Thursday, November 24, 2016

MADPET and 79 Groups - Free Human Rights Defender Maria Chin, Abolish SOSMA!


Free Maria Chin, Abolish SOSMA!

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, strongly condemn the detention of the chairperson of Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, on 18 November 2016 for 28 days under the new Internal Security Act (ISA) – the draconian Security Offence (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA). 

Total participation was 60k - 100k, At a single time 40k

We reiterate that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of the people are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. The Bersih 5 rally had been very peaceful and conducted without any untoward incidents despite repeated violence and provocation from the red shirts before the rally. The act of the police in arresting leaders of civil society movements and opposition parties before they could exercise their constitutional rights is not only mala-fide, but also a blatant abuse of powers in violation of the Federal Constitution. 

We are further outraged with the use of the draconian SOSMA against Maria Chin Adullah. When SOSMA was legislated in 2012 to replace the infamous ISA which was abolished after widespread opposition from the people, the government assured the public that the new legislation that gave extensive powers to the police would only be used against terrorists and that “no person shall be arrested and detained for his or her political beliefs and activities.” Those members of parliament that ignored the criticism of the civil society and passed the law should now be held accountable. 


Clearly, Maria Chin Abdullah is no terrorist. The use of SOSMA against Maria Chin Abdullah to stop her from leading the Bersih 5 rally, and previously against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang to stop them from lodging complaints of corruption in 1MDB overseas, have proven that when such a powerful legislation is given to the government, it will not hesitate to use it to cover-up the abuse of powers and corruption in the government. 

We reiterate our concerns that the prolonged 28 days of detention under the SOSMA with limited access to legal representation and family is a blatant violation of international human rights laws. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that no one should be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention and that anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released.

The 28 days of prolonged detention without judicial oversights such as disallowing the detainees to have access to lawyers and family members will only facilitate the practice of torture, either mental or physical or both. 

We condemn the use of a secret detention place by the police in detaining Maria Chin. The use of secret detention center is totally unacceptable in a civilized society. All detention centers must be made public and subject to public scrutiny to ensure that they are operated in accordance to the law and the rights of the detainees. 

We are therefore extremely concerned with the mental and physical wellbeing of Maria Chin Abdullah who is being held in solitary confinement in a cell with no windows and where the lights are kept on for 24 hours. Such detention environment is inhumane and constitutes a form of torture under international human rights laws. 

We demand the release of Maria Chin Abdullah immediately and unconditionally. 

We demand that Maria Chin Abdullah have unlimited access to lawyers and her family members whilst she is still under detention

We demand that the authorities preserve and ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of Maria Chin Abdullah while in detention and that she is accorded prompt medical treatment when required.

We call on the National Human Rights Commission to visit Maria Chin Abdullah regularly at the secret detention place to ensure her rights and wellbeing.

We call upon the Inspector General of Police to be more professional and transparent to uphold the law and demand the government to abolish the draconian SOSMA.

