In UN review, Putrajaya affirms commitment to ratify ICERD

Zurairi Ar
Speaking in Geneva, Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim said Putrajaya was currently mulling the process towards ratifying the treaties. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 8 — Malaysia has affirmed its intentions to accede to international human rights treaties, including the controversial International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Speaking at Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim said Putrajaya was currently mulling the process towards ratifying them.

“The Malaysian government is committed to accede to the remaining six international human right instruments.

“The process towards ratification is currently being deliberated,” he said in his opening speech.

The other conventions are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Convention on the Prevention of Enforced Disappearance; the Convention Against Torture, the International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families; and the Rome Statute.

“The internal process has begun through discussions between the minister of foreign affairs and the attorney general,” he said.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (left, light-coloured jacket) watches a livecast of Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva November 8, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Some in the Malay-Muslim majority oppose ICERD, which they say will eliminate the so-called “special position” of the community.

Recently, Umno and PAS Youth wings held a protest in Kuala Lumpur to protest ICERD. Similarly, last week, Muslim coalition Ummah protested in front of Parliament.

Held every four-and-a-half years, the UPR is a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) mechanism that was established in 2007 to improve the treatment of human rights in all 193 UN member states.

The process involves a three-hour interactive dialogue, where UNHRC members will question Malaysia based on reports prepared by the government, UN agencies and stakeholders.

The Malaysian delegation includes representatives from several ministries, the Attorney General’s Chambers, Jakim, the Orang Asli Development Department and the Sarawak state government.

The three countries serving as rapporteurs for Malaysia’s review are South Africa, Nepal, and Cuba.

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