Archive for May 2009

Ambiga Sreenevasan, Andrew Khoo and Zarizana Abdul Aziz

On 28 April, The Star published an article by Dr Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad under Ikim’s Views entitled ‘Human rights shouldn’t impose on religions and cultures‘. We wrote a rebuttal. The Star has chosen not to publish it.

Below is our rebuttal, and it is our personal opinion.

In the area of supra-national laws, there is a move to advance binding sets of principles that will guide nations. By their very nature, these principles govern and restrict the conduct of the state.

Malaysia is no stranger to such principles. We are a party to the Geneva Conventions and the Chemical Warfare Convention. These conventions regulate the conduct of warfare by states and are very much part of human rights laws. These laws are intended as a reflection of common decency, which guide civilised nations to the extent that they override or circumscribe a state’s absolute freedom in the conduct of war. Indeed, this is only to be welcomed.

Are these rules new? Hardly. Such rules of war have been in existence for several hundreds of years. For example, when the international community questioned and condemned Israel’s conduct in the Gaza War, we appealed to international human rights and humanitarian laws.

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By Jacqueline Ann Surin
jacquelinesurin@thenutgraph.comjacquelinesurin at thenutgraph dot com

 penan1Penan child (© Robin Hanbury-Tenison/Survival, pic courtesy of Survival International)

DATUK Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil was the perfect picture of concern and care on the front page of The Star newspaper on 28 May 2009. The newly re-appointed women, family and community development minister was photographed at the Serdang Hospital with a five-year-old child who looked like he had suffered serious and constant abuse at home.

“It is so awful and very sad. Obviously the abuse must have been going on for some time,” Shahrizat was quoted as saying after she struggled to compose herself.

Shahrizat, who is also Wanita Umno chief, has rightfully demonstrated shock at such abuse. However, she has yet to illustrate the same kind of alarm and urgency towards the plight of Penan girls and women in the interiors of Sarawak who were reportedly sexually violated and abused.

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FREE ALL ISA DETAINEES "The land belongs to the countless numbers of people who are dead, the few who are living and the multitude of those yet to be born". child2