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Malaysia – Allow anti-ISA rally, repeal the Internal Security Act!

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anti-isa.jpgFORUM-ASIA called on the Malaysian
government to respect the right to freedom of assembly and allow the mass
rally against the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), scheduled
in Kuala Lumpur on 1 August by the Abolish ISA Movement.

anti-isa.jpg(Bangkok, 30 July 2009) The Asian Forum
for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) called on the Malaysian
government to respect the right to freedom of assembly and allow the mass
rally against the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), scheduled
in Kuala Lumpur on 1 August by the Abolish ISA Movement.

The rally aimed to gather 100,000
supporters from non-governmental organisations,
political parties, student bodies, women's organisations and human rights
movements to push their "ultimate call" to revoke the
repressive ISA, release those held under the ISA and close down the Kamunting
detention camp where people are detained the act. The Abolish ISA Movement is a
coalition of 83 civil society organisations, trade unions and political parties
that campaigned for the abolition of the ISA.

On 15 April, Najib Razak, who was
appointed as the new Prime Minister after the worst election result for the
ruling parties in history, expressed that his government will review the ISA,
the draconian legislation left from the British colonial legacy that provides
for indefinite detention without trial. Civil society, however, has been
calling for the complete abolition, not its review.

"The ISA is in direct
contravention with basic principles of human rights such as the right to trial.
Thousands are languished in jail without a trial. Such law should not be tolerated,
especially since Malaysia is also a member of the United Nations Human Rights
Council.  The ISA should be abolished altogether", said Yuyun
Wahyuningrum, East Asia Program Manager of FORUM-ASIA.  

FORUM-ASIA is also alarmed that the Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah
(Pewaris), an ultra right wing group closely associated to the ruling parties, may
disrupt the rally violently by a counter-rally on the same day at the same venue.

FORUM-ASIA called on the police to be
impartial and professional in ensuring safe environment, to facilitate the
exercising of the right to peaceful assembly to the Abolish ISA Movement. The
Pewaris should not be allowed to undermine the right to freedom of assembly by violence. 

The organisation urged the Malaysian
Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to play its role in monitoring the police
conduct with the planned public assemblies.

called on the Malaysian government to take necessary steps to repeal the
law to respect fundamental rights and freedoms. The organisation also urged the goverment to release all the individuals detained under ISA in the absence of valid
legal charges, which are consistent with international legal standards. If such charges exist, the organisation stressed, they should be brought before an impartial and
competent tribunal and their procedural rights must be guaranteed at all times.

FORUM-ASIA is regional human
rights organization with 46 members across Asia.

For inquiry, please contact:

  • Ms.
    Yuyun Wahyumingrum, East Asia Program Manager of the Asian Forum for Human
    Rights and development (FORUM-ASIA) at +66879914451, or at [email protected]
  • Mr.
    Bunthea Keo, East Asia Program Officer, FORUM-ASIA, at +66844501159, or at
    [email protected]