Endorsers:
1.      Akademi Belia
2.      All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
3.      Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
4.      Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
5.      Article 19, London, United Kingdom
6.      Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) 
7.      Baramkini
8.      Bersih Sibu
9.      Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
10.  The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4)
11.  Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM)
12.  ENGAGE
13.  G25
14.  Greenfriends Sabah
15.  Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)
16.  Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
17.  Japan Graduates Association,Malaysia (JAGAM)
18.  Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
19.  Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
20.  Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator
21.  Jihad for Justice
22.  Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)
23.  Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
24.  Kuen Cheng Alumni Association 
25.  Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiswa Independen (KAMI) 
26.  LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
27.  Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture MADPET
28.  Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)
29.  Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)
30.  Malaysian Network of Engaged Buddhists
31.  Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility (MPSR)
32.  Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
33.  Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
34.  Mama Bersih 
35.  Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
36.  National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT)
37.  Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
38.  One Race – Human Race
39.  Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
40.  Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (PACOS Trust)
41.  Pemuda Sosialis 
42.  People Welfare And Rights Organisation (POWER)
43.  Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
44.  Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
45.  Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Bahagian Utara
46.  Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor 
47.  Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia(LiuHua)
48.  Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
49.  Persatuan Masyarakat Sel dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
50.  Persatuan Meditasi Prajna Kuala Lumpur & Selangor 
51.  Persatuan Penganut Buddha Bodhi Kuala Lumpur (PPBBKL)
52.  Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)
53.  Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
54.  Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM)
55.  Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan Dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (SEED)
56.  Projek Dialog
57.  Pusat KOMAS
58.  Raub Ban Cyanide Action Committee (BCAC)
59.  Sabah Women's Action Resource Group (SAWO)
60.  Sahabat Rakyat
61.  Sarawak Access (SACCESS)
62.  Save Open Space, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
63.  Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
64.  The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM)
65.  Student Progressive Front USM
66.  Student Progressive Front UUM
67.  Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED)
68.  Sisters in Islam (SIS)
69.  SUARAM Malaysia
70.  Tenaganita
71.  Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
72.  Tindak Malaysia (TM)
73.  USM Tionghua Language Society
74.  We Are Malaysians
75.  Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
76.  Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
77.  Women Development Organisation of Malaysia PJ branch
78.  Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
79.  Vajrayana Buddhist Council of Malaysia 
80.  Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM)
Inline image 1
From left, Ireza (No. 54 in endorsee list - SEED), Cheng Su Chean (No. 23 - KLSCAH), Nalini (No. 5 - Art 19), Dasan (No. 28 - MIPAS), Ahmad Muziru (No 16 - IRF), Christopher Chong (No 44 - Aliran), Ho Yock Lin (No 2 - AWAM), Noor Farida Ariffin (No 13 - G25), R.S. McCoy (No. 31 - MPSR), and Ryan Chua (No 57 - KOMAS)
Sitting from left, Cynthia Chin (Maria Chin's sister), Zaid Kamaruddin (GBM chair and Deputy President of IKRAM - No 54) and Shahrul Aman (Acting Chair of Bersih 2.0)0

Monday, November 21, 2016

SUHAKAM - Unacceptable use of Sosma against Maria

Unacceptable use of Sosma against Maria — Suhakam

Monday November 21, 2016
03:05 PM GMT+8
NOVEMBER 21 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wishes to underline its opposition to the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), which it has objected to in the past.

Suhakam reiterates that the broad characterisation of “security offences” under Sosma now suggests that its ambit extends beyond terrorism offences.

The application of the Sosma to Maria Chin where she has been detained without charge and without trial in this instance, and her wellbeing and welfare unknown, cannot be accepted by a society that has a national conscience.

The government’s assurance in 2011 promised that “no individual will be arrested merely on the point of political ideology.” In Suhakam’s view, the preventive detention of Maria Chin is a misuse of the law, an abuse of the legal system and of law enforcement.

Suhakam advises the government to interpret in good faith and in accordance with their ordinary meaning, the laws in their context and in the light of their object and purpose.

Suhakam would like to see a situation where the overemphasis by the authorities on restrictions to the right to freedom of assembly is replaced by efforts to facilitate the right.

* Press statement from Tan Sri Razali Ismail, chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) on November 21, 2016.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

- Malay Mail, 21/11/2016

Malaysia: Drop Charges and Release Bersih Organizers and Supporters - Maria Chin Abdullah and ...

Maria was arrested on 18/11/2016 allegedly under

and, thereafter we were informed that SOSMA special procedures/measures will be used, as opposed to the normal Criminal procedure which requires Magistrate's order for further remand beyond 24 hours for the purposes of investigation. Under SOSMA, person can be detained for a period up to 28 days without any need to get a remand order from the Magistrate. See following post for better understanding of SOSMA...SOSMA - not the new ISA and no death penalty...Let's understand SOSMA better?

See below a media statement by several organisations...

 

Malaysia: Drop Charges and Release Bersih Organizers and Supporters

 
(Kuala Lumpur, November 21, 2016)—The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Fortify Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), acting as international observers of the Bersih 5 rallies and related events, are calling on the Malaysian authorities to drop all charges against the Bersih organizers and activists. The authorities should return all items confiscated from the Bersih offices and stop making further arbitrary arrests in connection with these events. We consider these arrests to be violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (or in Malay “Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil”), otherwise known as Bersih (which means “clean” in Malay), is a coalition formed in 2006 by Malaysian non-governmental organisations calling for free, clean, and fair elections. Since its founding, Bersih has organized four previous peaceful assemblies. These public assemblies have attracted support from thousands of Malaysians throughout the country and among Malaysians living abroad.  In the past year, Bersih faced harassment from multiple sources, including the Malaysian Government, which has leveled charges against Bersih and its chair Maria Chin Abdullah for organizing and participating in peaceful activities.

