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Strengthen the right to freedom of religion

Graphic: People standing inside a mosque

The call by SUHAKAM follows a recent crackdown on a Shia minority group in Kelantan for practising their religion.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has called on the government to take immediate steps to strengthen the enjoyment of fundamental human right to freedom of religion.

The call follows a recent crackdown on a Shia minority group in Kelantan for practising their religion, despite their right to do so being guaranteed in the Federal Constitution

"The arrest, including children, indicates severe intolerance for minority faiths, including Muslims, and can be construed as a move towards extremism," SUHAKAM Chairperson Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement.

"As a result, a population of Malaysians has been deprived of their basic constitutional right to freedom of religion."

Razali said SUHAKAM did not want to see a situation of growing religious intolerance, discrimination, social hostility or incitement to violence based on religion or belief.

"The glaring inequality facing religious minorities has not changed since Pakatan Harapan coming into power, despite the government's promise to end discrimination in a moderate, progressive and tolerant Malaysia," he said.

"The government must immediately take steps towards guaranteeing legal protections and rights for all religious minorities and to reinforce peaceful and sustainable coexistence among Malaysians.

"Given the democratic transition in Malaysia, many countries will follow with great interest the developments in Malaysia at the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and we can expect the situation of minorities will be a focus for Malaysia.

"SUHAKAM stands ready to play a facilitative role and hopes that the government will take fair and constructive steps towards providing equal rights for all religious groups in Malaysia."

Date: 6 September 2018

Source: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

Image credits

  1. People standing inside a mosque - Phalinn Ooi, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2MVuoYZ