Audio

Reviewing Human Rights in Malaysia (BFM 89.9)

Suri Kempe from Sisters In Islam (SIS) and I shared our thoughts on Malaysia’s human rights situation, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and COMANGO, with Lee Chwi Lynn on BFM’s The Bigger Picture.

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Prelude by BFM:

All member states of the United Nations are subjected to a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) every four and a half years by the Human Rights Council to gauge the extent to which the state under review is fulfilling its obligations to promote, protect and fulfil the rights of people who live in that country. Malaysia was first reviewed in 2009, and was reviewed again on 24th October for the second time.

As part of the review process, the UN would take into account the report submitted by the Malaysian government, various reports compiled by UN agencies, as well as a third report summarizing various stakeholders’ positions. One of those stakeholders is the coalition of Malaysian NGOs, or COMANGO, who is advocating for a more progressive agenda with an emphasis on equality. Another stakeholder is the coalition of Muslim NGOs, or MuslimUPro, who champions a more conservative agenda, which stress upon Malaysia’s unique circumstance as a multi-ethnic and multi-faith country.

Here to articulate COMANGO’s stance is Yu Ren Chung, advocacy officer of Women’s Aid Organization (WAO), and Suri Kempe, programme manager of Sisters in Islam (SIS).

Interview aired on BFM 89.9 on 25 October 2013.

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As peer review nears, NGOs hopeful Putrajaya will meet rights pledges (The Malay Mail Online)

My comment on Malaysian human rights NGOs hopes for the Malaysian government’s review under the Universal Periodic Review process:

Two Comango members who stayed back in Malaysia told The Malay Mail Online in an interview this week that an important issue addressed in the report is the politicisation of religion.

“The reason why this is such a big issue, is it affects many issues. It affects women’s rights, children’s rights, freedom of religion, minority rights, et cetera,” said Yu Ren Chung, advocacy officer for Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

“If anything, we’re challenging the stranglehold the government has on religion,” Yu added, refuting claims from some Muslim NGOs ― which have banded under the name MuslimUPRo ― that Comango is trying to challenge the position of Islam in the nation.

Read the full article published in The Malay Mail Online on 24 October 2013.

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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.

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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.