Thursday, May 29, 2008

Amnesty Int releases human rights report-card of Msia

Mkini-Tarani Palani May 28, 08 7:04pm

Amnesty International (AI) has reiterated the call for police reform in Malaysia, stating that “at least 10 people died in police custody in 2007”.

This was one of the key issues raised in its Annual Report 2008, launched simultaneously worldwide today. The event in Malaysia was held in Petaling Jaya.Other concerns highlighted by the London-based NGO in relation to Malaysia were on detention without trial, migrant workers, death penalty, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and rights of transsexuals.

AI-Malaysia executive director Joseph Paul said the report makes note of the denial of a wide spectrum of human rights around the world, even 60 years on since the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was ratified.However, affected groups are showing “growing impatience”, as seen in recent rallies by monks in Myanmar, as well as those organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections and the Hindu Rights Action Force in Malaysia last year.

The 398-page report states the facts and “is not subjected to our own sense of morality and ethics”, he added.Campaigns co-ordinator K Shan said Malaysia has yet to repeal laws left behind by the colonial administration and which “continue to undermine human rights”. These include the Internal Security Act (ISA), Emergency Public Order Preventive Ordinance, Sedition Act, and Printing Presses and Publications Act.

‘Agony for families’

During the launch, Norlaila Othman - who runs a campaign to free ISA detainees - spoke on the adverse impact of the preventive detention law, especially on the families.Her husband, Mat Sah Satray, 45, is among those currently held at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak. He was arrested in 2002, initially for alleged involvement with the KMM group, but this was later changed to Jemaah Islamiah and Al-Qaeda.AI-Malaysia added a copy of the report would be sent to the Prime Minister’s Department as has been done in previous years.