16 May 2012
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) calls on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) to immediately conduct an independent and open inquiry into the severe human rights violations committed by the police during the BERSIH 3.0: Duduk Bantah peaceful assembly which took place at Kuala Lumpur on 28 April 2012.
The BERSIH 3.0: Duduk Bantah rally was organised as an extension of BERSIH 2.0’s on-going struggle for clean and fair elections in Malaysia. On 28 April 2012, it is estimated that around 250,000 Malaysians peacefully gathered at Kuala Lumpur to support BERSIH 2.0’s demand for reform of the electoral system. Unfortunately, the peaceful rally turned violent when the police force over-reacted to some participants having breached the police barrier at one point, namely the intersection of Jalan Raja, Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. The police initiated a brutal crack-down on participants of the rally, including media personnel.
More than 2 weeks after the rally on 28 April, fresh allegations and evidence of police violence continue to be revealed. These allegations include:
- Excessive and unreasonable use of tear gas and water cannon, including tear gas canisters being shot directly into crowds of participants of the rally;
- Unjustified and excessive use of force against participants of the rally including multiple assaults on individuals after arrest;
- Arrest, harassment and assault of media personnel on duty including confiscation of media equipment;
- Indiscriminate arrests of participants of the rally even in the absence of any evidence whatsoever of misbehaviour, and vicious assaults by groups of police personnel on such individuals;
- Physical assaults on and arbitrary arrests of individuals for no obvious reason other than the wearing of yellow BERSIH t-shirts; and
- Failure of police personnel to display basic identification such as names and police identity numbers.
The brutality committed by the police force on 28 April 2012 against individuals exercising their right to peaceful assembly is the worst in recent times. Human rights violations of this magnitude must not be allowed to pass without uncovering the truth and ensuring justice for all victims.
BERSIH 2.0 strongly encourages SUHAKAM to hold an independent and open inquiry into the human rights violations committed during BERSIH 3.0: Duduk Bantah on 28 April 2012, BERSIH 2.0 pledges our commitment in assisting SUHAKAM by submitting evidence and testimonies from victims.
We also request that lawyers acting for BERSIH 2.0 be granted observer or watching brief status at such an inquiry in order that they may put questions to witnesses.
We look forward to a favourable response from SUHAKAM
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
BERSIH 2.0 is represented by the Steering Committee which comprise:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rais, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.