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Malaysia vying for UN Human Rights Council seat – while going after activists!

Can Malaysia live up to its human rights pledges? - geneva.usmission.gov

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Aliran is appalled that youth activist Sarah Irdina Mohammad Ariff had to undergo a traumatising experience while under police investigation.

The co-founder and secretary of Misi: Solidariti is being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 over her tweets about the #Lawan protest being held today.

The youth group is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin over his government’s poor handling of the Covid pandemic.

Sarah reportedly spent 11 hours in police custody and five hours in a cell on Thursday night before being released at 1am on Friday – an experience that left her traumatised. She claimed she was forced to strip to her underwear before wearing the custodial shirt and pants. The open bathroom next to her bed was visible to all who walked past the small cell, she added.

The act of peacefully demanding Mahiaddin’s resignation should not be construed as a criminal act. It certainly does not warrant activists like Sarah Irdina being treated like criminals.

In a thriving democracy, such peaceful protests are a legitimate form of freedom of expression.

Arresting, intimidating and humiliating activists this way violates their democratic rights.

It also jars with Malaysia’s bid for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council for the 2022-4 term.

The government should desist from violating the rights of peaceful activists, especially at today’s #Lawan protest.

Aliran executive committee
31 July 2021

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