OHCHR PRESS BRIEFING NOTE – Malaysia
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva 5 July 2011
OHCHR has recently been receiving reports of a crackdown by the Malaysian authorities, including harassment, intimidation, arrests and threats, targeting members of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) in the lead-up to a peaceful demonstration scheduled for this coming Saturday, 9 July. According to reliable sources, at least 150 people have been summoned, arrested or charged, including a number of opposition Members of Parliament.
The authorities have also reportedly arrested activists simply for possessing Bersih’s distinctive yellow T-shirts and campaign pamphlets. We are very concerned about the various measures that are being taken by the authorities to restrict freedom of expression in Malaysia, including preventive detention, and the Government’s decision to reportedly declare Bersih an unlawful organization.
We call on the authorities to release all those being detained for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression. We also urge the Government to take steps to repeal preventive laws, including the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance of 1969, as already called for by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
For more information or interviews, please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or [email protected] ) or press officers: Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or [email protected] ) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 or [email protected] )