Suhakam chief: We will continue advising govt on human rights matters including ICERD

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail speaks to reporters during the press conference at Suhakam's International Human Rights Day celebration in Petaling Jaya on December 9, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail speaks to reporters during the press conference at Suhakam's International Human Rights Day celebration in Petaling Jaya on December 9, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PETALING JAYA, Dec 9 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will continue to advise the government on all matters concerning human rights issues, including matter pertaining to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Its chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said though the commission is disappointed over Putrajaya’s U-turn on the decision, he said it will remain committed to push forward the remaining six out if nine international human rights treaties.

Malaysia has ratified three human rights treaties — Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as well as to two of the three optional protocols under the CRC.

“The role of the commission is that we are mandated to advice the government.

“We will continue to advise the need to fight for a Malaysia that believes in nondiscrimination,” he told reporters at the Suhakam Human Rights Day celebration held in Padang Timur, here, today.

When asked on the cooperation working with the current and former Barisan Nasional administration, Razali said it was difficult to work with the former government, which he claimed had only used the commission as an ornament to show to the world.

“Of course we had problems working with the previous government. As an example, hardly any minister was willing to actually talk to us it was so difficult.

“So how can you represent the aspirations and the need to improve the quality of the people when you can’t even see us. They used us only as an ornament to tell the world that ‘yes, we have a human rights commission’,” he said.

In comparison to the Pakatan Harapan government, Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph, who was present at the present conference, added that the commission has to date met with eight ministers and the Attorney General.

“And next week we are meeting another minister.

“That’s a very record of their openness and willingness of wanting to work with us in just six months,” he said.

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