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