Target: Prime Minister Najib Razak
Goal: Secure the release of peaceful protesters who were recently arrested on false charges.
The recent arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters in Malaysia shows the hard line being taken against activists in the country. The human rights activists were protesting the demolition of a historical village. Malaysia recently pledged to the United Nations Human Rights Council that development of civil and political rights in the country would keep up with development of economic, social and cultural rights. This has obviously not been the case with these recent arrests. The government must immediately and unconditionally release these protesters and allow for a stay in the demolition of the village.
Arresting protesters arbitrarily denies them the opportunity to practice their freedom of assembly and expression. It also puts doubt in the minds of future protesters who do not want to face the same treatment. Protesters arrested in front of the village set for demolition face charges of “obstructing public servants from carrying out their work.” This charge faces a penalty of up to three months in prison and a fine of 1,000 Malaysian Ringgit ($317). Police were also allegedly rough with the people whom they were arresting. Protesters claim that they were mishandled, and that a few were attacked rather aggressively. The authorities must immediately investigate these claims so that future arrests do not proceed in the same way. Police must be there to protect and serve, not to brutalize peaceful protesters.
The United Nations Human Rights Council recently criticized Malaysia’s human rights record in their annual report. In particular, the report highlighted the treatment of protesters and the lack of opportunity to practice freedom of assembly and expression. The government must immediately release the peaceful protesters in order to begin adhering to their international agreements and show they are serious about improving their human rights record. Sign this petition and urge them to release the protesters.
Dear Prime Minister Najib Razak,
Your government’s recent arrest of 19 peaceful protesters in the historic village of Kampung Hakka Mantin is unacceptable. The arrests set a dangerous precedent of oppression. I urge you to do more to ensure the freedom of assembly and expression in your country. By doing so you would be adhering to your international obligations under the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as improving your reputation in the eyes of the international community, which is positive for your economy.
Allegations of police abuse during the arrests are another concern. An investigation must be opened immediately so that similar incidents do not occur. Police must protect the interests of the population as well as the interests of the government. I ask you to release these political prisoners immediately and unconditionally so that the interests of the people can be heard.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons