On the 12th of November, LSESU Malaysia Club welcomed Cynthia Gabriel, director of Malaysia leading human rights organisation SUARAM to LSE to discuss about human rights issues, Malaysia’s growing civil society movement and new generation of inspiring young activists. Members had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Cynthia and at the same time express their views and thoughts on the issues as well as to learn how to get involved to help in building a better Malaysia.
Over the last 3 decades, Malaysia has been plagued by issues of spiralling corruption, authoritarian rule, poor governance, race politics and worsening human rights violations. On the brink of Malaysia’s 13th General Election, a strong and growing civil society movement in Malaysia is calling for long-overdue democracy reforms as well as adherence to international human rights norms and standards.
Despite repeated government promises, many are concerned that human rights in Malaysia remain under threat as the government severely limits the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association while permitting detention without trial, ignoring police brutality and compromising the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities. Most recently, in April 2012, the largest public demonstration in Malaysian history called for clean and fair elections but was met with tear gas, water cannons, harassment of human rights defenders and media censorship (including the censorship of media coverage by the BBC). A newly enacted public assembly bill aims to severely restrict future public assemblies.
A video recording of the session was also made available.