Malaysiakini Letter

Halt all caning punishments pending treaty ratification

Joint Action Group for Gender Equality  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | The Pakatan Harapan government must strongly condemn caning as a form of punishment pending the country’s ratification of six United Nations treaties pertaining to Human Rights.

This includes the most recent judgement by Terengganu Syariah Court judge Kamalruazmi Ismail on Aug 12 in the case of two women convicted for attempting sexual relations.

On July 2, Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah had pledged for the government to sign six more international human rights conventions and to achieve the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

More recently, on Aug 21, Suhakam echoed this call for more treaties for be ratified by Malaysia. These treaties include the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Whipping as a form of punishment violates international human rights principles which regard whipping and other forms of corporal punishment as cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Moreover, research has shown that whipping is not an effective deterrent, even for violent and sexual crimes.

The court’s decision to whip the two women comes amidst public controversy over the acceptability of LGBT people in our community. The controversy, which has gathered considerable international attention, damages Malaysia’s reputation as a progressive country and especially tarnishes the image of Pakatan Harapan as a champion of inclusive development for all.

To allow the caning to proceed will reflect poorly on Malaysia’s sincerity to ratify the treaties.

To sanction cruelty and torture towards members of the LGBT community who already experience all forms of violence and discrimination in our country will only serve to incite more violence and hatred towards them.

JAG urges the government to put an immediate halt to the caning of the two women in Terengganu and to rise above the race and religious differences and curb all forms of hate provocations and crimes in our community, especially towards vulnerable minority groups.

Issued by the following JAG member organisations:

  1. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
  2. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  3. Justice For Sisters
  4. Perak Women For Women (PWW)
  5. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  6. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
  7. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  8. Tenaganita
  9. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  10. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)

JAG is a coalition of 13 women’s rights organisations in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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