To date, four Bersih organizing committee members and more than 20 pro-Bersih supporters are currently facing a range of criminal charges, including under Section 124(c), 147, 153 and 511 of the Penal Code and the Sedition Act. The arrests were made in the lead up to and after the Bersih 5 rallies that took place on November 19, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur and other locations in Malaysia.

In the afternoon of 18 November 2016, the day before the rally, Malaysian authorities raided the office of Bersih and arrested its chair Maria Chin Abdullah and secretariat manager Mandeep Singh. Members of the international observers’ team witnessed the raid, which took place over several hours and included the confiscation of computers, office equipment, and documents, including financial and payroll records.

Maria Chin Abdullah was arrested and detained on November 18 under the Security Offenses Special Measures Act 2012 (SOSMA). Her lawyer has confirmed that she will be detained for the full 28 days allowed under SOSMA. This is the first case where government authorities used SOSMA against a civil society representative. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment. Maria Chin Abdullah is currently being held in an undisclosed detention center in solitary confinement. She was reportedly denied access to her lawyers and family during the first 48 hours of her detention. Her lawyers later on reported that Maria Chin Abdullah is being kept in a 15 feet by 8 feet windowless cell with no bed, concrete floors, and with two light bulbs kept on for 24 hours a day.

The observers are alarmed at the conditions of detention of Maria Chin Abdullah and the use of SOSMA to detain her. We call on the government of Malaysia to release her immediately. We believe that SOSMA is a law that violates human rights as it allows incommunicado detention for up to 48 hours, and detention without charge or judicial review for up to 28 days. We strongly urge the government of Malaysia to repeal SOSMA or substantially amend it so that it would be in compliance with international law and standards. During debates in Parliament considering passage of SOSMA, the government asserted that the purpose of this law is to protect peoples’ security, however, the authorities are instead using it to prevent the exercise of fundamental human rights, constituting an abuse of law.

At least 14 other pro-Bersih supporters were arrested on the day of the rally and on the days following. Many of those arrested were released after 48 hours but according to Bersih organizers, they expect authorities to undertake more arbitrary arrests in the next few weeks.

Malaysian authorities also arrested six members of the anti-Bersih “red-shirt” and “black shirt” groups. Among those arrested were Jamal Yunos and Ariffin Abu Bakar, leaders of the red shirts and black shirts, respectively. These anti-Bersih groups allegedly threatened and carried out physical assaults and attacks on members of the Bersih organizing committee, pro-Bersih supporters, and journalists in the weeks leading up to the day of the public assembly. While there was concern of potential attacks by these groups during the day of the public assembly, the team of international observers saw little presence of these groups and did not witness any major incidents.

These arrests violate international human rights standards. The Malaysia government should release all those arrested in connection with the Bersih 5 rallies immediately.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, also said in a statement on the arrests prior to the peaceful assembly that they are a “pre-emptive restriction of assembly rights.”

Despite the arbitrary arrests and pattern of harassment committed by the Malaysian authorities against the Bersih organizers, the international team of observers noted the overall peaceful nature of the Bersih 5 gatherings. Tens of thousands of Malaysians gathered at rallying points across Kuala Lumpur on the day of the rally. Several hundred pro-Bersih supporters also gathered in Kuching, Malaysia. The international team of observers noted the vigorous efforts on the part of the organizers of the rally to maintain peace and security throughout the day.

The international team of observers also saw the blockades set up by Malaysian authorities meant to prevent protesters from accessing the designated converging point, Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square). The observers witnessed the deployment of significant numbers of security forces at various locations along the planned route going to Dataran Merdeka. In some areas, authorities set up water cannons aimed at approaching Bersih protesters. The authorities also completely cordoned off access to the Dataran Merdeka.

The observers believe that these blockades posed an unwarranted interference on the participants’ right to peaceful assembly. We remind the Malaysian government that the UN Human Rights Council, in a 2013 resolution, urged States to “facilitate peaceful protests by providing protesters with access to public space and protecting them, where necessary, against any form of threat.” (UN Doc. A/HRC/22/L.10, para. 3, 18 March 2013)

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is protected under international human rights law and standards, including Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. International law permits state authorities to restrict peaceful assemblies only where circumstances make it strictly necessary for limited purposes, and when certain specific conditions are met. The observer mission considers that none of these conditions apply or were present in the case of the Bersih rally.

The observers remind Malaysia of its obligation to protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in accordance with its constitution and international human rights law.  The authorities should ensure future peaceful assemblies take place without undue interference.

