Biweekly Human Rights Roundup

Death Penalty, Child Marriage and Freedom of Religion… Human Rights Round-up (24/01/20)

  1. Singapore’s execution of death sentence alleged to be unlawful and “brutal
24 Jan 1


Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has been informed by a Singaporean prison official that if the rope breaks during the hanging, the prisoner will be yanked in opposite directions and kicked on the neck hard to simulate hanging injuries. LFL advisor N Surendran said it was possible that the Singapore’s government leaders including its home minister are unaware of the matter and that every death row prisoners in Changi, including Malaysians, are in danger of suffering “this excruciating death”.

2. Police lockups to have Custodial Medical Unit



In collaboration with the Health Ministry, Federal police Management Director Datuk Abd Rahim Jaafar announced an initiative to set up a Custodial Medical Unit (UMU) at police lockups to reduce the number of deaths in custody. Datuk Abd Rahim said, in line with Rule 10 of the Lock-up Rules 1953, each detainee will be examined to ascertain whether they are fit to be detained or require immediate medical attention. He also expressed hopes that this examination will prevent inappropriate incidents, such as the alleged police torture and abuse, from happening.

3. Underage marriage to be addressed by Five-Year Strategic Plan

24 Jan 6
(Amazons Watch Magazine)


ASASI is glad to share the news that the Malaysian government has a National Strategic Plan to tackle child marriage. Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who launched the plan, said the government has identified six major causes of underage marriage: poverty; lack or no access to reproductive health education; lack of access to education and society’s stigma that marriage is the best choice to solve problems. For the implementation and development of programmes under the plan, a steering committee has been set up as a platform for implementing agencies to report on the “status, issues and challenges as well as suggestions for improvements for each programme that is being implemented”.

4. Human Rights Watch: Malaysia’s Human Rights reforms are still slow

24 Jan 5

In its 2020 report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) mentioned that Malaysia is still very slow in reforming human rights. HRW acknowledged that the new government has taken steps in upholding human rights, such as repealing Anti-Fake News law and strengthening parliamentary independence to consider rights issues. However, Malaysia still fails to accomplish reforms in important areas such as freedom of religion, child marriage, and LGBT rights.

5. Leave to appeal in declaring as non-Muslim allowed in the Federal Court

(Ask Legal)


The Federal Court has granted leave to appeal (permission for a party to appeal to a higher court) for Rosliza Ibrahim’s declaration that she is a Buddhist and not a Muslim. Her originating summons claimed that she was brought up by her late Buddhist mother, not by the Muslim father and no registration of marriage between her parents. Previously her case was dismissed because it was held that her case was under the Syariah Court’s jurisdiction and not the Civil High Court.

6. Myanmar ordered by the ICJ to protect Rohingya from genocide

24 Jan 7

#RefugeeRights #Genocide

The United Nation’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), unanimously declared there was prima facie evidence of Myanmar breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention and warned that the estimated 600,000 Rohingyas remaining in Myanmar were “extremely vulnerable” to attacks by the military.  Thus, the ICJ ordered for emergency “provisional measures” to be enacted in the country. The ICJ’s orders are legally binding on Myanmar.

7. Stay of execution granted for SIS until appeal 


(Sisters in Islam)


The High Court has granted a stay of execution of a fatwa against Sisters in Islam (SIS). The 2014 Selangor fatwa declared SIS as deviant and its enforcement was decided in 2019.  SIS Executive Director Rozana Isa said not only the threat of enforcement will affect the operations of SIS, under current legal provisions, it is a Shariah criminal offence to go against a fatwa. Rozana added that despite being heavily scrutinized, many women and men still seek for their help and advice regarding many issues, for example “child marriage, female genital mutilation, children born out of wedlock, marital rape, polygamy, maintenance, etc” and they should not bear the risk of such enforcement of the fatwa.

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