Putrajaya pledges annual meet with NGOs, half-yearly review of UPR recommendations

Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim is seen during a livecast of Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva November 8, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim is seen during a livecast of Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva November 8, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 8 — The Malaysian delegate to Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has pledged three new steps to promote and protect human rights, including a yearly meeting with civil society to review its track record.

In addition, Putrajaya also promised to hold a half-yearly review of its progress in the recommendations made in the UPR.

“Moving forward, we will keep this UPR process continuously under our close scrutiny by increasing the regularity of our internal monitoring and reporting mechanisms,” Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Even though a state is under review once every five years or so, it should not mean that the resultant processes should happen just as frequently. Accordingly, Malaysia will now conduct half-yearly reviews to keep track of the progress on implementation of UPR recommendations.”

Ramlan said the first meeting with NGOs is expected to happen as soon as the delegates return home, where all parties will go through the recommendations and review the best way to accept and implement them.

“Thirdly, we will institutionalise collaboration and engagement with our national human rights institution and our civil society stakeholders, towards achieving a more effective UPR process,” he added.

Held every four-and-a-half years, the UPR is a UNHRC mechanism that was established in 2007 to improve the treatment of human rights in all 193 UN member states.

The process involves a three-hour interactive dialogue, where UNHRC members will question Malaysia based on reports prepared by the government, UN agencies and stakeholders.

The Malaysian delegation includes representatives from several ministries, the Attorney General’s Chambers, Jakim, the Orang Asli Development Department and the Sarawak state government.

The three countries serving as rapporteurs for Malaysia’s review are South Africa, Nepal, and Cuba.

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