MALAYSIA’S CEDAW REVIEW: STEM THE REGRESSION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS

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The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO) congratulates the government of Malaysia for participating in its second constructive dialogue with the CEDAW Committee at its 69th session in Geneva, Switzerland.

However, the government of Malaysia is yet to reply to some key questions and critical concerns raised by the CEDAW Committee. COMANGO echoes these concerns and urges the government to step up its commitment to stem the regression of women’s rights in Malaysia. Much more concerted efforts need to be done in order to promote and protect women’s rights and gender equality.

The CEDAW Committee was dismayed that overall, women’s human rights — especially those of Muslim women — has regressed. Malaysia has also maintained their reservations on Articles 9(2) (women and men should have equal rights with regard to the nationality of their children), and Articles 16 (1) (a) (c) (f) and (g) (rights of women on marriage, divorce and over their children).

Malaysia has also failed to ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW (OP-CEDAW). OP- CEDAW will allow women in Malaysia whose rights were violated to communicate directly with the CEDAW Committee for adjudication.

The CEDAW Committee commented on the lack of a legal framework to fully incorporate equality and non-discrimination into Malaysian law. Currently, only the provision in Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, and the decision in the Noorfadilla case adopted the definition of discrimination against women according to Article 1 of CEDAW. These have been held to be insufficient to hold private actors, such as companies, responsible when they breach women’s right to work and women’s rights at the workplace.

The CEDAW Committee was appalled that Muslim children born less than 6 months after marriage could not bear their fathers’ names but had to be labeled ‘bin Abdullah’. They also questioned the Malaysian delegation on the attacks against women human rights defenders such as the fatwa that was issued against Sisters In Islam.

COMANGO is greatly concerned that the CEDAW Committee’s questions on matters that violate Muslim women’s rights have come under attack by some NGOs in Malaysia. These include issues on female genital mutilation (FGM) or cutting, whipping, polygamy, and unequal inheritance.

The CEDAW Committee acts on an internationally approved mandate as part of the UN’s standards of State members’ accountability to human rights. The transparent process is open to all including civil society’s participation and the proceedings have been made public via live web broadcast. These attacks on the CEDAW Committee are therefore unwarranted.

Many issues remain unanswered after the review by the CEDAW Committee: How will Malaysia stop attacks against persons based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; What steps will be taken to ensure better treatment of refugees and foreign spouses; Will marital rape be criminalised, and when will stalking in real life and online be made unlawful?

Malaysia will face its 3rd Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council in November 2018. COMANGO hopes Malaysia unequivocally upholds international human rights standards based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), CEDAW and all relevant UN Conventions. Greater political will, and the sincere desire to follow through while being accountable and transparent on all these issues is much needed now.

For more information, contact:
Rizal Rozhan, EMPOWER at 03 7784 4977 / upr@empowermalaysia.org

Or refer:
Media Report of Malaysia’s CEDAW Review by United Nations – http://bit.ly/2CfCDhB UN Web TV – http://bit.ly/2HEdVXF and http://bit.ly/2EX6nRo

WHERE ARE THE LAND RIGHTS OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES?

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WHERE ARE THE LAND RIGHTS OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES?

The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO) urges the government of Malaysia to take serious proactive measures to improve the land rights of the Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia. This is especially when the government of Malaysia has projected an image in the international fora as protecting the rights of its indigenous peoples at the Universal Periodic Review(UPR), a United Nation’s mechanism to improve human rights situation in all member states.

COMANGO is deeply concerned with the aggression towards the Orang Asli who were protecting their native lands, in particular, the recent break up of the blockade on the logging road at the Petei junction to Pos Simpor, Kelantan. In a report by the Orang Asli Villagers Network Kelantan (JKOAK), a blockade was set up by about 160 Orang Asli from the surrounding area last Tuesday, 27th September 2016 in an effort to stop loggers from exploiting timber off their native lands. The effort proved futile as it was torn down by a chainsaw wielding person accompanied by 3 persons purportedly from the police and 30 other men believed to be from a logging company. The chainsaw narrowly missed cutting the leg of one of the Orang Asli man, landing to cut his slipper. During the chaos, an unidentified young man with a rifle fired twice into the air, not far from the blockade.

At the international level, the government of Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Malaysia claims that it is committed to protect the land rights of its indigenous peoples. It promised to review the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples undertaken by SUHAKAM through a Task Force then formulate a blueprint for the proposed reforms of indigenous land and policies once approved by the Cabinet. This was the government’s official response to the UPR recommendations on the land rights of the indigenous peoples on 4th March 2014 in the United Nations, Geneva.

COMANGO demands a comprehensive response from the government of Malaysia with regards to the situation of indigenous peoples’ land rights. The indigenous peoples should not have to resort to defending their land rights through the courts and through physical blockades merely to protect their livelihood, cultural life and customary lands.

For more information, please call;
Rizal Rozhan
UPR Monitoring Officer
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Co-Secretariat of COMANGO
03-7784-4977
upr@empowermalaysia.org

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MANA PERGINYA HAK TANAH ORANG ASLI?

