The HRC is a 47-member inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights. It considers all thematic human rights issues, human rights violations, and specific situations requiring attention.

“Regarding Afghanistan, my special adviser Datuk Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman will begin a series of visits to countries that have close ties with the administration in Kabul, which is Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan, to discuss humanitarian assistance.

“We will also facilitate any non-governmental organisation that wants to extend assistance to the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said Malaysia did not want Myanmar’s junta chief to attend the upcoming Asean Summit that will be held from Oct 26-28 if no progress was made on the five-point consensus.

These ending the violence in Myanmar, the facilitation of constructive dialogue with the National Unity Government and other parties, the deployment of an Asean special envoy, the facilitation of humanitarian aid, and a visit by the Asean delegation to Myanmar to assess the situation.

“I will be attending the online emergency meeting with Asean foreign ministers.

“I was made to understand that Myanmar’s Foreign Minister will also be in attendance and the matter expected to be discussed is the five-point consensus.

“Malaysia’s stand is clear and I will repeat that if there is no significant progress in the implementation of the five-point consensus, the junta chief helming the nation should not be invited to the Asean Summit,” he said. — Bernama

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