We call on Malaysia to drop all charges against Bersih members and supporters and release all those detained immediately. All equipment confiscated as part of the unwarranted raid on Bersih’s office on November 18 should be immediately returned.

Finally, the observes noted and benefitted from sharing observations in the field with monitors from the Malaysian Bar Council, was also on hand to monitor and provide legal assistance if necessary, as well as the four commissioners and staff of the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) who were also monitoring the rallies.

Signed:

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Contact Pimsiri Petchnamrob, East Asia Programme Officer, pimsiri@forum-asia.org

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). Contact Sanam Amin, Programme Officer, +66-95-853-7960, sanam@apwld.org

Fortify Rights. Contact Amy Smith, Executive Director, +601-12-359-7926, amy.smith@FortifyRights.org, Twitter @AmyAlexSmith

Human Rights Watch (HRW). Contact Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director, +66-85- 060-8406, RobertP@hrw.org, Twitter @Reaproy

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). Contact Emerlynne Gil ICJ’s Senior International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, +66-84-092-3575; emerlynne.gil(a)icj.org

Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). Contact Kathryn Raymundo, kathryn@seapa.org
 

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Malaysia delays abolition of death penalty pending further study by AG's Chamber (17/8/2016 Cabinet decision)

Media statement by Members of Parliament from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) on Thursday, November 3, 2016 in the Malaysian Parliament, Kuala Lumpur.

The government is finally committed to amend laws that gives discretionary powers to judges on the imposition of the death penalty and to expedite the implementation of a moratorium on all executions.

The 2017 Budget speech, once again saw Members of Parliament in the House reminding the government on its pledge to abolish the mandatory death penalty by amending the existing laws or to draft a new bill to grant discretionary powers to the courts, as well as on the urgency for a moratorium on all pending executions in the country.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dato Azalina stated that the government is conducting a comprehensive study on the death penalty, which includes taking into account the proposal that judges be given the discretion to impose the death penalty as well to implement a moratorium on all executions pending an amendment to the law.

The scope of the study will not only focus on the abolition of the mandatory death penalty but also the given choice of either the death penalty or life imprisonment. On August 17, 2016 a memorandum on the status and study on the abolition of the death penalty had been brought to the Cabinet and the Cabinet had collective agreed that the Attorney General's Chambers run a thorough study on this matter. After the study is complete, it will be brought back to the Cabinet for further consideration.

Given the age-old retentionist stand by the government on this matter, this move by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department comes as a positive development because after such a long time and through constant pressure from various elected representatives, NGOs and the general public, the government is beginning to give some attention to the abolition of the death penalty and future ligislative amendments.

Pending a review by the Attorney General's Chambers, we as Parliamentarians, urge the federal government to impose a moratorium on all death sentences, as there are no legal provisions that fixes a date on executions from the time the court metes the decision. This is particularly crucial in cases of young offenders or drug mules found guilty under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

According to the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, the proposed moratorium would be brought to the Cabinet as soon as possible and this is a big step in the right direction to preserve humanity, compassion and the rule of law. As a sovereign nation, it is right and just to halt all executions pending an amendment in the law on the death penalty.

The end of 2016 will spell the end of Malaysia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Next, the country intends to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council when all memberships expire by the end of the year.

This should be the best platform for Malaysia to project its sincerity and determination to fix the erosion of human rights as well as to improve the nations reputation as a defender of human rights by making periodic and speedy amendments to laws on the death penalty.

The government is finally committed to amend laws that gives discretionary powers to judges on the imposition of the death penalty and to expedite the implementation of a moratorium on all executions.

M. Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat)
Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong)
Liew Chin Tong (Kluang)
Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor)
Hanipa Maidin (Sepang)
Kasthuri Patto (Batu Kawan)

________________________________________________________________

SPEECH BY MINISTER IN THE PRIME MINISTER'S DEPARTMENT
YB Dato' AZALINA ON 02/11/2016
(translated from Bahasa Malaysia)


The Member of Parliament of Kluang had raised the issue of the mandatory death penalty in which he which he suggested that judges be given the discretion to impose the death penalty. MP Kluang also suggested that a moratorium be implemented to suspend the death penalty until the study on the implementation of the death penalty in this country is complete. MP for Ipoh Barat and MP for Batu Kawan had also touched on the same issue, where questions on the status of the Bill on the abolition of the mandatory death penalty and when it will be tabled in Parliament.


