Saturday, March 27, 2010

HRP hightlights plight of Indians to foreign missions

By Marc Jitab - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Twelve foreign and diplomatic missions were today given a briefing by the Human Rights Party (HRP) on human rights violations against ethnic minority Malaysian Indians.

HRP's pro tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar presented a laundry list of human rights failures and abuses in a 42-page report at the HRP headquarters in Bangsar here.

HRP, the political arm of the outlawed Hindraf organisation, appealed to foreign governments to internationalise the problems faced by Malaysian Indians.

Among the violations, Uthayakumar listed out police brutality, denial of education, forced religious conversions, housing and land issues, and lack of governmental funding.

Participants at the briefing were also shown grim pictures of victims who were abused, shot or thrown into the river, whose bodies were decomposed.

Uthayakumar said he had no choice but take the matter to the international arena as neither of the two main political coalitions in Malaysia served the interests of these minorities.

“The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) is just a showpiece of the government. There are 150,000 Indian children without birth certificates.

"If MIC can't even help provide them a simple thing as a piece of paper to show they are Malaysians, how can it solve the other problems?" he asked.

Uthayakumar did not spare the Pakatan-led state governments, saying that they are not doing any better either.

"At a stroke of a pen, the Penang, Selangor and Kedah governments can approve land for Tamil schools and the federal government will be compelled to enforce it.

"But it's been two years since they came into power, and nothing has moved,” said Uthayakumar, who is HRP's legal adviser.

Uthayakumar's days to freely champion HRP's cause may be numbered as there is a sedition trial hanging over his head. His prospects, according to his lawyer N Surindran, is grim.

With Hindraf banned and HRP yet to be registered, Uthayakumar's attempt to reach out to the international community to get Indian voices heard, seems understandable.