Malaysia has won one of the 18 seats in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2022 to 2024 term.
The announcement was made through Facebook by the Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Thursday (14 October), where he said that Malaysia is ready to play an active role in the council, being the facilitator for conciliation, the enabler for cooperation, and builder of consensus.
Meanwhile, Ismail said that Malaysia will work closely with the UN member states to “advance the global human rights agenda”, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“As our nations lay the groundwork for a sustained and inclusive recovery post #COVID19, human rights must be kept at the center of all our efforts. In unity, for humanity.” he said in the Facebook post.
Despite this achievement, there were many who stood up to say that Malaysia’s human rights track record hasn’t been that great too.
Previous reports have pointed out that Malaysia has a few things which we are lacking in the human rights department such as not complying with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to The Vibes, Klang Member of Parliament, Charles Santiago said that the Malaysian government should not see this appointment as a reward for good conduct, but as an opportunity to work on the country’s “unacceptable human rights record”.
He added that the Prime Minister should conduct reforms to the country and to matters such as the freedom of expression, rights to free speech and peaceful assembly which have deteriorated since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also said that Malaysia has yet to ban child marriages and we are still seeing custodial deaths. In addition, Malaysia has not do away with death penalty and is still criminalising homosexuality.
On the other hand, a human rights group, the Society for Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) has urged the Malaysian government to fulfill all the pledges it has made on human rights after winning a seat on the council.
Proham also urge the government to reflect on the human rights situation in the country and to avoid using human rights as a tool for national interest.
“For instance, Malaysia continues to be far behind in its commitment to the international human rights treaties, and we are among the lowest in signing them.
“Thus far, Malaysia has only signed the Convention monitored by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).” Proham was quoted saying by Malay Mail.
Proham added that Malaysia has also ignored the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) despite spending money on producing related documents.
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