For the information of all MPs, the Government is conducting a comprehensive study on the death penalty, including taking into account the proposal that judges be given discretionary powers to impose the death penalty.


The study would cover all provisions of the death penalty in place in the country and also its on implementation. This is done by taking into account all legal provisions existing in this country and a comparative study with the provisions of the law of another country.


The scope of the study is not only focused on the abolition of the mandatory death penalty but also the choice between the death penalty or life imprisonment.


The decision on the implementation of the death penalty in this country, either be repealed or maintained, is a policy matter to be decided by the government based on the results of the study.


On August 17, 2016 a memorandum was brought to the Cabinet on the studies conducted and the Cabinet decided that the Attorney General's Chambers to conduct a further study on the matter. Therefore, after the study is completed it will be brought back to the Cabinet for further consideration.


For the record, I also chaired a Committee meeting to discuss the implementation of the death penalty in Malaysia on 5 September 2016. The meeting included academics, representatives of the Bar Council, SUHAKAM (National Human Rights Institution) representatives, representatives of NGOs such as Amnesty International, representatives of the opposition and the Attorney General's Chambers as well as government agencies and other related parties. I congratulate the MP for Ipoh Barat who attended this meeting and for providing useful input. He has also long contributed his views on this matter with the former Law Minister Minister Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz who had moved this agenda since some time back. This is what we want, a collaboration between all parties in this matter or any matter for the benefit of the people.


The Prime Minister himself has expressed his concern on this matter, particularly against young offenders or drug mules under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.



JAWAPAN MENTERI DALAM JABATAN PERDANA MENTERI
YB DATO AZALINA PADA 2/11/2016


Yang Berhormat Kluang pula telah membangkitkan mengenai isu hukuman mati mandatori di mana Yang Berhormat Kluang mencadangkan supaya hakim diberi budi bicara untuk menjatuhkan hukuman mati. YB Kluang juga mencadangkan supaya satu moratorium dilaksanakan bagi menangguhkan hukuman mati mandatori sehingga kajian berkenaan perlaksanaan hukuman mati di negara ini selesai. YB Ipoh Barat dan YB Batu Kawan juga telah menyentuh isu yang sama, di mana bertanya mengenai bila Rang Undang-Undang berkenaan pemansuhan hukuman mati mandatori dibentangkan di Parlimen


Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, Kerajaan sedang menjalankan suatu kajian komprehensif berkenaan dengan isu hukuman mati termasuk mengambil kira cadangan supaya hakim diberi budi bicara untuk menjatuhkan hukuman mati.


Kajian merangkumi keseluruhan peruntukan hukuman mati yang dikuatkuasakan di negara ini dan juga pelaksanaannya. Kajian ini dibuat dengan mengambil kira semua peruntukan undang-undang yang sedia ada di negara ini dan kajian perbandingan dengan peruntukan undang-undang daripada negara lain.


Skop kajian tidak hanya tertumpu pada pemansuhan hukuman mati mandatori tetapi juga hukuman mati pilihan iaitu sama ada hukuman mati atau penjara seumur hidup.


Keputusan berhubung pelaksanaan hukuman mati di negara ini, sama ada akan dimansuhkan atau diteruskan, merupakan perkara dasar yang akan diputuskan oleh Kerajaan berdasarkan hasil kajian tersebut.


Untuk makluman lanjut Yang Berhormat juga, pada 17 Ogos 2016 yang lalu, satu Memorandum Jemaah Menteri berhubung status kajian tersebut telah dibawa ke Jemaah Menteri dan diputuskan untuk Jabatan Peguam Negara untuk membuat kajian lebih lanjut berhubung dengan perkara ini. Justeri itu, setelah kajian tersebut selesai ianya akan dibawa semula ke Mesyuarat Jemaah Menteri untuk pertimbangan selanjutnya.


Untuk makluman, saya juga telah mempengerusikan satu Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Bagi Membincangkan Pelaksanaan Hukuman Mati di Malaysia pada 5 September 2016 yang lalu. Mesyuarat tersebut merangkumi ahli-ahli akademik, wakil Majlis Peguam Malaysia, wakil SUHAKAM, wakil NGO seperti Amnesty International, wakil pembangkang dan Jabatan Peguam Negara serta agensi-agensi kerajaan berkaitan yang lain. Tahniah juga kepada YB Ipoh Barat yang telah menghadiri mesyuarat ini serta memberikan input yang bermanfaat. Beliau juga telah lama menyumbang pandangan berkenaan perkara ini bersama Menteri yang menjaga Hal Ehwal Perundangan pada masa itu, iaitu Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz yang telah menggerakan agenda ini sejak masa itu lagi. Ini yang kita mahukan, satu kerjasama antara semua pihak dalam perkara ini atau mana-mana perkara yang melibatkan rakyat.