Gabungan Badan-Badan Bukan Kerajaan dalam Proses UPR (COMANGO) menggesa kerajaan Malaysia untuk mengambil langkah serius dan proaktif untuk memberikan semula hak tanah Orang Asli/Orang Asal di seluruh Malaysia. Lebih-lebih lagi apabila kerajaan Malaysia cenderung memperagakan niat mereka untuk menjaga hak asasi manusia kaum Orang Asli/Orang Asal melalui Penilaian Berkala Sejagat (UPR). UPR adalah satu mekanisme yang ditubuhkan atas persetujuan ahli-ahli Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (UN) untuk mempertingkatkan keadaan hak asasi manusia di setiap negara ahli.

COMANGO sungguh kesal dengan tindakan ganas terhadap Orang Asli yang mempertahankan tanah adat mereka, khususnya dalam kes penghuraian kumpulan Orang Asli di jalan balak Pos Simpor, Kelantan baru-baru ini. Menurut laporan asal Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan (JKOAK) sebuah tembok manusia telah dibina oleh 160 Orang Asli daripada kawasan berhampiran pada hari selasa, 27 September 2016 untuk menghalang pengeksploitasian kayu balak atas tanah adat mereka. Usaha Orang-Orang Asli tersebut tidak berhasil apabila salah seorang daripada jumlah 30 orang dipercayai daripada sebuah syarikat pembalakan berserta 3 orang yang ‘mengakui’ diri mereka sebagai polis telah menakut-nakutkan mereka menggunakan mesin gergaji rantai. Akibat perbuatan itu, kaki salah seorang Orang Asli di tempat kejadian hampir dipotong apabila mesin tersebut mendarat dan terbelah seliparnya. Dalam kejadian tersebut, seorang suspek yang tidak dapat dikenalpasti juga melepaskan tembakan sebanyak dua kali menggunakan senapang ke udara, berhampiran dengan tembok manusia berikut.

Di peringkat antarabangsa, kerajaan Malaysia telah menandatangani Deklarasi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu dalam Hak Asasi Manusia Orang Asli/Orang Asal (UNDRIP). Malaysia mengutarakan komitmennya untuk menjaga hak tanah Orang Asli/Orang Asal melalui janjinya untuk mengkaji semula Inkuiri Nasional tentang Hak Tanah Orang Asli/Orang Asal oleh SUHAKAM melalui sebuah Pasukan Petugas. Kemudiannya, berjanji menghasilkan sebuah pelan tindakan mengikuti saranan pembaharuan untuk mengatasi isu tanah adat orang asli dan polisi-polisi berkaitan selepas dipersetujui oleh Menteri-Menteri Kabinet. Tersebut merupakan respon rasmi kerajaan terhadap saranan UPR tentang hak tanah Orang Asal/Orang Asli pada 4 Mac 2014 di Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu, Geneva.

COMANGO menuntut jawapan komprehensif daripada kerajaan Malaysia berkenaan situasi hak tanah Orang Asli/Orang Asal. Orang Asli/Orang Asal tidak sepatutnya perlu bergantung kepada kes-kes mahkamah dan menubuhkan tembok manusia demi mempertahankan mata pencarian, budaya dan tanah adat mereka.

Untuk Maklumat Lebih Lanjut, Sila Hubungi;
Rizal Rozhan
Pegawai Pemantauan UPR
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Sekretariat Bersama COMANGO
03-7784-4977
upr@empowermalaysia.org

COMANGO Urges Government To Take UPR Commitments Seriously

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The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO) urges the government to uphold its commitments to the recommendations which were accepted in March 2014 during its second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The government is encouraged to make their UPR pledges public — in Malay, Mandarin and Tamil — and allow for public review of the implementation of these. Additionally, the government should take all necessary steps and measures to put an end to the regression of human rights values in Malaysia and renew its commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights.

Malaysia is encouraged to submit a mid-term report to the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). However, the government, through previous consultations with civil society organizations had indicated that it was not inclined to do so.

COMANGO, on the other hand, will be sending its mid-term report to the OHCHR as mandated under the Human Rights Council Review 2011. The mid-term report details the assessment of implementation of a total of 60 UPR recommendations which Malaysia had accepted which are deemed specific and measureable. Among these recommendations, only 20% were fully implemented by the government. More worryingly, 57% of these recommendations have witnessed a regressing situation of increasing violations of human rights, and a trend of growing impunity.
Furthermore, since the October 2013 review, the Government has failed to translate Malaysia’s 2013 National Report, the Report of the Working Group on the UPR, and the Addendum to the Working Group Report. Peoples in Malaysia should know the international human rights standards that the government had promised to uphold.

For its part, COMANGO is pleased to launch the bilingual version of our report that was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013. We will be disseminating the bilingual version of our UPR report nationwide as part of our continuing work in engaging the government to uphold its commitments to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of all persons in Malaysia as part of the UPR process.

COMANGO calls on the government to take its UPR commitments seriously and carry out efforts to include as many relevant stakeholders as possible. The UPR should be an open and participatory process where the government works together with rights-based civil society organisations, the national human rights commission and international bodies to reach a common goal of improving the human rights conditions on the ground.

UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 member states of the United Nations. In Malaysia’s context, government representatives will be scrutinized through a process of peer review in 2018, which by then will be its 3rd UPR cycle thus far.

For more information, please contact ;-
Angela Kuga Thas – uprmonitor@empowermalaysia.org
Rizal Rozhan – upr@empowermalaysia.org
Contact No: +603 7784 4977

Released by:
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)