Saturday, November 05, 2016

Suhakam Commissioner Jerald - 'Duty of cops to protect rights of Bersih, Red Shirts’

Human Rights Commissioners must speak up for human rights. They must freely express their opinions, speak out against violations of human rights and also anti-human rights expression by any person - even if it be the Prime Minister, some NGO activist or even the police chief.

It is sad that many a human rights commissioners stay 'silent' - doing simply their assigned jobs/responsibilities in SUHAKAM - like 'employees' they behave. 

Some say that any opinion could only be expressed by the SUHAKAM Chairman, and so they keep quite behaving simply like 'employees' - not as Human Rights Commissioners. 

It is so sad - and such belief only allows the government the power to control a National Human Rights Institution(SUHAKAM) by simply appointing 'pro-government' 'loyal' persons as Chairman and HR Commissioners. We have seen such 'toothless' blind to human rights Commissions and Commissioners sometimes in the past..

A HR Commissioner may not be speaking on behalf of SUHAKAM - but his/her speedy view and expression is important for human rights. If a Commissioner expresses a 'wrong view' - then always SUHAKAM can express an alternative view correcting the perception of a single HR Commissioners. People will benefit in all cases...

Alas, some Commissioners may stay silent because of 'fear' that they may not be re-appointed for a 2nd term as SUHAKAM Commissioner - well, we do not need such HR Commissioners, persons who would without fear and favour fail to act to uphold the cause of human rights and justice...

A HR Commissioner speaks from a human rights perspective - they will also speak out against Malaysian laws that are against human rights, and even make recommendations for the changing of such laws. On the other hand, the police and other government authorities are bound to act in accordance to law - not the case for HR Commissioners or SUHAKAM... 

Remember, a SUHAKAM Commissioner tenure is secure - he cannot be simply terminated...and this secure tenure today is for 3 years. [Not enough, as the Paris Principles suggest that the tenure should be for 6 years...]

Thankfully, after several months, one HR Commissioner has found the guts to speak up...Hopefully others also will find their voice as we, Malaysians, would really like to hear the views of our individual HR Commissioners and SUHAKAM...

Remember, freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly is a right of all - and it is shameful when some ask for the curbing of the rights of others, who have an opposing view...

'Duty of cops to protect rights of Bersih, Red Shirts’

Sheith Khidhir Bin Abu Bakar
 | November 4, 2016 
Suhakam Commissioner Jerald Joseph says police should allow peaceful demonstrations, even if they are held at Dataran Merdeka.


PETALING JAYA: A Suhakam commissioner has reminded the police that it is their duty as custodians of the law to protect the public’s rights, including the right to assemble at a public place such as Dataran Merdeka.

“The authorities should not find provisions in the law to disable any right,” said Commissioner Jerald Joseph in response to Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar’s criticism of Suhakam’s decision to defend the rights of Bersih and the Red Shirts movement to hold the demonstrations they have planned for this month.

Khalid, citing the Peaceful Assembly Act, had said the two groups’ chosen venue, Dataran Merdeka, could not be used since Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had refused to give its permission.

However, Jerald said any group of citizens wanting to use public spaces as venues for peaceful demonstrations should be allowed to do so.

“Public spaces are managed by public institutions as custodians,” he said. “Those institutions are not the private owners of these public properties.”

Nevertheless, he added, he believed Bersih would respect the decision to declare Dataran Merdeka off limits.

He recalled that during Bersih’s last rally, the demonstrators did not go into Dataran Merdeka because it was off limits.

“If DBKL again says ‘No,’ then it will be a place that will be zoned off and I hope the rally organisers will be wise enough to realise that there are other places around that area they can use to express their rights,” he said.

“At this point, all I can say is that I don’t think Suhakam is calling on anyone to break through any barricades. That has never been our intention.

“Our intention is simply to say that the spirit of the law must be enabled and if people want to assemble for whatever objectives, then they should be allowed to.”

Yesterday, Bersih chief Maria Chin Abdullah said the Nov 19 rally will not be called off, postponed or held in an enclosed area. - FMT News, 3/11/2016

No comments: