Monday, December 17, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Latest Programme

HR Day Programme


0900 Welcome speech (Ambiga Sreenevasan, President, Bar Council)

0910 “Speechless”: Lip-reading of the UDHR (led by Wong Nyok Mei)

0925 Breakfast and prize-giving ceremony for essay competition 2006 winners (BM & Eng)


0935 Poetry Reading (Noreen Ariff)

0945 Conversations: “When Faith Meets Law”
- Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, UITM
- Bishop Paul Tan, Christian Federation Malaysia
- Datuk A. Vaithilingam, Hindu Sangam
- Sarath Surendre, Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia
- Hargopal Gill Sikh, representative of the Sikh community
- Ng Chek, Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia

(colouring session for children commences)

1100 Cultural performance by the Orang Asli (Pusat Kebudayaan SPNS)

1115 " wish that ……” session (led by Fadiah Nadwa Fikri)

1130 Stage performances by various artists/activists
· Fahri Azzat & His Soul Brotha (1135 – 1150)
· The Wave (1155 – 1210)
· Lai Chee Hoe (1215 – 1230)
· Cassarrah feat. Amer (1235 – 1250)
· Dr Wan Zawawi (1255 – 1310)
· Couple (1315 – 1330)
· KL Legal Aid Centre (1335 – 1350)
· Tina and Dipendra (1355 – 1410)

1415 Closing speech (Edmund Bon, Chair, Human Rights Committee)

Change of venue

The theme of the Festival of Rights this year is "As I Believe: Freedom of Expression through Art, Music, Culture and Conscience".
We intended to showcase the indivisibility of rights, and how various forms of expression are manifested in the facets of our humanity. We have notified the police of our programme for the Festival of Rights. We have been asked to apply for a permit.
It would be ironic and outrageous for us to make such an application. We are therefore moving our festivities (which starts at 9am) to the Bar Council Building.
On a day where everyone ought to celebrate human rights, it is also an important time to take stock of the repression of rights in this country, particularly the regulation of free speech and expression by way of licensing requirements.
The right to freedom of expression in Malaysia is in practical terms illusory. Licensed expression is not expression. We need to change this.
On International Human Rights Day where there is much to celebrate around the world, this year in our country, we protest. We protest in a place where human rights, free speech and expression is vigorously respected and defended.
Join us on the 9th!
By Edmund Bon

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Walking and Rights

Since April this year, the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Council has been tirelessly planning its annual Festival of Rights (to commemorate Human Rights Day) to be held on 9 December 2007. Much credit goes out to all in the team especially the Chair of the Organising Committee, Dara Waheda Bt Mohd Rufin. As Chair of the main Committee, I owe an explanation to everyone who has followed this event with keen interest.

Three major rallies have been held since we first planned the Festival of Rights - the Bar’s Walk for Justice, one by BERSIH and another by HINDRAF. The primary intent of the said rallies was to peacefully yet purposefully convey various messages to those who are able to act on them. At both the BERSIH and HINDRAF rallies, observers for the Bar Council on the ground witnessed and experienced the effects of tear gas and chemically-laced water which were unjustifiably used by the authorities on peaceful citizens of our country seeking to exercise their rights to peaceful assembly. This was extremely painful and disappointing.

Subsequent to each rally, the authorities including the police and Ministers in Government vilified the participants and organisers. They attempted to influence public opinion by distorting the nature, purpose and effect of the assemblies. Coupled with the unnecessary and wanton use of force to disperse the participants, the purport of their criticisms was to engineer an aversion towards public demonstrations of support and solidarity. These developments have been most disconcerting. Key features in our democracy are speedily being dismantled, and we appear to be continuing down a dangerous path to greater authoritarianism.

With these events which precipitated the Peoples’ Freedom Walk in mind, there were generally three options open to the Bar Council – to proceed as planned without a police permit, to proceed with a permit or to call off the Walk. After a lengthy debate with equally valid arguments in favour of each option, the Council decided by a majority on the third option. It was not an easy decision. I was in the minority, seeking to re-affirm our earlier decision which was to proceed without a permit. Nevertheless, once a decision is made, we must abide by it.

It must be explained that before the decision was taken, Council had notified the police regarding the planned Walk by a letter. This is consistent with international human rights practice. Our leaders, the President and Vice-President, then made every effort humanly possible to negotiate with and seek the assistance of the police to facilitate the Walk. However, the police wrote to request that an application for a permit be made.

