(Petaling Jaya, Friday):
Raja Aziz Addruse, former Bar Council
Chairman and former HAKAM
President, Steven Gan, Malaysiakini
chief editor, Dr. Nasir Hashim
of Suara Warga Pertiwi and MTUC
Secretary-General G Rajasekaran will
join the “Round Table Conference on Suhakam Report 2001 – Human Rights or
Wrongs” on Sunday to exercise the
“oversight” over Suhakam in the discharge of its statutory role to
“protect and promote” human rights which had been
neglected by Parliament for two years.
Other panellists at the Round Table
will include HAKAM President,
Ramdas Tikamdas; former Bar Council
Chairman, Zainur Zakaria; Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) coordinator
Collin Nicholas; SUARAM Executive Director, Cynthia Gabriel; Women NGOs
representative, Irene Xavier and Concerned
Citizen Group Coordinator, Charles Santiago.
The Round Table Conference, to be held
at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (upstairs) on Sunday, 23rd June
2002 (10 am to 1 pm) will provide a forum to review and assess Suhakam’s
performance in its two years of existence, whether in the protection of
fundamental human rights like the liberties of the person, freedoms of speech,
assembly and association; how it had fared
in dealing with various controversial issues like the Internal Security Act
arrests, the Kesas Highway Assembly, the Kampong Medan racial attacks, the
suppression and denials of press freedoms; erosion of academic freedoms of
university students and lecturers; the grievances of plantation workers and
It will also be an opportunity to
examine the efficacy of Suhakam in the promotion of
human rights whether in ensuring a stronger legal system, improved rule
of law and strengthened independence of the judiciary; a better functioning
electoral system; greater awareness and implementation of economic, social and
cultural rights; improved linkage between human rights and development or the
ratification by the government of international human rights covenants,
instruments and standards.
The Round Table Conference on Suhakam
Report will also review and assess Parliament’s performance of its oversight
responsibilities over Suhakam, as a
Parliament which fails its cardinal duty to provide the fullest back-up to Suhakam by mainstreaming
human rights and holding the
Government to account for grave breaches of human rights constitutes a major
flaw in the system of protection and promotion of human rights and
should be a major concern of the NGO community and civil society.
I have received complaints that it has
not been possible for members of the public to get or buy copies of the latest
Suhakam Annual Report 2001, not even from the Suhakam office itself.
This does not speak well for the
efficiency, accountability or transparency of Suhakam.
As a public service, DAP is prepared to make copies of the Suhakam Annual Report 2001 available at RM20 a copy, and those interested should contact Ms Nancy Wong or Ms Yong (Tel: 03-79578022; Fax: 03-79575718; Email: [email protected]) for delivery at the Round Table Conference on Sunday.
As admission to the Round Table
Conference is by invitation only, those interested should register
themselves by Saturday 1pm.