Malaysia: Accept UN recommendations and protect civic freedoms and human rights

Malaysia: Accept UN recommendations and protect civic freedoms and human rights - Civic Space

CIVICUS, SUARAM, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), FORUM-ASIA, and ARTICLE 19 call attention to the Malaysian government’s failure to accept recommendations made at the UN’s Human Rights Council to respect and protect civic freedoms, particularly freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. These actions are inconsistent with the government’s commitments to undertake human rights reforms and call into question Malaysia’s credibility as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In February 2024, the UN Human Rights Council reviewed Malaysia’s human rights record during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR). 348 recommendations were issued, including on respect for civic freedoms. Among the recommendations were to ratify human rights treaties, repeal restrictive laws, and ensure the protection of human rights defenders. The adoption of the outcome report is scheduled for 5 July 2024 in Geneva.

During its last review in 2018, the Malaysian government accepted recommendations to sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a core human rights treaty ratified by 174 countries globally. However, the government appears to have backtracked on this commitment by failing to accept recommendations to do so, making the country an outlier on this key treaty.

As a UN Human Rights Council member, we urge the Malaysian government to review its regressive decision not to accept the UPR recommendations on civic freedoms and take its role seriously. The government can start by ratifying core treaties, especially the ICCPR and immediately review and abolish restrictive laws that silence dissent. We also urge the government to create an enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders to carry out their fundamental work to promote and protect human rights.


Read the full press release here