Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, A/HRC/20/27/Add.3, 19 June 2012: Malaysia
Malaysia: Alleged banning of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) festival, harassment and questioning of organisers
200. JAL 23/01/2012. Case no. MYS 11/2011.
State Reply: 24/04/2012.
Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
We have the honour to address you in our capacity as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251 and to Human Rights Council resolutions 16/4, 15/21 and 16/5.
In this connection, we would like to bring to your Excellency’s Government’s attention information we have received concerning the alleged banning of the fourth annual Seksualiti Merdeka Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) festival in Kuala Lumpur. Seksualiti Merdeka is a coalition of organizations, including the Malaysian Bar Council and Amnesty International Malaysia, working to promote the rights of LGBT individuals and communities in Malaysia.
According to the information received:
From 9 to 13 November 2011, a series of talks, workshop, performances and literary events were scheduled to take place as part of the fourth annual Seksualiti Merdeka festival in Kuala Lumpur. The purpose of the festival is reportedly to celebrate sexual diversity and gender rights and to promote human rights and acceptance of the LGBT community.
On 3 November 2011, it is reported that the Sungai Besi township police disbanded a peaceful event by Seksualiti Merdeka supporters at the Annexe Gallery in Kuala Lumpur and declared a ban on the aforementioned festival, on the grounds that it constituted a “threat to public order” under section 298A of the Penal Code. It is alleged that no evidence to justify this decision was provided and that the organizers had consistently stated that this year’s events were to follow the model of previous years which had taken place without incident or interference from State authorities.
We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the above mentioned persons are respected and, in the event that your investigations support or suggest the above allegations to be correct, the accountability of any person responsible for the alleged violations should be ensured. We also request that your Excellency’s Government adopt effective measures to prevent the recurrence of these acts.
In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of the above mentioned persons in compliance with the above international instruments.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters, when relevant to the case under consideration:
- Are the facts alleged in the summary of the case accurate?
- Has a complaint been lodged by or on behalf of Seksualiti Merdeka?
- Please provide the full details of the legal basis for the banning of the fourth annual Seksualiti Merdeka Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) festival. Please indicate how this ban is compatible international human rights standards as contained in the aforementioned legal instruments.
We undertake to ensure that your Excellency’s Government’s response to each of these questions is accurately reflected in the report we will submit to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.
link to the text of the extract: Communication-SR Freedom Assembly Association-Malaysia-2012-eng
Link to full text of the report: