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HRC29 Side Event: Malaysia – Freedoms Under Siege, 15 June 2015

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II Flyer Malaysia Side Event HRC29-763x1080Malaysia has been ruled by one political party, the National Front coalition, for 58 consecutive years. A steely determination by the ruling elite to hold onto power at all costs has seen Malaysia plagued by issues of authoritarian rule, spiraling corruption, poor governance, race politics and worsening human rights violations. In May 2013, Malaysia’s 13th general election took place amidst unprecedented calls for urgent electoral reform as well as clean and fair elections. In the elections the opposition People’s Coalition took 52% of the popular vote but fell short of a majority in the number of seats it won. It was the first time in the country’s electoral history that the ruling party had been so significantly challenged. Following elections, the government has resorted to iron grip tactics apparently to retain power. This has resulted in a systematic and wide spread crackdown on freedoms of expression and assembly through the colonial-era Sedition Act 1948 and the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

Those targeted include student activists, academics, journalists, cartoonists, bloggers, human rights defenders and opposition activists. The crackdown has escalated further in recent months following the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on what is widely believed to be politically motivated charges of sodomy. A number of activists have been arrested, interrogated and charged for comments / tweets made in the relation to the case and for questioning the independence of the judiciary.

This side event will bring together prominent human rights activists who will share their personal testimonies. There will be an interactive dialogue where we hope to discuss solutions to the current problem aimed at protecting and upholding human rights in Malaysia, with a specific focus on freedom of expression and assembly.



  • Adam Adli, Student activist currently facing imprisonment under the Sedition Act for expressing dissent
  • Wong Kar Fai, EMPOWER
  • Nurul Nuha Anwar, Daughter of imprisoned Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim (via video conference)

To be confirmed:

  • David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression
  • Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association


  • John Liu, FORUM-ASIA


Click here to download the flyer of the side event