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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Permit to march peacefully a Malaysian right

Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) reiterates our stand that freedom of assembly, Association and Expression are fundamental human rights and have to be respected by authorities and the government.

Malaysian police had denied the permit for the 'Solidarity March against Racism' organised by the Human Rights Party (HRP) and the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf). W Sambulingam, Hindraf national coordinator made a formal application on 11 February 2011 for a police permit, but it was rejected on security grounds.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin then said that if Hindraf 'disregards regulations, holding rallies and the likes ... stern action should be taken'.

Malaysia is a member of the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a body that is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, and should give respect and adherence to Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

According to Article 20(1) of UDHR, everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Article 10 (1) of the federal constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully.

These rights enshrined in our constitution and UDHR have to be adhered to. Malaysians are capable to hold, and the authorities are capable to facilitate, peaceful assembly. These rights should not be continuously denied. Police should give clear guidelines on how these permits could be granted.

AIM therefore strongly urges the Malaysian government and police to respect peoples' right to peaceful assembly, association and expression and to allow the 'Solidarity March against Racism' to proceed without any interference.


Nora Murat is executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia.- Malaysiakini

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