(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Malaysia should use her two-year term as United Nations Security Council member beginning today to develop into a leading and respected international voice for human rights and democracy.
It is most unfortunate and regrettable that the Malaysian government had last year opted out of UN General Assembly-designated International Human Rights Year in an international commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and that it had failed to respond or co-operate with the United Nations review of international promotion and protection of human rights on the fifth anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna.
During our two-year term as UN Security Council member, the Malaysian government must take a policy decision whether the country wants to have a high international profile as a leading defender and advocate of human rights and democracy for all peoples in the world as well as in the international arena of world politics, or whether we are going to condone human rights abuses and undemocratic practices.
Apart the priority areas of the Mideast peace process and the conflict in Kosovo, Malaysia should develop an agenda at the UN Security Council to high profile the promotion and protection of human rights in keeping with the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action urging the international community to co-operate towards a better implementation of human rights, prevention of human rights abuses and eradication of the gravest human rights violations.
To enable Malaysia can make use of our two-year term as UN Security Council member to develop into a leading and respected international voice for human rights and democracy, Parliament should set up a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs with the specific purpose of monitoring and assisting in the achievement of this objective.