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Repeal laws that punish lesbian relations by caning

Graphic: SUHAKAM Chairperson Tan Sri Razali Ismail talks with journalists

Caning in any setting violates the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under international law, SUHAKAM said.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has criticised the sentencing of two women to caning for attempted lesbian relations and urged the government to repeal all laws that impose such punishment.

SUHAKAM also called for the implementation of the punishment imposed by the Terengganu shariah court to be stayed and reviewed immediately.

SUHAKAM Chairperson Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement that the decision of the shariah court on 12 August 2018 to sentence two women to six strokes of caning each and a fine of RM3,300 was "humiliating, demeaning and an attempt to publicly embarrass the women and their families".

He said caning in any setting violated the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment under international law.

"SUHAKAM also emphasises that all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited by customary international law and international treaties that Malaysia has acceded to, as well as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment that the government plans to ratify," Razali said.

He rejected "the farcical argument that was embarrassingly" advanced by the Attorney-General's Chambers during Malaysia's review by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on 20 February 2018 in Geneva that the caning method under the shariah legal system was done as "humanely as possible".

Razali also said the mere fact of inflicting physical pain on another human being was an act of violence, cruelty and the debasement of human dignity.

Date: 15 August 2018

Source: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

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  1. SUHAKAM Chairperson Tan Sri Razali Ismail talks with journalists - SUAKAM