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Home Ministry ban signals crackdown on civil society, say Comango reps (The Malay Mail Online)

My comment on the Home Ministry’s press statement outlawing COMANGO:

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung reiterated Suriani’s argument, stressing that Comango was merely abiding by the guidelines set by the UN, and that it need not be registered for it to present a report.

“If we submit a report under a coalition, the said report can be longer and more comprehensive, which is why we did so.

“I think ordinary Malaysians are not so blind, they can tell what the government is trying to do here, in trying to assert their own version of explanations, especially in light of most recent events,” Yu Ren spoke to the Malay Mail Online via a telephone interview.

Read the full article published in The Malay Mail Online on 9 February 2014.

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Do NGO recommendations matter? (UPR Trax)

My quote chosen as “quote of the month” in UPR Trax, a newsletter produced by UPR-Info, an NGO based in Geneva:

[It] seems like the pre-sessions have become an integral part of the UPR process
Mr. Ren Chung Yu, representative of COMANGO coalition in Malaysia, participant to UPR Info’s pre-session on Malaysia on 2 September 2013.

UPR Info organises the pre-sessions that I praised 😛 . But yes in all seriousness, the pre-session was extremely useful.

Read the full UPR Trax newsletter published on 12 September 2013.

Government and civil society: a complimentary relationship (inRoads)

This article was published in inRoads, Women’s Aid Organisation’s quarterly newsletter.

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Participants of the Dutch Visitors Programme, March 2013.

At the end of March this year, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the government of the Netherlands to participate in the Dutch Visitors Programme. Along with seven young women and men from other countries, I spent ten remarkable days in the Netherlands learning about international law and peace, human rights, and Dutch society, history, and culture.

As a soft diplomacy initiative, the programme was undoubtedly a success. An evaluation exercise asked participants to rate their emotional attachment to the Netherlands on a scale of 1 to 10, before and after the programme, where a higher number corresponds to higher emotional attachment. The average rating shifted from around 3 to around 7.

One reason for this positive shift, for me at least, was Continue reading