MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

First women’s tribunal to be held on Nov 27


The first Women’s Tribunal Malaysia, organised by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) and Engender Consultancy, is set to take place from Nov 27 to Nov 28.

The tribunal aims to show gaps in current legislation and policy, provide an alternative form of justice and advocacy for women's human rights and gender equality, and create a space for women to be agents of change.

“We want to highlight all women’s rights - be it civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights.

“We do acknowledge that women’s tribunals and people’s tribunals ‘do not have the authority or power of the state’.

“They are not a formal legal process, and it has no official power to issue legally binding decisions or enforce individual criminal or state responsibility for violations, but our Women’s Tribunal will find new ways to speak truth to power,” said tribunal convener Ivy Josiah in a press conference today.

According to Josiah, who is also the co-founder of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia is far off from closing the gender gap, with the country ranking 112 out of 156 in the 2021 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum.

A report by WAO had also found that the pandemic adversely impacted gender-based violence (GBV) response, healthcare resources allocations, and led to an increase in unpaid care burden and women leaving the workforce.

The press conference was attended by JAG members - such as Family Frontiers, Perak Women For Women Society (PWW) and Sisters in Islam (SIS) - as well as Engender Consultancy.

Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (Sawo) representative and Women’s Tribunal presiding officer Grazele Jenarun said the tribunal was organised with the principles of inclusivity and intersectionality.

“We want to give voices to women and girls to share their lives’ experiences or realities that many do not even realise exist.

“The voices of the marginalised are often neglected and forgotten. It is by looking through the lenses of those affected and marginalised can we understand the lines of discrimination that we may not notice otherwise.

“In order to plan for solutions, we must recognise that all voices are important, and all women’s stories are important,” she said.

The tribunal will collect testimonies from affected individuals which are to be presented to an expert panel of judges focusing on human rights and gender equality.

Supported by a team of three advisers and five lawyers, the panel comprises civil society figures such as Shanthi Dairiam, Zainah Anwar and Nadia Malyanah - who will consider the presentations before issuing their findings and recommendations.

In conjunction with the Women’s Tribunal, the groups will also organise a one-day arts festival on Nov 29 titled ‘Kebahagiaan Dirimu’, which will showcase music, poetry and creative dialogue from local talents.

Participating artistes and writers include Santosh Logandran, Lee Ren Xin, Sharmilla Ganesan, and Jasmine King among others.

Both the tribunal and arts festivals are open to the Malaysian general public.

However, pre-registration is required for those who plan to attend the tribunal via Zoom.

Interested members of the general public may also view its proceedings via Facebook live.

More information on the tribunal can be found here. -Mkini

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