Towards better human rights

THE Government should use the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a basis to lay the framework for the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP)

Published: Friday September 5, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday September 5, 2014 MYT 9:48:13 AM

THE Government should use the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a basis to lay the framework for the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP).

Suhakam vice-chairman Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee said the Legal Affairs Division under the Prime Minister’s Department was the focal agency to develop the NHRAP with its deadline in 2016.

She said that it would make the process quicker and the NHRAP would be a platform to ensure that the recommendations made in the UPR were carried out.

“Even if they do not want to use all the recommendations in the UPR, they can pick from one of the categories so that Malaysia will have a plan of action if ever the need for it arises.

“The way I see it, they should base the NHRAP on the UPR as the government has made multiple commitments. Preparing the NHRAP swiftly could be a way to show that they are capable of fulfilling them,” she said in a press conference after the briefing session on Malaysia’s 2nd UPR at Royale Bintang Hotel in Penang recently.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 United Nations member states.

It provides an opportunity for all states to declare actions taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.

Dr Khaw said that even Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines had multiple NHRAPs.

Since 2002, Dr Khaw said Suhakam had been lobbying for the NHRAP to the point where the body was told to prepare it.

“It is not the role of Suhakam to prepare the NHRAP. If you refer to the Vienna Plan of Action, it is stated that the government has to come up with the plan and Suhakam is to monitor its implementation,” she said.

She added that human rights element should be included in the Malaysia Plan.

Dr Khaw also said that the UPR was carried out every four and a half years.

For Malaysia’s first UPR in Feb- ruary 2009, the nation received 103 recommendations of which 62 were supported, 22 were not supported and 19 were noted and responded to by the government.

In its second UPR in October 2013, Malaysia received 232 recommendations from 104 countries of which 150 were supported while 83 were not. Of the 150 supported, 113 were accepted in full, 22 were accepted in principle and 15 were accepted in part.

“Receiving more recommendations doesn’t mean the country is in a bad light. On the contrary, Malaysia enjoyed praises for its economic, social and cultural programmes,” she said.

An area Dr Khaw said Suhakam would tap into was business and human rights.

“Suhakam is disappointed that the UPR made no recommendation on this,” she said.

The next UPR will be in 2018.

The public can view the UPR in Suhakam’s website at