Human Rights Committee
A BLUEPRINT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
I. Mission Statement
To uphold, promote and protect human rights in accordance with international human rights norms.
II. Organisational Structure
1. Policy & Law Reform Working Group
1.1 Terms of Reference
• To undertake research related to human rights law and jurisprudence.
• To document, discuss and adopt policy positions on human rights.
• To monitor and review legislation relating to human rights.
• To make recommendations for law reform.
• To be the first ‘port–of–call’/‘springboard’ of the Committee.
1.2 Areas of Focus for 2007–08
– Domestic adoption and application of international human rights norms.
– Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
• Implementation of the Bar resolutions adopted at the 61st Annual General Meeting on 17 March 2007 in terms of research, policy and law reform (if any) – i.e. issues of corporal punishment, destruction of places of worship and the state of emergency in Malaysia.
• Withdrawal of all reservations by the Malaysian Government in relation to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (and related Protocols, if any).
• Full implementation through or rectification of domestic legislation (where applicable) by the Malaysian Government in relation to provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (and related Protocols, if any).
• Ratification by the Malaysian Government of international human rights treaties particularly, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (and related Protocols, if any).
• Promote gender equality and eliminate gender discrimination:
– Finalise the Memorandum to Revise Laws in Contravention of Gender Equality.
– Draft Gender Equality Bill (with the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality).
2. Advocacy & Public Relations Working Group
2.1 Terms of Reference
• To advocate and lobby policy positions on human rights with policy–makers, stakeholders and society.
• To generate interaction and discourse between policy–makers, stakeholders and society on human rights norms and issues.
• To organise and provide campaigns, interpretive platforms and law–declaring fora on human rights norms and issues.
• To forge alliances and partnerships, and increase co–operation with expert human rights bodies, non–governmental organisations, national human rights commissions and civil society in the furtherance of human rights advocacy.
• To build working relationships, liaise with and lobby the media and other mediums of advocacy on human rights issues.
• To raise funds within the Bar and through external sources to support the work of the Committee.
2.2 Areas of Focus for 2007–08
• Implementation of the Bar resolutions adopted at the 61st Annual General Meeting on 17 March 2007 in terms of advocacy and public relations (if any) – i.e. issues of corporal punishment, destruction of places of worship and the state of emergency in Malaysia.
• Follow–up work on the following campaigns:
– Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission Campaign
– No Detention Without Trial Video Project
• Follow–up work within/with the following coalitions:
– Malaysian Coalition for an International Criminal Court (MICC)
– Article 11
– NGO Coalition on 50 Tahun Merdeka
– Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)
– Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)
• Organising the following events:
– Human Rights Day (10 December)
– Closed–Door Dialogue on Issues Facing a Multi–Racial Society (with the National Young Lawyers Committee and the Syariah Law Committee)
– 50th Merdeka Celebrations: ‘Remembering the Peoples who Built this Nation’ (through the NGO Coalition on 50 Tahun Merdeka)
• Follow–up work with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia on the following issues:
– Establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism.
– Capacity–building in relation to the ASEAN Women and Children Commission.
– Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
– Ratification of international human rights treaties and withdrawal of reservations in relation to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
– Ratification of the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court.
– Prisons reform.
3. Education & Training Working Group
3.1 Terms of Reference
• To institutionalise a culture of human rights and norm acceptance/internalisation through capacity–building.
• To promote human rights through educational activities.
• To train, equip and empower members of the Bar, policy–makers, stakeholders and society on human rights norms, principles and tools for implementation.
• To expand the pool of leaders and role–players in human rights work.
3.2 Areas of Focus for 2007–08
• Develop and formulate a standardised human rights training module.
• ‘Bringing Human Rights Home’ tour of 5 training programmes in 5 States.
• Increase co–operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in human rights education.
• Judicial colloquium co–organised with the Women’s Centre for Change and Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.
• Identification of 10 new human rights lawyers able and willing to further the cause.
4. Complaints & Interventions Strike––Force
4.1 Terms of Reference
• To receive reports or complaints of human rights abuses and violations.
• To take instructions and interview complainants and victims.
• To provide advice by legal opinions or redress by legal interventions through the justice system.
• To monitor, highlight and make urgent appeals on cases of human rights abuses and violations.
• To build a database of documentation on abuses and violations.
• To build a precedent–bank of legal documentation.
4.2 Areas of Focus for 2007–08
• ‘Stock–taking’ of all human rights cases the Bar has appeared in before the courts, and to decide further action.
• Monitor custodial deaths through holding watching/amicus briefs.
• Monitor detainees held in Kamunting under the Internal Security Act and in Simpang Renggam under the Emergency Ordinance.
• Monitor the ‘fast–track’ immigration courts.
• To process pending complaints/cases before the Committee.
• To strengthen redress mechanisms at each State Bar.
• Where necessary, provide advice or take action by filing selected test cases.
5. Publications Working Group
5.1 Terms of Reference
• To create an enhanced interest in and awareness of human rights.
• To document human rights issues and cases.
• To disseminate and channel information, knowledge, learning and ideas regarding human rights.
• To articulate and lead public opinion.
• To make calls for action and mobilise support.
5.2 Areas of Focus for 2007–08
• Publish 2nd edition of the ‘Red Book’ (with Tindakan ANti–PenyalahGunaan KuasA Polis, TANGKAP)
• Publish the ‘Human Writes’ section of PRAXIS under the auspices of the Publications Committee.
• Contribute articles for the ‘Human Rights and Law’ column in ‘The Sun’ and ‘Hak Asasi & Undang–Undang’ column in ‘Utusan Malaysia’ monthly, and for other collaborative initiatives with the media.
• Contribute news reports, events and articles to the Bar website regularly.
6. The Orang Asli Project
6.1 Terms of Reference
• To build and support the Orang Asli communities.
• To monitor and document issues or problems faced by the Orang Asli communities.
• To provide assistance to the Orang Asli communities in education, human rights and legal matters.
• To work with governmental agencies, focus groups, non–governmental organisations and the corporate sector on Orang Asli issues.
6.2 Areas of Focus for 2007–08
• Increase communication and link–up with Orang Asli communities.
• Embark on awareness and education programmes for lawyers
and Orang Asli communities.
• Undertake test cases particularly on issues regarding the recognition of Orang Asli rights.
• Lobby the Government to gazette ancestral/native land as Orang Asli reserve land.
• Lobby the Government to pass legislation specifically to recognise and protect Orang Asli rights.
• Commence systematic advocacy efforts with the Department of Orang Asli Affairs.