Somewhere between the end of the World Wars, Russian, American, Chinese and European victors carved up the defeated world according to their view of a fair distribution of valuable natural resources, and NOT according to the wishes of the populations themselves. The vested interests thus created have controlled global mineral and other resources and have defined any resistance to these borders as “sedition” or else “terror tactics”. Specifically, Muslim minority populations in Southeast Asian countries have suffered these pejoratives and been penalised. Continue reading
There was a time in recent history that the USA became a haven of hope for many downtrodden minorities of European kingdoms. When these immigrants sacrificed and struggled to arrive in the USA, they adopted the “melting pot” approach to culture. It did not matter where you came from, because “all men are created equal”. Even today, American domestic laws forbid the collecting of racial information in employment or other personal documents. Continue reading
Politics requires the skill to integrate the real with the ideal. However you may interpret Qur’anic statements of the rights of human beings, merging them into our body politic may be the most difficult demand of Articles 3(1) and 37(1) of our Federal Constitution, which positions Islam as the religion of the federation. And this demand is recently being more seriously addressed in Putrajaya. Continue reading
The idea of human rights has an extensive history, but only in the past century has the global community pursued to galvanize a regime to promote and protect them. In particular, since the United Nations (UN) was founded in 1945, world leaders have collaborated to codify human rights in a universally recognized regime of treaties, institutions, and norms. Among the Muslim-majority nations, most recently, in June 2011, the Organisation of Islāmic Cooperation (OIC) established the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, with the aim to “advance human rights” and “support the Member States’ efforts to merge civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.” These recent developments call for Islāmic Non-Governmental Organizations (NGIs) to articulate the Islāmic views on human rights to offer alternate views to the global human rights movement.
On 27th December 2013, the Malaysian Bar issued a statement in support of the call by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (“SUHAKAM”), and its Chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, for Malaysia to look seriously into accelerating the pace of ratification of the six remaining core United Nations instruments on human rights. I wish to reply to some of the issues mentioned in the statement. Relevant Malaysian Bar’s points in italics, my comments in plain font.
At the recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session held in Geneva on 24th October 2013, it was clear that many Western countries were pressuring Malaysia to sign and ratify certain international human rights treaties; including the ones that allow for unbridled freedom of religion (such as Article 18 of ICCPR on freedom of religion). There were also calls from at least 5 countries for Malaysia to abolish her anti-sodomy laws (section 377A of the Penal Code and the various Shariah enactments); this eventually for allowing same-sex marriage. Indeed, Western countries are willing to go to the extent of overriding the sovereignty of nations in propagating ‘universal standards’ of human rights achievements.
“This new ‘human rights-ism’ accords great value to the United Nations – notwithstanding its inability to enforce its decisions, and its refusal to make practical demands of its members to be democratic or respect the human rights of their citizens.”
I have read an article by Honey Tan of COMANGO’s secretariat (here’s the full link) and, as has happened before, was initially impressed with her commendable writing skills. Then, as has also happened before, I watched her unravel a bit as she descended into ‘emotional’ remarks.