Ensure respect for peaceful assemblies
Graphic: People take part in a protest rally, Malaysia
SUHKAM has reiterated that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by everyone.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has advised authorities, especially the police, that they have an obligation to protect peaceful assemblies.
SUHKAM said in a statement that law enforcement officers had an obligation to protect all participants from individuals or groups of individuals, "including agent provocateurs and counter-demonstrators" who aim to disrupt an assembly.
"Such an obligation does not rest with the organisers," the statement said.
SUHKAM reiterated that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by everyone.
However, while participating in public assemblies is "a legal right", SUHAKAM added that only peaceful assemblies are protected under the law.
"An assembly is to be considered peaceful if its organisers have clarified that its intentions are peaceful and have duly conveyed them to the authorities," the statement said.
SUHAKAM also reminded all participants of public assemblies to "desist from any form of violence, threats or intimidation" when demonstrating.
"Such actions are criminal in nature and offensive to our concept of justice."
SUHAKAM also expressed its concern over the recent attack by some members of the Red Shirts against Bersih supporters in Sabak Bernam.
The national human rights institution said it denounced such actions and hopes that all incidents of violence will be appropriately investigated and addressed.
Date: 12 October 2016
- People take part in a protest rally, Malaysia - Lutfi Hakim, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2eQNRdT