NEW DELHI, 29 April 2009: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is racing against time to prevent the organisation from being downgraded by an international human rights regulatory body on 3 May.
Suhakam chairperson Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said, the Accreditation Sub-Committee of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) was “disappointed” over the Suhakam (Amendment) Bill 2009, passed by the Dewan Rakyat in March.
“They were disappointed with the amendments; we were given 20 days that ends this Sunday.
“If they still feel the Bill passed by Parliament falls short of the Paris Principles, they have recommended we be re-graded as Status B (from the current Status A),” he told Bernama in Delhi today.
“The ICC said the law (the bill) does not comply with the Paris Principles, particularly in transparency in the appointment process of Suhakam commissioners that is key to guaranteeing the independence of the institution.
“For this session, Malaysia is the chair of the Asia Pacific Forum. If we were to lose our Status A, we will lose the right to become chairperson and participate in any international forum.
“We have done everything possible, including informing the government. We don’t have much time now,” he said.
The Paris Principle is the basic code recommended by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, which governs the functioning of any national human rights body.
Suhakam is in the process of sending a last-minute appeal to the ICC by tomorrow. — Bernama
Who says the UN has no teeth? Listen to them roar!
If you have the time to spare, it’s well worth checking out the Malaysia section at ohchr.org – the documents can be long, but you can’t fault the UN for not trying to help Malaysia sort itself out. I suppose they ran out of patience and stopped “noting with concern …”.
I wonder at the wisdom of the person who comments that being downgraded by the UN for failing to meet Human Rights commitments means that he’ll miss out on some good overseas trips. Is that really all it means?
May even soon be downgraded to C status. We are short of fearless commisioners with lofty, unwavering principles and fair, independent minds.