YAB PM sendiri amat prihatin terhadap perkara ini khususnya terhadap pesalah-pesalah muda atau keldai-keldai dadah yang bawah Seksyen 39B Akta Dadah Berbahaya 1952.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Asean Moves Boldly To End Death Penalty (Bangkok Post, 10/10/2016)

# This was an opinion of Seree Nonthasoot, Thailand's representative to the AICHR, that was published by the Bangkok Post.
To mark World Day Against the Death Penalty today, Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have reason to revisit and recommit efforts to abolishing capital punishment.

Much work remains to be done. Thailand, which has not executed anyone for seven years, and a few other Asean countries with capital punishment continue to hand down the death penalty on drug-related offences, which is unlikely to deter crime. It is the ultimate denial of the right to life and a violation of fundamental human rights.

Of the world's 198 countries, 102 have legally abolished the death penalty for all crimes. An additional 32 countries are abolitionist in practice since they have not executed anyone in the last 10 years and they have a policy or commitment not to carry out executions. Six countries reserve the death sentence only for the most serious crimes of culpable homicide and murders. Of the 58 countries that have not abolished the death penalty, just 25 carried out executions in 2015. However, of those 25 exceptions, four are member states of Asean. Thailand is not among them.

Though the death penalty is still on our statutes, no one has been executed since 2009. However, we still have prisoners sitting on death row and, following a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court in July, those on death row may be held in shackles permanently.

Thailand is among the first group of countries that voted in 1948 to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 3 of the UDHR states that "everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person", while Article 5 confirms that "no one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

About half of those on death row in Thailand and a few other Asean countries are convicted of drug-related crimes. In accordance with Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a party, the death penalty should only be applicable in the case of the most serious crimes. Drug offences hardly fall under that category. I therefore support the initiative by the Thai Ministry of Justice to embark on the reform of drug offences such as those related to methamphetamine.

Crime determent has always been the rationale for handing down the death penalty. Empirical data proves this wrong. For example, drug use has been steadily on the rise in the region despite the death penalty. This clearly indicates that capital punishment does not work as a deterrent and it is time to reconsider it.

Studies carried out in different countries paint a consistent picture. The overwhelming majority of people who end up on death row are poor and not well-educated. They cannot afford proper legal counsel. Many, such as migrant workers, do not even understand the charges of which they are accused.

Further, many drug offenders are duped in the first place. They are executed for crimes they were not even aware of committing, often without even knowing the kingpins who planned their downfall. Once they are prosecuted, drug barons can easily recruit other vulnerable groups who are not aware of the grim fates they will be facing.

To tackle crime, we need to find ways to reduce it. Thailand's National Human Rights Plan of Action (2014-2018) which outlines a plan to abolish the death penalty is a promising step. It suggests an opportunity and an obligation for civil society to work harder to influence this movement and to do more to develop a regional aversion to the taking of life by the state. But much needs to be done.

At the regional level, Asean governments have formally set the community on a bold and clear 10-year direction of being "people-centred, people-oriented" as well as rule-based. What is happening now seems to be the opposite. We are seeing thousands of people in the region being summarily and extra-judicially executed for allegedly being involved in drug crimes.

A lesson from this alarming phenomenon is the dynamics of politics that can equally lead to progress or regress. We cannot afford to be complacent; even countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and have thus committed themselves to abolishing the death penalty can create fanciful ways to bypass that obligation and institute state-instructed and inspired programmes to kill their own people.

I welcome the recent formation of the Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Asean (CADPA) among like-minded persons and groups to campaign for the end of the death penalty. CADPA has launched a campaign called "End Crime, Not Life", aiming to raise public awareness of the difficulties with the application of the death penalty and to focus on improving criminal justice systems. 

It is time for all of us to stand up for a justice system that punishes offenders in a fair and appropriate manner. The region's people-centred and people-oriented vision must be underpinned by its drive towards abolishing the penalty.

# Seree Nonthasoot is Thailand's representative to the AICHR. This article expresses his personal views.

Source: Bangkok Post, 10/10/2016