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Malaysia: ANNI Open letter to SUHAKAM welcoming the findings of the public inquiry into the disappearances of Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh

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H.E. Tan Sri Razali bin Ismail
Chairman of Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
11th Floor, Menara TH Perdana, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur 50250

18 April 2019

Re: ANNI Open Letter welcoming the findings of the public inquiry into the disappearances of Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh

Dear Mr. Chairman,

The Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) expresses its deep appreciation to Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM) in its undertaking of a public inquiry into the disappearances of Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh. We welcome SUHAKAM’s findings from this landmark inquiry and applaud the Commission’s efforts in holding the Malaysian Government accountable to their human rights obligations.

We are aware of how the Government is showing contempt to the findings. It is very worrying to see the Prime Minister  dismissing the findings on the basis of hearsay and later on saying that it will only open an investigation on these disappearances once the next Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has been appointed .[1] Enforced disappearance is a heinous crime and should be addressed urgently by the Government and yet they have only given an indifferent response to such a serious matter.

The acting deputy IGP has given a response on how the findings have negatively impacted the police force, and relieving himself of any accountability because he was not in position when the incidents took place.[2]  The former IGP, Khalid Abu Bakar, has supported the hearsay claim and has even threatened to sue the Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearances (CAGED), in which ANNI member, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), holds the Secretariat for.[3] These statements are appalling because they reflect how the Government has tried to skirt responsibility rather than taking the necessary to steps to ensure that the truth behind the abduction is revealed.

As we have expressed in our interface meeting last February, ANNI recognises and appreciates the efforts made by SUHAKAM in implementing its mandates, especially on the protection of human rights. The Commission is highly respected among NHRIs and the international community for the exemplary work it has shown and the high commitment to uphold human rights standards. Although it is now on the Government to take the next steps, we strongly hope SUHAKAM will monitor the implementation of the recommendations and release reports on other cases of disappearances, including the case of Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu.[4]

ANNI stands in solidarity with SUHAKAM and remains committed to continue our engagement with the Commission in its work on the promotion and protection of human rights in Malaysia.

Yours Sincerely,

John Samuel

Executive Director
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
ANNI Secretariat