For some of us, making an application for a permit would be contrary to Council’s position contained in our submissions during the Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday incident at KLCC in 2006. Further, we are against the present "licensing" model which empowers the police to regulate the right to peaceful assembly by the issuance (or otherwise) of a permit. We recommended that a "co-operative" model be adopted where the organisers and authorities worked together in the spirit of co-operation to facilitate any proposed assembly. Our submissions were adopted by SUHAKAM.

It is also pertinent to note that when we walked to the Prime Minister’s Office at the Walk for Justice, no application for a police permit was made. Our leaders are currently being investigated for an offence. We must stand united with them and continue to adopt the position taken at the Walk for Justice at any cost. We cannot waver.

Much as Council's position that we ought not require a permit for a peaceful assembly is consistent with human rights law, an equally important consideration is whether we should nevertheless exercise our right to peaceful assembly under current conditions. We may lay claim to a right, and yet choose to exercise it sometimes, all the time or not at all.

It is not easy to dismiss the argument that in view of recent events and the attitude of the authorities, it would be dangerous to proceed with the Walk, and with little assurance that the safety of our participants would be guaranteed. We expected a large number of participants from various walks of life including women, children, the elderly, refugees and the Orang Asli.

Another overarching consideration continues to be the credibility and integrity of the Bar, and the welfare of our members. We cannot allow our well-intentioned motives and actions be distorted willy-nilly by those who hold positions of power in Government and influence over the media. The cause of human rights will continue to be fought nonetheless, and there is less lost in calling off the Walk as opposed to having to deal with an unmitigated disaster post-Walk, a prospect which is more real than imagined. It was an extremely difficult decision, but the majority felt that there was no better alternative.

As stated by our Bar President, this is a “missed opportunity”. It is sadly a loss for our nation and the Government as we seek to build a liberal, tolerant and caring society encapsulated in Vision 2020. Despite being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, our Government clearly lacks sufficient political will to meet the expectations of Malaysians to respect and protect human rights, and to fulfil its international obligations.

This year, we will not be able to walk on our streets in commemoration of a joyous occasion. This year, Malaysians will be compelled to celebrate Human Rights Day in a fashion of protest. Protest by NOT walking our streets, or re-claiming them. We know we could have walked and re-claimed it, easily. We will take the streets in celebration on another day. We could have proceeded and joined the masses in the thousands at the Walk. But we chose not to. We could have been dispersed forcefully by the authorities. But we chose not to let them do so. A story in the media could have been spun about the Bar and paint it in a negative light. But we chose not to give them that luxury. It was never originally intended this way. But it has turned out so.

To all those who expressed their interest in the Walk, we are truly grateful and touched for your show of support. We understand that this Walk has created much excitement even among our friends from the rural settlements and the Orang Asli who intended to travel from far to join us. Speaking for the Committee, we deeply regret any inconvenience or misgivings we have caused.

We apologise for calling off the Walk. Please join us for Part 2 of the Festival which starts at 9.00am at Central Market. Among others, we will have a lip-reading session of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a multi-religious forum titled “When Faith Meets Law” which showcases religious leaders on the panel of speakers, an Orang Asli cultural performance and various performances featuring artists within the Bar and outside of it. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

We will continue to do what is right in the interests of the Bar and civil society. Rest assured, this difficult struggle will continue unabated. I urge you to stand in solidarity by our Bar leaders during these trying times.

Dated this 4th day of December 2007

EDMUND BON TAI SOON
Chair, Human Rights Committee
Bar Council Malaysia

Press Statement: Human Rights Day Walk

The controversy surrounding the Bar Council Human Rights Day Walk scheduled for 9 December 2007 is indeed unfortunate and wholly unwarranted. This is an event that we have held for the past two years in recognition of International Human Rights Day, which falls on the 10th of December every year. It is a celebration of Human Rights, and the Malaysian Bar supports the International Human Rights Day as symbolic of the universality of human rights.

Apart from the Walk, the Bar Council is organising festivities in Central Market, which includes a lip-reading session of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stage performances by the Orang Asli and others, and a colouring competition for children.

Accordingly, this event ought not to be embroiled in controversy.

Most significantly, it should not be vilified as affecting race relations or be regarded as an anti-Government rally.

In fact, it is an event that would have demonstrated complete racial harmony and would have demonstrated (as we have before) that we can walk peaceably in unity for human rights the world over. It would have been an opportunity for the authorities to show to the world that we subscribe to these values. It is a missed opportunity.

