Continued detention of reformasi activists under ISA will make nonsense of the Kuala Lumpur NAM Summit Final Document on human rights and undermine Mahathir’s credibility at the Evian G8 Summit Informal Dialogue
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Today is the Final Day of Countdown for the release of the reformasi activists under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).
The continued detention or victimization of the reformasi activists under the ISA, whether with a two-year extension of the detention or conditional release with undemocratic restrictions, will make nonsense of the Kuala Lumpur Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit Final Document on human rights and undermine the credibility of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Evian G8 Summit Informal Dialogue in the next two days.
The Final Document of the 13th NAM Summit in Kuala Lumpur adopted on 25th February 2003 on Human Rights (Para 336-340) committed NAM member states and in particular Malaysia as the host nation to condemn “gross and systematic violation of all human rights” including “arbitrary detentions” like the Internal Security Act.
The Final Document also urged all governments to “provide an effective framework for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms” and to ensure that “their constitutional and legal systems provide effective guarantees for human rights and fundamental freedoms including freedom of speech, association, thought, conscience, religion and belief to all without discrimination”.
The Malaysian Government had failed uphold its commitments under the Final Document, as evident from its refusal to immediately and unconditionally release the reformasi activists under the ISA despite the unanimous judgment of the Federal Court last September that the police had acted mala fide in their detentions, the recommendations twice of the ISA Advisory Board for their release and the stand of Suhakam and the civil society.
If the Kuala Lumpur NAM Summit Final Document on human rights is not worth the paper it is printed on, then what is the worth of the words and the credibility of the Malaysian Prime Minister and the NAM Chair at the Evian G8 Summit Informal Dialogue?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman