COMANGO’s siege mentality
October 24, 2013 By Azril Mohd Amin in Uncategorized Tags: COMANGO, freedom of expression, Geneva, human rights, Ijma, International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, Islam, LGBT, Malaysia, Muslim, polytheistic religions, UDHR, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Universal Periodic Review, UPR 1 Comment
It is now less than 8 hours before Malaysia goes under review of her human rights record in the UPR process at the Human Rights Council, Geneva.
I have read an article by Honey Tan of COMANGO’s secretariat (here’s the full link) and, as has happened before, was initially impressed with her commendable writing skills. Then, as has also happened before, I watched her unravel a bit as she descended into ‘emotional’ remarks.
But what is more interesting in the said article is when Honey Tan started smearing Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Malaysia and MuslimUPRo, which are now lobbying against COMANGO’s unreasonable demands in their report to the UPR process.
Honey Tan has failed to respond to our specific assertions on their demands which clearly undermine the special place of Islam – Article 3(1) in the Federal Constitution, and promoting LGBT rights. Among others, they are ‘recommending’ that Malaysia signs the ICCPR (of which in Article 18 and read with Article 18 the UDHR allows for absolute freedom of religion including the act of apostasy) and their call for Malaysia to abolish section 377A of the Penal Code to do away with the henious act of sodomy, and ultimately, allow for same-sex marriage in our country.
All Malaysians have witnessed it before: Honey Tan, COMANGO and other self-proclaimed Malaysian ‘human rights’ champions have faltered under pressure at times about what is actually “true”. It seems clear they are annoyed with the MuslimUPRo-led initiatives she refers to, which are seeking to defend the special place of Islam in the Federal Constitution and protect the morality of our people — through lobbying to convince public opinion and the media, naturally.
She is now, it seems to me, diverting from the real issues by accusing us of not having read COMANGO’s report and questioning our credibility. But at the same time they are being childish by complaining to the OHCHR in Geneva. Quote: “The representatives from the OHCHR told us how human rights defenders may avail ourselves of the various UN mechanisms especially on matters of reprisals against us in our engagement with the UN processes.” I ask COMANGO do they now suffer from a siege mentality? If we are not a force to be reckoned with then why must they fear us and complaint to the OHCHR? And it seems that COMANGO has placed a higher value on loyalty to the OHCHR than to our King and the country.
But honestly, where are COMANGO’s response to our specific concerns?
I reproduce below MuslimUPRo’s specific concerns in the COMANGO’s report. They have yet to give Malaysians sufficient explanation why they are making those unreasonable claims. I repeat, these are not our allegations but are found in their own report which form the bulk of the demands contained in the documents used as a point of reference for Malaysia’s human rights review in the UPR process:
i. Paragraph 1: Malaysia is pressured to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR). One example of the harmful elements contained in the ICCPR can be found in Article 18, on the rights of religious freedom. Please see the following comment: “The Committee observes that the freedom to ” have or to adopt ” a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views , as well as the right to retain one ‘s religion or belief …”. The full commentary can be viewed here. The implications of acceptance on the ICCPR will allow for rampant apostasy.
ii. Paragraph 6.8 relates to claims for Malaysia to sign and ratify on International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), with recommendations to “…provide the institutional legal framework for adopting international obligations into domestic laws”. Compliance with ICERD will only result in Malaysia following the lead of the Western secular views, thus dictating a redefinition on the term of “racism” to apply to Malaysia. This overrules domestic actions which take into account the realities and historical background as well as local religious and socio-cultural aspects. As such, this should be deemed or labelled negatively and stereotyped by the press or media as merely malicious agenda toward a nation.
iii. Malaysia is pressured to recognize SOGI-based (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity) rights, namely the rights of LGBTIQ (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered, inter-sexed and queer persons). The claims of this group allegedly being denied their rights are raised in paragraphs 6.1.1 and 6.1.2 of the report respectively. There are also pressures to abolish section 377A of the Penal Code (sodomy).
iv. Malaysia is also forced to submit to the contents of the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles which gives absolute freedom to those who practice unnatural or deviant sexual practices. If these LGBT rights are permitted, then the first step that must be taken by the Malaysian Government is to abolish legislation on sodomy. This will pave the way for introduction of legalizing same-sex marriages, which so far has been allowed in 14 countries around the world. Neighbouring Thailand is currently considering introducing similar legislation.
v. Paragraph 6.2 claims that Article 153 of the Constitution in respect to the privileges of the Malays as being racist in nature and termed as a ‘political tool’. This notion is in contravention of the social contract as well as the main features that make up the Federal Constitution.
vi. Paragraph 9 questions the enactments of Shariah Criminal Offences, particularly paragraph 9.5 which urges the repeal or amendment of the Shariah criminal offenses and enactments that are allegedly claimed as denying the rights to privacy.
vii. Paragraph 10 creates confusion on issues of religious freedom in Malaysia. This include the case on the use of the term “Allah” by Christians, which has yet to be decided by the Malaysian highest court. The report also questioned the ban on Shiite followers and their spreading of teachings among Muslims. Additionally, the rights of a Muslim father to convert his underage children to Islam have also been made into a human rights issue.
