KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Coalition of local human rights groups Comango has urged the police and the Home Ministry to stop all forms of intimation against human rights defenders, after activist Numan Afifi was called in for questioning next week.
The coalition insisted that any investigation against Numan for reading a statement during a United Nations meet would be “baseless” and akin to intimidation by the authorities, even as the police have not announced any official probe or charge.
“The baseless investigation against Numan Afifi marks a new low in terms of state reprisal against human rights defenders in Malaysia.
“Comango condemns any act of inquiring into human rights defenders activities within and outside the country without reasonable cause,” it said in a statement.
The coalition said Malaysia has committed to a United Nations declaration recognising the right and responsibility of human rights defenders.
“We would like to remind the government to honour their promises to develop ‘efforts to guarantee the freedoms and safety of human rights defenders’ made when partially accepting the UPR recommendation from Uruguay and implement it in Malaysia,’’ added the organisation.
UPR refers to the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review on human rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Malaysia’s UPR session was in November.
I heard abt this from our friends this morning. Am very concern. Pls update us. https://t.co/aH7COatFJA— Saifuddin Abdullah 🇲🇾 (@saifuddinabd) April 16, 2019
Comango representative Honey Tan had earlier today complained on Twitter that human rights defenders may be facing reprisals for engaging in the UPR, pointing at Numan’s situation
In response, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said he is concerned about the so-called reprisal and has requested to be updated over the matter.
Numan was summoned for questioning by Bukit Aman this morning, in connection to a civil society organisation intervention at Malaysia’s UPR Report Considerations at the 40th Human Rights Council in Geneva last month.
Numan had read a statement made by a coalition of Malaysian groups working on gender identity and sexual orientation issues that falls under the umbrella of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
He had among others, brought up the discrimination and prejudice faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the country.
Ten local groups had made their presentations during the same event in Geneva.
The Malaysian delegate had insisted during the UPR in November that there was no discrimination against the LGBT, and Putrajaya “upholds the rights and dignity of all persons in Malaysia in accordance to the law”.