Open Letter to Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Foreign Minister of Malaysia

24/04/2006
Press release

Excellency,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) have taken due note of your candidacy to the future Human Rights Council.

We however noted that your government has not yet issued pledges, supporting your candidature, nor made any public commitment related to the promotion and protection of Human rights.

We would like to remind you that in accordance with General Assembly resolution A/RES/60/251, UN Member States that are candidate to the Council shall make voluntary pledges and commitments to the promotion and protection of human rights, and uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.

We should like to insist of the importance of a declaration of principles which should be drafted as soon as possible and which should include, inter alia,

- the level of ratification, by your country, of the principal Human rights instruments and of their additional protocols, as well as the steps taken towards the ratification of the instruments which remain to be ratified, and towards the lifting of reservations that are considered by the Treaty bodies to be contrary to the objectives and principles of these conventions;
- the submission of periodic reports to the treaty monitoring bodies and the commitment to follow-up on their recommendations;
- the commitment to cooperate fully with the procedures and mechanisms of the Council, including through the extension of a standing invitation to the Special procedures, on the basis of their own terms of reference, to reply to all letters of allegation received from them, and to implement the recommendations that they will have addressed to you;
- the commitment to submit to the peer review procedure and, while operating on the Council within the peer review procedure, to act in line with UN human rights mechanisms’ recommendations;
- the commitment, while serving on the Council, to ensure that the Council provides an adequate response to human rights crises, when they occur, based on recommendations for action from UN human rights mechanisms, as well as not to oppose any procedural obstacle (such as no-action motions) to the due examination of these situations, to further ensure that the Council provides a sustainable investment of the international community in situations where human rights crises persist,
- the commitment, while serving on the Council, to promote the development of human rights norms where required and relevant, starting with the commitment to adopt the draft Convention on enforced disappearances.

In particular, we believe that your commitment to progressively ratify all core international human rights treaties, including the ICC statutes -as Malaysia has only ratified CRC and CEDAW- would be an important step for your country, as well as a valuable commitment to promote and protect human rights.

We also urge you to withdraw all reservations to CRC and CEDAW that are considered to be contrary to the objectives and principles of these conventions and to fulfil the obligations of submitting reports to the CEDAW and CRC treaty bodies.

Furthermore, we kindly invite you to implement all recommendations made by the special rapporteur on freedom of expression when he visited Malaysia in 1998 as well as to allow immediately the visits requested by the Special Representative of Human Right Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on Migrant Rights and the Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples and to issue standing invitation to all other UN human rights special procedures

Finally, we strongly encourage you to support the establishment of the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism and to establish the Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) which was recommended by the Special Commission to Enhance the Management and Operations of the Police Force.

In addition, these steps could be fully appreciated by the members of the Human rights council, when your country will next be examined under the Universal Peer Review.

We therefore urge you to take these in consideration while considering your pledges.

Further, we urge you to ensure that you cast your vote in favour of countries which would have made similar commitments, on the occasion of the elections to which you will participate, on 9 May 2006.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Yours sincerely,

Sidiki KABA, President, FIDH

YAP Swee Sen, Executive Director, SUARAM

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