Malaysia reviewed under the UPR
Thursday, 12 February 2009 03:35


As the last country in the 4th session, Malaysia was reviewed by the UPR Working Group on the afternoon of 11 February 2009. The Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Mohamed Isa, led the delegation. The interactive dialogue was well attended and more then 90 states asked for the floor. The discussion notably saw many states from the non-aligned movement and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) take the floor early on in the dialogue, thus preventing other States from talking. Delegations managed to remain quite balanced in their questions, although most speakers praised Malaysia for its achievements. Little attention was given to concerns put forward by NGOs and in the OHCHR compilation. Many states commended Malaysia for its progress in protecting human rights and especially for the importance it attaches to social, economic and cultural rights. The following achievements were mentioned:


  • Reduction of poverty
  • Progress in ensuring access for all to education and to health care services
  • Establishment of a comprehensive institutional framework for the protection of human rights such as the Human Rights Commission
  • Maintaining social harmony in a highly multicultural society

A few States also made some critical remarks, which centred on the following issues:


  • Malaysia is not party to major international conventions on human rights such as the two 1966 covenants, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
  • The lack of and general vagueness of legislation concerning migrant workers and refugees, and the resulting abuse of migrant workers
  • Discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in legislation and in particular the criminalisation of homosexuality
  • The repression of fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression and association, as well as arbitrary arrests related to the exercise of these
  • The persistence of capital punishment for a wide range of crimes

The review was also notable for the recommendation by Iran that Malaysia undertake a comprehensive study of the positive implications of the legal systems of civil law and Shariah law and that it undertake measures to further improve the implementation of Shariah law in the country. There was no clear link made to human rights in this regard.

More information: 

  • ISHR's full UPR reviews can be found here.

  • Click here for general information about the UPR and previous reviews of this session.


Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2009 03:31
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