Saturday, February 9, 2008

Press Release by HAF - 9th Feb 2008

Press Release
Rally Opposing Ethnic "Apartheid" in Malaysia Gains Support of Hindu American Foundation Fremont, CA (Feb 9, 2008)

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a U.S. based human rights group, threw its support behind a rally planned to take place in front of the Malaysian Consulate in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, February 16, 2008. The rally, organized by American Hindus with familial ties to Malaysia, is to support human rights in Malaysia.

The organizers are calling for an end to the apartheid policies of the Malaysian government that favor ethnic Malay Muslims over other ethnic groups. The rally will focus attention on five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) that have been jailed under emergency laws considered draconian by most human rights observers. The five were jailed after they led a non-violent protest in the nation's capital in late November. HAF had been in touch with some of these leaders prior to their arrest, but they have been prevented from communicating with supporters since their incarceration.

Current Malaysian policies effectively discriminate against Malaysians Hindus of Indian ethnicity, who are the poorest ethnic group in Malaysia--we want equality and dignity!" said Bhuvan Govindasamy, the main organizer of this rally. “Malaysian Hindus have been opposing the insidious violation of their rights for many years now, but the latest spate of Hindu temple demolition by the government, and the arrest of the five HINDRAF leaders are only the latest miscarriages of justice.”

The Hindu American Foundation launched a recent campaign to support the Hindu protests in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, and previously released several statements calling for an end to the destruction of Hindu temples and for the protection of human rights of Malaysian Hindus. The foundation's most recent annual human rights report entitled, "Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights 2006," devoted an entire section highlighting violations of human rights of Malaysian Hindus.

"The jailing of the 'HINDRAF five' without any charge or hearing using extra-constitutional powers is not something we expect in a civilized country, and our concerns as to their treatment is growing as reports of their solitary confinement, psychological abuse and failing health trickle out," said Mihir Meghani, M.D., President of HAF. "The Malaysian government must understand that the world is watching and tepid actions by the government to gloss over the very real issues Malaysian Hindus are facing will not suffice."

Download HAF's Malaysia Policy Brief here
The Hindu American Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3), non-partisan organization, promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism.