KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — The constitutional guarantee to equality is far from adequate in affording protection to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here, said activists and rights groups.
The groups said this after viewing a Malaysian government representative’s response on the topic at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review’s third session in Geneva, Switzerland.
The session was live streamed in an event jointly organised by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (Comango).
Following the session’s end, the activists and NGO representatives criticised the Malaysian delegation’s responses to LGBT issues as weak.
Justice for Sisters researcher Thilaga Sulathireh said the government was sidestepping the topic of discrimination by simply citing Article 8(2) of the Constitution that prohibits discrimination against on the grounds of race, religion and birth.
“Clearly, the response did not answer it, and it sort of stopped abruptly.
“We have seen all kinds of violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals, such as the murder of two transwomen last week,” she said.
Comango member Dec Lan said the government must be pushed to accept more of the recommendations made by the other nation-state delegates in this session, with regards to the LGBT community.
“Many of the recommendations are sound, and the country would benefit from seeing it carried through,” he said.
Challenger Malaysia secretary-general Jean Vaneisha said it made no sense for the government to claim there was no discrimination towards the LGBT.
“Currently, we do not have anything (legislation) to stop this from happening.
“Thus, the claim of non-discrimination contradicts the recommendations made to them and basically denies it happens,” she said.
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor communications manager Mastura M. Rashid said she believes human rights are for everyone, and not just a select few.
“What the government is doing now is picking and choosing (which rights to uphold). Well, what about the rights of the migrant workers, alongside the LGBT community, for example?
“I am also a member of Comango, and we represent 52 NGOs who are urging the government to apply human rights to all and sundry,” she said.