On the eve of World Human Rights Day, a string of arrests…

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Five lawyers and three activists were arrested this morning when they attempted to march in Kuala Lumpur ahead of World Human Rights Day tomorrow.

That they should be arrested while trying to uphold the right to freedom of assembly shows us just what the authorities think of human rights. It reveals utter contempt of basic rights by a morally bankrupt administration.

Those arrested were among 50 Malaysians marching to demand their basic rights. A huge press contingent of another 50 were on hand to cover the march.

The eight are:

  • Sivarasa Rasiah
  • N Surendran
  • Amer Hamzah
  • Eric Paulsen
  • Anthony Andu
  • Noorazah Othman
  • Latheefa Koya
  • And one other individual

Read Aliran president P Ramakrishnan’s statement here.

Apart from the eight, Bar Council human rights committee chairperson Edmund Bon has also been arrested for allegedly trying to prevent local authority personnel from removing banners outside the Bar Council’s headquarters in KL.

A Bar Council official told me that the banners had been placed on the exterior of their building, “clearly within our property”. Bon was arrested after he tried to prevent the authorities from taking away the banners.

How ridiculous the authorities look in the eyes of the world. For a government that is so concerned about its international image, this is not going to help.

Update: And now, Malayiakini reports that police have arrested Keadilan’s Tian Chua, Pas’ Mohamad Sabu and a dozen others, mainly from Pas’ Unit Amal, who took part in the 10 Nov Bersih rally.

All those arrested are lawyers, opposition activists and other concerned Malaysians who are worried about the erosion of democracy and human rights in Malaysia. People like Bon, Latheefa (whom I sometimes talk to when writing articles for IPS) and Amer Hamzah (who has contributed articles to Aliran Monthly), Eric Paulsen and Sivarasa represent the best of Malaysians and give us hope. They are courageous lawyers who are passionate about human rights, irrespective of ethnic and religious considerations. They champion the underdog and those whose rights have been trampled upon like real lawyers are supposed to do.

Latheefa has done some sterling work in championing the rights of migrant workers,

Amer Hamzah in highlighting the plight of refugees and asylum seekers,

Bon in promoting the cause of human rights among lawyers,

Sivarasa and Eric Paulsen in their exemplary campaigning on human rights issues.

These are true Malaysians we can all be proud of.

This morning at Sunday Mass, I couldn’t help thinking of ordinary Malaysians crying out for justice and an end to oppression and poverty. Today’s official scripture readings during the season of Advent (to prepare for the birth of Christ on Christmas) seemed particularly apt. It reveals a God who is deeply concerned about his people – especially the poor and the oppressed – and who wants them to be ruled with justice and peace.

In these times, when it has become so easy to use religion to create divisions among us, let us remind ourselves that we are children of the One God. No matter what our religious beliefs or affiliations, let us join hands and ask the Lord to release all those unjustly detained in Malaysia and to bring about justice and compassion in our land.

The priest, in his sermon this morning, said that justice would not come by itself. We have to go out and create justice in our everyday lives wherever we are.

At about the same time this morning, Latheefa, Bon, Amer Hamzah and the others were arrested for doing just that.

Isaiah

Chapter 11

1
But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
2
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
3
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
4
But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
5
Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Psalms

Chapter 72

1
Of Solomon.
2
O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings; That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment,
7
That abundance may flourish in his days, great bounty, till the moon be no more.
8
May he rule from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth.
12
For he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help.
13
He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves the lives of the poor.
17
May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun, may his name endure. May the tribes of the earth give blessings with his name; may all the nations regard him as favoured.
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rojakgirl

For the sake of my children, I pray that God’s Justice prevails…for IT IS HE RESCUES THE POOR WHEN THEY CRY OUT, THE OPPRESSED WHO HAVE NO ONE TO HELP…

Rev. (Dr.) Thomas

Every one, the Govt., the Judiciary, the Police and every citizen must abide by the supreme law of Malaysia – the Federal Constitution. Whether you are the PM, Judge, AG, IGP or any ordinary citizen, you must uphold the Constitution. Strange that those who are supposed to uphold the Constitution are violating it. Shouldn’t they be arrested too! It is also strange to note the kind of leadership that we have in place today in this nation. They dont seem to know how to handle and deal with the situation that has risen of late. The statements by those on… Read more »

fuminari

(deleted) bodawi is leading malaysia nowhere except to the temple of the doomed!!from within,umno hav to do something before its to late even for themselves to keep their ‘stinking ship’ stay afloat. (he) is hitting the “panic buttons” at his own whims n fancy without any sense of human right consideration.the umno (deleted) aligned with him are treating this country n running it as if it is their own private property.. why??so that he n the gang could continue to (deleted) rakyat n the nation big time!! he is not even intelligent enough to understand why people hav chosen the… Read more »

