Stakeholders can remind govt of UPR commitments

KUCHING: Stakeholders are encouraged to work together so that the government can realise all its commitment made under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

KUCHING: Stakeholders are encouraged to work together so that the government can realise all its commitment made under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

According to vice-chairman of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee, these stakeholders, who include non-governmental organisations (NGO), were at a capacity to remind the government on the commitments it had made when Malaysia underwent its second UPR in Geneva, Switzerland on October 24 last year.

“NGOs, which fight for various groups, would have interaction with relevant agencies and in their advocacy work, they could bring up these commitments the government had made in Geneva and remind them on what they are doing about the commitments, whether they have made any progress in the implementation of the commitments and if they have not, are they planning to do so?” she told a press conference following Suhakam’s briefing sessions on Malaysia’s second UPR at a leading hotel here yesterday.

The UPR is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) under which all 193 member states’ human rights records are reviewed every four years. It is a new mechanism established by the General Assembly under Resolution 60/251 on March 15, 2006.

Khaw said to ensure the commitments were carried out, the stakeholders could play their role by constantly reminding the government and to assist them in the implementation of the commitments.

“Suhakam will also monitor the progress and help the government to fulfill its commitment by holding briefing sessions to alert people to the UPR process, the commitments the government has made and also to remind the stakeholders the need to collaborate.”

“Similarly, from the briefing session, each stakeholder can now go back and discuss with their people on how best they can help the government to implement the UPR and to monitor the progress made by the government in its implementation of UPR recommendations,” she said.

She also noted that Suhakam would be disseminating information about UPR by translating it and the recommendations the government has accepted into Bahasa Malaysia to ensure that the people have ready access to the information.

Suhakam yesterday organised its second nationwide briefing session as part of efforts to promote the outcome of Malaysia’s second UPR. The first was held in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (July 14) while the next sessions will be conducted in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on July 18, Johor Bahru (August 19), Penang (August 21) and Kuala Terengganu (August 26).

These briefing sessions are part of activities identified in Suhakam’s UPR Follow-up Plan of Action aimed at creating awareness and greater understanding among stakeholders at both federal and state levels, of the UPR process and their respective roles to ensure a full and effective implementation of the UPR recommendations before the next review in 2018.

Suhakam developed its UPR Follow-up Plan of Action following the adoption of Malaysia’s
second UPR outcome report by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 20 this year.

Malaysia accepted 150 out of 232 recommendations received from 104 member states when it underwent the second UPR.

Among the recommendations that enjoy the government’s full acceptance are those relating to economic, social and cultural rights, particularly poverty eradication, education and access to healthcare as well as enhancement of women’s rights and gender equality and combating human trafficking.

The government also supports recommendations relating to the strengthening of national human rights mechanisms and promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities (OKU), children and foreign workers’ access to justice.

“Suhakam hopes that through these briefing sessions, all stakeholders would be encouraged to work closely with one another in the UPR follow-up process towards achieving the best possible outcome of the UPR mechanism,” Khaw said.

Suhakam commissioner Francis Johen was also present at the press conference.