Time to ratify human rights treaties, says M’sian Bar

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian government, which was recently elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2022-2024 term, should commit to acceding to more international human rights treaties, says the Malaysian Bar.

Its president AG Kalidas said so far, Malaysia had only ratified three treaties: the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“The acceptance of international human rights norms will allow Malaysia to establish baselines for human rights in this country,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Congratulating the government on its successful campaign, Kalidas said the Bar remained resolute in its call for the government to take concrete steps towards repealing and abolishing draconian laws such as the Prevention of Crime Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, both of which allowed for detention without trial for up to two years, renewable indefinitely.

“The 12th Malaysia Plan only very tamely provided that the government will review or amend laws related to crimes.

“The continued absence of meaningful ‘due process’ protections may lead to one-sided hearings before their respective boards, which are not courts.

“This is clearly contrary to the idea of an open and fair trial,” he said, pointing to other provisions in other laws such as the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act as well as Sections 233 and 263 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

“Sections 124B to 124J of the Penal Code are themselves a threat to the democratic system of governance in Malaysia. Combined, they are a collective affront to the rule of law, basic human rights values and various constitutional safeguards.

“Abolishing or repealing these laws will demonstrate the government’s resolve to upholding the rule of law and democratic principles, as measured by international norms and standards,” he added.

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