Zero tolerance for sexual harassment — CSO Platform for Reform

JULY 10 — We, the undersigned civil society organisations (CSOs), are highly concerned with allegations of sexual harassment involving a senior officer at the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) that have been made public in recent days.

We reiterate the call by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) for these allegations to be taken seriously and for an independent investigation to be initiated by IRF to probe these allegations and take necessary action against the alleged perpetrator if found guilty.

The findings from said investigation, on the other hand, should be made public by IRF in the interest of transparency and due process. Confidentiality should also be maintained, and the alleged survivor be provided the necessary support as well as be protected from any form of intimidation or retaliation.

As CSOs guided by principles of non-discrimination and accountability, we should ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful work environment that is free of sexual harassment or any other forms of violence.

As such, it is expected that organisations deal with any alleged sexual harassment expeditiously and fairly when there is knowledge of such misconduct within their organisation, regardless whether or not there has been a written or formal complaint.

Further, organisations must take all appropriate measures to prevent retaliation or prohibit such conduct from recurring post-investigation.

It could be imputed that organisations which knowingly allow or tolerate sexual harassment, including by failing to take immediate action, are, in fact, condoning or deemed complicit in allowing the perpetuation of this culture of harassment and violence.

This is a watershed moment for us to transform organisational culture, take a stand in solidarity, provide the necessary platform for all those who do come forward and break the silence so that perpetrators are held to account.

We, the undersigned organisations, hereby affirm zero tolerance of sexual harassment at the workplace and pledge to ensure that we have an effective sexual harassment policy in place, and relatedly commit towards creating a safe and conducive working environment for all in our respective organisations and within the larger movement.

On this note, we also reaffirm the call for the urgent tabling of the Sexual Harassment Bill in Parliament, no later than this year, to ensure that there is an enabling mechanism for prevention, effective response, redress and remedies.

Issued by the CSO Platform for Reform and endorsed by:

  1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
  2. Pusat Komas
  3. Agora Society Malaysia
  4. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
  5. Beyond Borders Malaysia
  6. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  7. Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Centre)
  8. Community Women and Workers Network (CWWN)
  9. EMPOWER Malaysia
  10. ENGAGE
  11. Freedom Film Network (FFN)
  12. IMAN Research
  13. Justice for Sisters
  14. Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Sokongan Hospital Kerajaan
  15. KRYSS Network
  16. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
  17. KLSCAH Women Section
  18. North South Initiative (NSI)
  19. Our Journey
  20. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
  21. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
  22. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara
  23. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL (Prihatin)
  24. Persatuan Penduduk Galing Besar Kuantan
  25. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham)
  26. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
  27. Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan
  28. PROS Sabah
  29. Society for Equality, Respect And Trust for All Sabah (Serata)
  30. Speak Up Malaysia
  31. Student Unity Front UKM
  32. The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0)
  33. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

* CSO Platform for Reform is a coalition of 70 CSOs focusing on reforms for Malaysia Baru.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer(s) or organisation(s) and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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