I believe many Malaysians can see that COMANGO figures are trotting out the ‘Oh, those people have not read our report, they don’t know human rights, they are saying things which are different to what we’re saying … they have extreme and backward views on human rights…!’ tactic a bit lately.
COMANGO & friends looked and sounded a little ‘off’ to me (early winter syndrome perhaps?) Have a look at their own report for yourself, and please let us know what your thoughts are.
And please make dua for Malaysia in the UPR process. May Allah SWT grant us success, Allahuma aamiin.
Senarai 54 NGO COMANGO
54 badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) yang bergabung di bawah COMANGO (Gabungan NGO Malaysia di dalam Proses UPR) adalah seperti berikut :
1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM),
2. Christian Federation Malaysia (CFM)
3. Pusat Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER),
4. The Malaysian Bar Council
5. Seksualiti Merdeka,
6. Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media (SEACem),
7. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ),
8. Education and Research Association for Consumers, Malaysia (ERA
9. All Petaling Jaya, Selangor Residents‟ Asscociation (APAC),
10. All Women‟s Action Society (AWAM),
11. Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM),
12. ASEAN Institute for Early Childhood Development, Association of Women‟s Lawyers (AWL),
13. Association of Women with Disabilities Malaysia, Coalition to Abolish Modern Day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA),
14. Childline Malaysia,
15. Community Action Network (CAN),
16. Centre for Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Sarawak (CRIPS),
17. Dignity International,
18. Foreign Spouses Support Group,
19. Good Shepherd Welfare Centre,
20. Health Equity Initiatives,
21. Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM),
22. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT),
23. Justice For Sisters,
24. Pusat Komunikasi Selangor (KOMAS),
25. Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS),
26. KLSCAH Civil Rights Committee,
27. Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP),
28. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET),
29. Malaysian Child Resource Institute (MCRI),
30. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility,
31. Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement (DEMA),
32. Migration Working Group (MWG),
34. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur (PERMAS),
35. PS The Children,
36. PT Foundation,
37. People‟s Service Organisation (PSO),
38. Perak Women for Women Society,
39. Persatuan Guru-Guru Tadika Semenanjung Malaysia (PGGT),
40. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur,
41. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor,
42. Rainbow Genders Society,
43. Sabah Women‟s Action-Resource Group (SAWO),
44. Sinui Pai Nanek Sengik (SPNS),
45. SIS Forum (Malaysia) Bhd (SIS),
47. Voice of the Children (VOC),
48. Writers‟ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI),
49. Women‟s Aid Organisation (WAO),
50. Women‟s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC),
51. Yayasan Chow Kit,
52. Young Buddhist Association,
53. Youth Section, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Youth Section
54. Child Right Coalition Malaysia (CRCM).
Daripada 54 NGO itu, suara paling dominan adalah dari kumpulan LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Biseksual, Transgender) yang bernaung di bawah SOGI (Coalition of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity).
Menurut laman wao.org.my NGO-NGO yang bernaung di bawah SOGI seperti Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS), Seksualiti Merdeka, Justice for Sisters dan PT Foundation menuntut hak kebebasan berpesatuan, berhimpun dan menyuarakan pendapat.
Dominasi kumpulan LGBT dalam COMANGO kerana mendapat sokongan padu daripada kesemua NGO-NGO hak asasi terutamanya, SUARAM, EMPOWER dan Bar Council Malaysia.
Selain itu, terdapat juga kumpulan feminisme (hak-hak wanita), agama, media, orang asli, migrasi dan kanak-kanak yang kesemuanya berkaitan dengan hak asasi.
Banyak juga NGO yang disenaraikan di atas menjalankan operasi secara haram dan tidak berdaftar dengan ROS (Pejabat Pendaftar Pertubuhan), misalnya SUARAM, DEMA dan Seksualiti Merdeka.
Namun, majoriti NGO COMANGO itu adalah NGO yang sama yang menggerakkan BERSIH pimpinan bekas Presiden Bar Council Malaysia, Datuk S Ambiga dan Pengarah Eksekutif EMPOWER, Maria Chin Abdullah.
NGO-NGO itu antaranya adalah SUARAM, CIJ (Centre for Independent Journalism) dan Seacem (Southeast Asia Centre for E-Media) yang merupakan antara tulang belakang NGO COMANGO tersebut.