The Bar Council has given anxious consideration to the present circumstances that surround this event, particularly the interests of the public and the Malaysian Bar. In consequence, the Bar Council has decided to cancel the walk from Sogo to Central Market. HOWEVER THE FESTIVITIES AT CENTRAL MARKET WILL PROCEED. We believe it is important that this event from 9am to 2.30pm be held, and the public are invited to attend it.

The Bar Council takes the position that the requirement for an application for a permit under the Police Act to hold this event, violates our constitutional right to peaceful assembly. In fact, the Royal Commission on the Police Force and SUHAKAM have said as much, and have called for a repeal of this law, as has the Bar Council. The police had asked for the Bar Council to apply for a permit for their consideration for the Walk. Apart from the circumstances that we have taken into account, we believe this is an unlawful fetter on our constitutional right to assemble peacefully.

We are mindful that many will be disappointed at the cancellation of the walk, but other more significant considerations have prevailed on this occasion.

Ambiga Sreenevasan
President
Malaysian Bar

4 December 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Constitution of Malaysia

PART II - FUNDAMENTAL LIBERTIES

Article number: 5

(1) No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.
(2) Where complaint is made to a High court or any judge thereof that a person is being unlawfully detained the court shall inquire into the complaint and, unless satisfied that the detention is lawful, shall order him to be produced before the court and release him.
(3) Where a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
(4) Where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey) be produced before a magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the magistrate's authority:
Provided that this Clause shall not apply to the arrest or detention of any person under the existing law relating to restricted residence, and all the provisions of this Clause shall be deemed to have been an integral part of this Article as from Merdeka Day.
(5) Clauses (3) and (4) do not apply to an enemy alien.

Article number: 6

(1) No person shall be held in slavery.
(2) All forms of forced labour are prohibited, but Parliament may by law provide for compulsory service for national purposes.
(3) Work incidental to the serving of a sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court of law shall not be taken to be forced labour within the meaning of this Article.
(4) Where by any written law the whole or any part of the functions of any public authority is to be carried on by another public authority, for the purpose of enabling those functions to be performed the employees of the first mentioned public authority shall be bound to serve the second mentioned public authority shall not be taken to be forced labour within the meaning of this Article, and no such employee shall be entitled to demand any right from either the first mentioned or the second mentioned public authority by reason of the transfer of his employment.

Article number: 7

(1)No person shall be punished for an act or omission which was not punishable by law when it was done or made, and no person shall suffer greater punishment for an offence than was prescribed by law at the time it was committed.
(2) A person who has been acquitted or convicted of an offence shall not be tried again for the same offence except where the conviction or acquittal has been quashed and a retrial ordered by a court superior to that by which he was acquitted or convicted.

Article number: 8

(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(2) Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.
(3) There shall be no discrimination in favour of any person on the ground that he is a subject of the Ruler of the State.
(4) No public authority shall discriminate against any person on the ground that he is resident or carrying on business in any part of the Federation outside the jurisdiction of the authority.
(5) This Article does not invalidate or prohibit -
(a) any provision regulating personal law;
(b) any provision or practice restricting office or employment connected with the affairs of any religion, or of an institution managed by a group professing any religion, to persons professing that religion;
(c) any provision for the protection, wellbeing or advancement of the aboriginal peoples of the Malay Peninsula (including the reservation of land) or the reservation to aborigines of a reasonable proportion of suitable positions in the public service;
(d) any provision prescribing residence in a State or part of a State as a qualification for election or appointment to any authority having jurisdiction only in that State or part, or for voting in such an election;
(e) any provision of a Constitution of a State, being or corresponding to a provision in force immediately before Merdeka Day;
(f) any provision restricting enlistment in the Malay Regiment to Malays.

Article number: 9

(1) No citizen shall be banished or excluded from the Federation.
(2) Subject to Clause (3) and to any law relating to the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order, public health, or the punishment of offenders, every citizen has the right to move freely throughout the Federation and to reside in any part thereof.
(3) So long as under this Constitution any other State is in a special position as compared with the States of Malaya, Parliament may by law impose restrictions, as between that State and other States, on the rights conferred by Clause (2) in respect of movement and residence.

Article number: 10

(1)Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4) -
(a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) all citizens have the right to form associations.
(2) Parliament may by law impose -
(a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1),such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;
(b) on the right conferred by paragraph (b) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, or public order;
(c) on the right conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.
(4) In imposing restrictions in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order under Clause (2) (a), Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law.


