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NGOs in Asia and Europe condemn Najib

 | July 9, 2011

NGOs across the globe have called for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to rescind his government's decision to outlaw Bersih 2.0.

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 120 international NGOs, who are part of the Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum (AEPF), have condemned the Najib administration for its clampdown on Bersih 2.0 and the call for electoral reforms.

The group has also demanded the immediate release of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, who were detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and for the government to rescind its decision to declare Bersih an illegal organization.

AEPF also called for the Malaysian police to stop arresting peaceful political activists promoting Bersih 2.0.

In a statement issued yesterday, AEPF said: “May we remind you that Malaysia, as a member of ASEM (with whom we at AEPF actively engage), adheres to the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework which ‘envisage(s) Asia and Europe as an area of peace and shared development, uphold(s) the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect for democracy, the rule of law, equality, justice and human rights.”

ASEM is the Asian-Europe meeting established in 1996 as a platform for inter-regional dialogue.

The statement also noted that despite the King’s intervention and plead for peace and dialogue from both sides, police continued to make arrests while some remain detained.

Police, it said, are using the existing ban on the coalition by the Home Ministry to justifiy their actions.

More than 250 people have been arrested in relation to the planned rally today. This morning, the police have arrested more that 21 people suspected of being protesters.

Allow march

Bersih decided to call off the planned street protest after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin intervened on Sunday, amid heightened tension and called on both sides to sit down for consultation.

But when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak backpedalled on his promise to provide the group with a venue to gather and gave police discretionary power to decide if the rally could be held, the coalition of 62 NGOs decided to gather and march towards Stadium Merdeka later today.

AEFP is calling for Najib to allow the rally to take place and also demanded the same for Umno Youth and right wing group Perkasa to hold their counter-rallies.

“Bersih leaders have publicly pledged that the planned July 9 march will be peaceful.

“The Malaysian government should allow the march to proceed and clearly undertake not to unilaterally block, disrupt, or otherwise break up the march as long as it remains peaceful.

“Similarly, the planned marches by Perkasa and Umno Youth should also be allowed under the same provisos and conditions that they are peaceful.

“We call on the authorities to confine their role to maintaining the peace by keeping separate all three marches and rallies to be held on July 9 so that there would be no incidents between marchers,” read the statement.


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