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Religious issues may feature in UN review (The Sun Daily)

My comment in an article about issues that may arise at the Malaysian government’s review under the Universal Periodic Review process:

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung, meanwhile, said the government has a long way to go on gender equality matters, but noted that some progress has been made in terms of human rights.

The improvements include the amendment last year to the Domestic Violence Act “which is seen quite positively”.

Yu however noted that enforcement on the ground has been poor.

Read the full article published in The Sun Daily on 8 October 2013.

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Malaysia must take Cedaw seriously (The Malay Mail)

My (somewhat poorly reported) comment on the Malaysian government’s obligation to submit its CEDAW report:

“Malaysia as a member of Cedaw has an obligation to submit a report to it once every four years,” said Yu Ren Chung, advocacy officer of Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

Yu said Malaysia was supposed to have sent five reports but to date, they have only submitted one.

Cedaw is part of the United Nation’s agreement that is known as the International Bill for women’s rights.

Malaysia has been a member of Cedaw since 1995 and had submitted an initial report in 2006.

“The women NGOs under JAG have written an alternative report for the Cedaw in 2011 because the government report was not submitted properly,” added Yu.

Clarification: Malaysia is a state party to (not member of) CEDAW. The government’s 3rd and 4th combined CEDAW report was not submitted on time.

Read the full article published in The Malay Mail on 6 February 2013.

Doomed from the start – the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (LoyarBurok)

This article was published in Loyarburok.

Doomed from the start

Doomed from the start – the AHRD | Badly drawn by Yu Ren Chung. Original picture from http://jvsc.jst.go.jp/find/sports_e/s02_sld/d2_mech/m40_tx.htm

Last week, Prime Minister Najib Razak and other ASEAN leaders signed a document called the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, or more fondly, the “AHRD”. In the ensuing days, much was said about the AHRD. ASEAN and governments praised it, the United Nations expressed caution, and civil society condemned it.

Many are disappointed with the Declaration, as am I. But honestly, were our expectations that high to begin with?

The AHRD was doomed from the start – doomed by poor and varied human rights standards among ASEAN countries coupled with a consensus style decision-making process, ASEAN’s compulsive focus on sovereignty and non-interference, a non-independent human rights commission, and a secretive and non-inclusive drafting process. Continue reading