Malaysia will ratify ICERD, other rights treaties, UN told

Foreign ministry secretary-general Ramlan Ibrahim says Malaysia is also serious about protecting human rights. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian delegation at the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland, tonight reaffirmed the government’s decision to ratify all remaining UN rights treaties.

Foreign ministry secretary-general Ramlan Ibrahim said Putrajaya is considering ratifying the remaining six international human rights treaties, including the International Convention Eliminating Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

He said this would be done following consultations with stakeholders.

Discussions between the foreign ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers are currently underway.

Malaysia has only ratified three UN rights treaties. These are the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Among the treaties left to be ratified are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Ramlan also said that the government’s moratorium on all executions until the death penalty is abolished is indicative of a “new, fresh, narrative on human rights”.

He said this showed Malaysia is serious about human rights.

He said Putrajaya would also have committees to review provisions in the Printing Presses and Publications Act, Communications and Multimedia Act, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act, and the Prevention of Crime Act.

Ramlan said inclusivity is one of the core principles of the government.

This is evident through its commitment to narrow the income gap between the rich and the poor and to ensure no state is left behind in terms of development.

He also highlighted the recent consensus reached by the chief ministers and menteris besar to raise the minimum age to marry. This follows the prime minister’s order for state governments to raise the minimum age to 18 for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

On the matter of having 30% women representation in policy-making, Ramlan said that Malaysia had succeeded in doing so as it currently has 35.8% of women in decision-making positions in the public sector.

The live screening of the talk is being hosted in Bangsar by the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (Comango) and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).