Urgent Interventions

25th Session of the Human Rights Council: Joint oral statement delivered under Malaysia's UPR

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25th session (3-28 March 2014)

Item6: UPR Malaysia

Oralstatement delivered by The WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT),

a non-governmentalorganisation in general consultative status in conjunction with Suaram

Thank you Mr. President,

OMCT and its memberorganisation in Malaysia, Suaram, also a member of COMANGO, welcome the recommendationsmade by States to Malaysia, particularly those calling for the prohibition ofcorporal punishment; the enactment of anti-torture law; the setting up ofindependent police oversight mechanism; the abolishment of the death penalty;and the ratification of major human rights treaties. However,we deeply regret that Malaysia has rejected most of these recommendations.

Indeed, we deplorethat Malaysia has failed to this date to ratify core international human rightsinstruments such as the UN Convention against Torture and the ICCPR, revealingthat the government tolerates a culture of torture and impunity.

Malaysian police routinely inflict tortureor other forms of ill-treatment during arrest, detention or when responding toprotests. Since 2009 to August 2013, there have been 124 people shot dead bypolice. In 2013 alone, Suaram documented 12 cases of suspicious deaths incustody. Malaysia has so far failed to address most of these violations,sending the message that police are above the law and will be able to get awaywith torture or murder. Both organisations recall that the Enforcement AgenciesIntegrity Commission (EAIC) lacks prosecuting powers, independence andeffectiveness. It received 347 complaints between 2011-2012 but only three caseswere fully investigated, with only one disciplinary action and two warningshanded down. In this regard,we urge Malaysia to promptly establish the Independent Police Complaint andMisconduct Commission as recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry in2005.

The risk of torture and ill-treatment isfurther exacerbated by Malaysia’s legal framework allowing for incommunicadodetention without charge or judicial review, such as the Security Offences Act(SOSMA), the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) and the Dangerous Drugs Act. OMCT and Suaram call on Malaysia towithdraw the aforementioned legislation.

Whipping or canning remains a widespreadform of punishment to prisoners, including asylum seekers and migrants. We aredeeply concerned that Malaysia understands corporal punishment as “a valid andlegal form of punishment” that does not “equate to torture, cruel, inhuman ordegrading treatment and punishment”, which runs in direct contradiction withthe international understanding of corporal punishment as a form of inhumaneand ill-treatment.

The deathpenalty, which constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, continues tobe used. There are currently about 900 death row prisoners. There have been atleast two attempts of execution so far in 2014, but the executions were stayed.OMCT and Suaram welcome the stay of execution and urge Malaysia to take immediate steps towards the abolition of the deathpenalty for all offences by declaring an official moratorium on all executions,and commute all death sentences to prison terms.

Finally, OMCT and Suaram urge Malaysia to seize thissecond UPR to show its commitment to improve its compliance with human rightsstandards and the abolition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

We thank you.

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