Ronnie Francis Dicom

Finally ,I am seeing that after 50 yrs,we “Malaysians” are standing together as one irrespective of Race and Religion.The Authorities should be able to realise that cowling tactics cannot work.What will work is a sincere effort to address the imbalances of poverty and injustices in our society.The poor ( again Race does not matter),and the downtrodden are seeking for help and justice.Those who are marching ,look like they are willing to risk their lifes to bring home a very important point.Correct the imbalances and do it sincerely .Enough of pulling wool over the eyes of the Rakyat.What is needed now… Read more »

GEDDEM TATA

MENTERI LAWYER TAK KOMEN PUN, TAK KATA LAWYER YG BUAT DEMO
PE NYAYA……KKK,GOD BLESS LAWYERS AND MALAYSIAN EXCLUDE MR SAMMI AND THE GANG

Dian Abdullah

It is a sad day for all Malaysians. Lets join hands and hold daily candle lighting at dataran merdeka till election day. 8pm-10pm. (I think) Pak Lah wants to create havoc in this country so that he can rule for life. Why do you think he extended his cohorts retirement. He does not understand the meaning of KARMA. He should be name Mr Cleaner. As for Khairy I pray that when you fall … you never ever come up again otherwise your son will receive your karma.

Andy

dear yh, if u report to the ACA, be prepared to declare your asset and be prepared that u are the one who end up in jail!

Bukit Chandan

We condemn the Police Force and the Government for not letting the peaceful assembly in KL yesterday.
…..

Best Regards………
[email protected]

Luke

YES. brother! These are indeed trying times. My prayers are for all courageous people in Malaysia and the rest of the world who use peaceful means to fight for justice, equality and truth. ‘Battles’ may be lost but the ‘war’ will be ultimately won by those who are right because the Supreme Power in the heavens above is always with the righteous.

mamat

the more the goverment arrests the more resistance and rallies there will be.loser will be goverment

yh

i thought the PM said protest is a fundamental right in democracy. huh, you cant even place banners within your property? arrested for stopping these DBKL goons for trespassing? i never seen these same goons doing that to the traders near central market although boxes after boxes are on the 5 foot walkway. each morning, they pass by and say hello to the boss. how friendly, huh? may be i should make a report to ACA, no?
my, my looks like another classic example of cakap tak serupa bikin.

Mike

It’s about time everyone of us walk the streets to show our support. See how many can they arrest and how are they going to cater to the mass in lock ups? What human rights are the goverment talking about ? Just want to play Big Bro role in the Asia but we all know how capable is the PM. You shamed the country and the Rakyat.
Say got more important things to do than to call for elections .. i think so not. He’s just lost at what to do. (deleted)

tan

ITS TIME FOR ALL MALAYSIAN TO MAKE A CHANGE TO THIS BN GOVERMENT. ITS TIME FOR ALL MALAYSIAN TO PUT A STOP TO THIS RULING UMNO. ITS TIMES FOR ALL MALAYSIAN TO HAVE FREEOM IN SPEECH. ITS TIME FOR ALL MALAYSIAN TO HAVE FREE RELIGION. ITS TIME FOR ALL MALAYSIAN TO HAVE PURE MULTI RACIAL HARMONY. ITS TIME FOR ALL MALAYSIAN TO LIVE IN THIS NATION THAT FREE CORRUPTION AND CHRONISIM. MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON US AND LET THERE BE YOUR PRESENT TO US IN THIS PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE TO SOLVE, LET US SEE YOUR SALVATION IN… Read more »

Concerned citizen

Malaysians will make the change.

Malaysians are educated and informed.

Badawi will be left clutching straws.

PRAISE THE LORD! HALLELUYAH!

Shobhan

No man is above the LAW! GOD’S LAW of JUSTICE, EQUALITY and FREEDOM OF THE OPPRESSED! There cannot be smoke without fire. The Malaysian as a whole race is up on arms for justice ,truth,equality and condemnation of the minorities to a life of perennial suffering without freedom. We as a whole nation believing in the universal law of LOVE, TRUTH and JUSTICE should not let this condition prolong and prevail. Though I am not a Christian, I believe what Jesus said to his LORD. ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’. This a universal believe. People… Read more »

Eye on Penang

Yet another shameful example of the lack of Human Rights and Justice in Malaysia.
Archaic and draconian laws are used selectively whenever and wherever it suits the government.
Malaysia is showing its true face to the whole world, since by trampling on legitimate peaceful gatherings and marches, they are confirming their oppressive, monopolistic and dictatorial tendencies.
Truth and true justice will prevail, good will overcome evil.