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Friday, July 29, 2011

This is how the BN distorts human rights in Malaysia

Sulaiman Kamal | 9:24 PM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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In 2005 the Human Rights Watch interviewed S Arutchelvan from Suaram, and he best described the difference between Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance as, “The ISA is top down - a government minister orders detention of someone seen as a threat to the government - whereas the EO is bottom up. The police, having failed to collect evidence to prosecute a criminal suspect, request an EO detention order from the minister.”
The Emergency Ordinance violates international law in many ways. It violates the fundamental right to liberty, right to due process, and a fair trial. Even in states of emergency, human rights standards still prohibit indefinite detention without charge or trial.

But despite the obvious depravity of such laws, Prime Minister Najib Razak and his BN coalition - after ruling the country for 5 decades - can only chime "these laws are still necessary" to protect the country. Who then is to protect the country from him and the BN?
Only banana republics and those who are running scared do it
A government-appointed Royal Commission back in 2005 recommended the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance. It expressed concern about preventive detention laws, calling them: “undesirable because they deny the individual his personal liberty without a right to trial in an open court as approved for in Article 5 of the Constitution and in the International Bill of Rights. This right is among the most precious that the individual has and it must be protected.”
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which has been ratified or acceded to by 156 states as of 2006, include guarantees such as the obligation to treat detainees with humanity, and certain elements of the right to fair trial, such as the prohibition on arbitrary detention of liberty and the presumption of innocence.
Although Malaysia is not a signatory to the treaty, these provisions are considered customary international law and, as such, applicable in all states. Malaysian government-appointed bodies such as the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police have cited the ICCPR in setting forth the standards they believe should govern the conduct of Malaysian authorities.
The detainment of the 6 PSM supporters under the EO is a mockery of the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty; it unjustly denies Malaysians of civil liberties; it allows for detention without trial denying us our natural justice and creates conditions for torture and other degrading forms of treatment while under detention.
The prolonged detention only enforces the idea that the police have little to go by if the 6 were to face trial in open court. Yet, even if the 6 go to trial in court and are released; they still can be detained under the EO.
Their modus operandi
In November 2004, 435 detainees went on a hunger strike in Simpang Renggam Detention Centre for 15 days and a number of detainees were hospitalized. The hunger strike sparked an uproar in civil society and raised many questions forcing government officials, political parties and SUHAKAM to react on the issue.
The reason for the hunger strike was not to protest the unsatisfactory detention condition at the detention centre but to draw attention to the plight suffered by the detainees under the arbitrary nature of the EO. Among the reasons given for the hunge strike were:
* Some of them were released from the detention centre after 60 days of detention but were re-arrested by police on the same grounds;
* Some of them were released by the courts but were re-arrested;
* Upon their re-arrests, the detainees were put on a “road-show”; they were transferred from one police station to allow the police to buy time to prepare fresh detention orders;
* some of the detainees were rearrested despite successful habeas corpus applications
Any shred of humanity
It is no surprise that this form of treatment will be given out to Sungai Siput Member of Parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and five members of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM).
Dr Jeyakumar has since, launched a hunger strike of his own to demand his release and that of his 5 friends.
If the government of the day and especially the police have any measure of humanity left in them, then the 6 must be released immediately and the EO along with like-minded preventive laws be abolished.
It would be a funny twist of fate, if the opposition were to form government and the same preventive laws were applied against their former opponents. Surely at that time, they would regret not having abolished them earlier when they could.


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