Article number: 11

(1)Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.
(2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.
(3) Every religious group has the right -
(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.
(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Lubuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
(5) This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

Article number: 12

(1)Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth -
(a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority,
and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees; or
(b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation).
(2) Every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for the education of children in its own religion, and there shall be no discrimination on the ground only of religion in any law relating to such institutions or in the administration of any such law; but it shall be lawful for the Federation or a State to establish or maintain or assist in establishing or maintaining Islamic institutions or provide or assist in providing instruction in the religion of Islam and incur such expenditure as may be necessary for the purpose.
(3) No person shall be required to receive instruction in or take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.
(4) For the purposes of Clause (3) the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.

Article number: 13.


(1)No person shall be deprived of property save in accordance with law.
(2) No law shall provide for the compulsory acquisition or use of property without adequate
compensation.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Promo Article No. 2

”Ekspresi-Kan Hak-Hak Asasi Anda”


Contributed by Dara Waheda Mohd Rufin

Setiap manusia berhak memiliki naluri hati mereka sendiri sebaik sahaja dilahirkan. Mereka berhak percaya bahawa mereka perlu mengatur dan menikmati kehidupan dengan cara mereka sendiri. Mereka mempunyai hak bergaul antara satu sama lain, berhak mendapat pendidikan yang baik, berhak memiliki harta atas usaha mereka sendiri, berhak meluahkan ekspresi diri dan berhak dilayan sama rata dengan penuh rasa hormat-menghormati antara satu sama lain.

Ramai yang dapat mengapplikasi hak-hak asasi ini dalam kehidupan mereka namun ramai juga yang dihalang daripada menikmatinya.

Sebagai memperingati dan menunjukkan sokongan terhadap mereka yang kurang bernasib baik ini, dunia telah mengisytiharkan 10 Disember sebagai Hari Hak Asasi Manusia.

Pada tahun ini, Majlis Peguam Malaysia melalui Jawatankuasa Hak Asasi Manusia telah menyambung tradisi perayaan hak asasi dengan sekali lagi menganjurkan Festival Hak Asasi kali ini diraikan satu hari lebih awal iaitu pada 9 Disember 2007. Tarikh berkenaan yang juga hari minggu (Ahad) telah dipilih bagi memberi peluang kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia khususnya warga Kuala Lumpur untuk bersama-sama menyambut hari tersebut.

Festival yang bertemakan ”Seperti yang saya percaya : Kebebasan Ekspresi melalui Seni, Muzik, Budaya dan Rasa Hati” ini akan dimulakan seawal 7.30 pagi dengan acara perarakan secara aman dari perkarangan Pusat Membeli-Belah Sogo ke Pasar Budaya, Kuala Lumpur. Tradisi perarakan ini adalah sebagai satu simbol penyatuan rakyat dan simbol kebebasan bersuara serta berhimpun seperti yang termaktub dalam Artikel 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Perarakan tersebut dijangka berakhir pada pukul 9.00 pagi di perkarangan Pasar Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, lokasi bagi bahagian kedua festival tersebut.

Kemuncak bahagian kedua festival ini adalah sesi yang dinamakan “When Faith Meets Law Session”. Ia merupakan sesi interaktif yang memberi peluang kepada setiap kumpulan/badan agama melalui seorang wakil menyuarakan isu dalam mengimbangi kepercayaan dan undang-undang manusia.

Selain itu, ia juga akan diselang-seli dengan persembahan menarik yang terdiri daripada persembahan puisi, tarian masyarakat Orang Asli, nyanyian oleh Dr Wan Zawawi dan beberapa orang peguam yang berbakat terpendam termasuklah Fahri Azzat, Syamsuriatina Ishak, Dipendra Harshad Rai dan Lai Chee Hoe serta banyak lagi kejutan yang telah dirancang.

Ekspresi-kan hasrat anda bersama-sama kami. Jumpa anda di sana.

(Untuk maklumat lanjut dan perkembangan terkini dari masa ke semasa sila klik http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_details/Itemid,2/gid,1370/ )

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why We celebrate Human Rights Day.

We celebrate Human Rights day because there are many people who do not have the rights granted to them [e.g. the right to equality. This day was declared so that all of us can become aware of our rights and create an awareness among others, of people who are deprived of their rights.

The Promo Write Up (1)

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2007 - “AS I BELIEVE: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION THROUGH ART, MUSIC, CULTURE AND CONSCIENCE”

Contributed by Noreen Ahmad Ariff

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on 10 December and it is almost the time of the year again when the Malaysian Bar celebrates the Day. This year, the Bar’s Human Rights Day will be held on Sunday, 9 December 2007.

