Malaysia’s human rights record up for review

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7, 2013): Malaysia will likely take an international beating for its unsatisfactory human rights record when the government faces its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Oct 24, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

“(The) current legislative initiatives in the interest of public security … in particular the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, will open the country to scrutiny and criticism by the international community,” its chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, said in a statement today.

He called upon the government “to demonstrate its full compliance with international human rights principles and fulfil the pledges and voluntary commitments that it made in defending its candidature for membership of the Human Rights Council (HRC)”.

The UPR is a mechanism established by the United Nations (UN) HRC in 2007, with the aim of improving the human rights situation on the ground in each of the 193 UN member states.

Under the UPR, the human rights records of member states are reviewed every four-and-a-half years by the UPR Working Group comprising the 47 members of the HRC at the UN office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Malaysia was first reviewed in the first cycle of the UPR on Feb 11, 2009.

At its first cycle of review, Malaysia accepted 62 of the 103 recommendations issued by the UPR Working Group on various human rights issues.

This include accession to international human rights treaties, review of existing laws and judicial systems, human rights of the vulnerable groups that include indigenous peoples, women and children, foreign workers, as well as trafficking in persons, education, economic and healthcare rights.