Human rights is something that cannot be confined within four walls; it can soar as high as the sky and as wide as the ocean. The right to believe and express oneself finds its voice through various means - music, art, culture and conscience. Our Human Rights Day this time is therefore themed: “As I Believe: Freedom of Expression through Art, Music, Culture and Conscience”.

If the United Nations celebrates the Day in New York, ours will be held in two parts in Kuala Lumpur. At 7.30 am, we will commence with a peaceful walk, the “Peoples’ Freedom Walk” from Sogo Complex through Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman-Jalan Raja to the old dame of Arts, the Central Market through Jalan Leboh Pasar Besar.

At Central Market, the second part of the Day will be held from 9.00 am onwards. There will be a host of events including poetry reading, Orang Asli cultural dance and performances by the underrated but talented Dr Wan Zawawi, and our own ‘home-grown’ lawyers, Fahri Azzat, Syamsuriatina Ishak, Dipendra Harshad Rai and Lai Chee Hoe. There will be other guest appearances being lined up.

The highlight of the Day will be the “When Faith Meets Law” multi-religious panel session discussing conscience rights. At this session, we seek to give religious groups the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns on faith, law and human rights. Prominent figures from the various religious groups in Malaysia have been invited as speakers.

There will also be a session titled “I wish that…”. Here, the various NGOs and groups will present their particular demands on issues affecting them. It will be a fun day out.

As C.S Lewis once said, “We are what we believe we are”. Share with us what you believe. See you on Sunday, 9 December 2007!

FESTIVAL OF RIGHTS 2007

Festival of Rights 2007

‘As I Believe: Freedom of Expression through Art, Music, Culture and Conscience’
9 December 2007

Part I: 0730 SOGO Complex - Peoples’ Freedom Walk
Part II: 0900 Central Market - Festivities and Conversations



Human Rights Day is celebrated worldwide on 10 December every year. The Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee continues the celebration of the ‘Day’ by hosting the “Festival of Rights” once again.

The theme this year is “As I Believe: Freedom of Expression through Art, Music, Culture and Conscience” showcasing the indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relation of various rights in our daily lives.

The celebration will be in two parts:

(1) Part I starts at with the ‘Peoples’ Freedom Walk’ from the SOGO Complex through Dataran Merdeka to Central Market. We will congregate in front of the SOGO Complex at 0700. This Walk is open to everyone who is welcome to bring along banners highlighting human rights issues that they are concerned about.

(2) Part II will be held at the staging area of Central Market. Participants will be served refreshments while enjoying the festivities. Among others, a multi-religious panel will discuss conscience rights in the ‘Conversations’ segment titled “When Faith Meets Law”. We have invited key religious leaders from the major faiths (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Taoism) to take part in this session where everyone is encouraged to express their views.

Further, we will be treated to performances by some of our ‘home-grown’ artists/activists such as Fahri Azzat, Noreen Ariff, Syamsuriatina Ishak, Lai Chee Hoe, Dipendra Harshad Rai, Dr Wan Zawawi, Amir Muhammad and bands, ‘Cassarrah’ and ‘The Wave’. There will also be surprise guest appearances!

To recap, the programme is as follows:

0700 Congregate in front of SOGO Complex
0730 Short briefing on the Peoples’ Freedom Walk
0800 Walk from SOGO to Central Market through Dataran Merdeka
0900 Welcome speech by Chair, Human Rights Committee
0910 Breakfast
0920 Poetry Reading
0935 Conversations: “When Faith Meets Law”
(colouring session for children commences)
1145 Cultural performance by the Orang Asli (Kumpulan Kebudayaan SPNS)
1215 “I wish that ……” session
1245 Stage performances by various artists/activists
1400 Closing speech by President, Bar Council

We hope that everyone will be able to join us and take part in this celebration. There will also be booths to cater for all ages at Central Market - the kids, the young and the old.

Please email rezib@malaysianbar.org.my by 23 November 2007 if you shall be participating in order that we may make the necessary arrangements.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Rezib Mohamad, at 03-20316367 or rezib@malaysianbar.org.my.

Edmund Bon Tai Soon
Chairperson
Human Rights Committee


The Poster

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Welcome

Welcome to the Human Rights Day Blog, a place where contributors from the members of the Bar can place up their posts, links, pictures and videos in the lead up to the Human Rights Day.