CALL FOR ENDORSEMENTS: Petition to Malaysian authorities to stop judicial harassment against Jannie Lasimbang and other activists
Please find the petition below to Malaysian authorities to stop judicial harassment and intimidation against Jannie Lasimbang, former Secretary General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). We need your support and solidarity to fight against this selective prosecution against her and other activists aimed at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities.
Please read the attached endorsement for more information and send in your endorsement (name of your organization and country) for the petition to our colleagues; Prabindra Shakya (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Hpuji Naung (email@example.com).
We look forward to receiving as many endorsements as possible. Kindly share this petition in your network as well.
Thank you very much for your support and cooperation.
24 January 2016
Honorable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak
Prime Minister, Government of Malaysia
Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62502 Putrajaya
Subject: Petition to stop judicial harassment against Jannie Lasimbang
Honorable Prime Minister,
We, the undersigned organizations, condemn the ongoing judicial harassment and intimidation against Ms. Jannie Lasimbang, a prominent human rights and indigenous rights leader, and call
on the Malaysian Government authorities to immediately drop all charges laid against her. We affirm that the targeted prosecution of Ms. Lasimbang, among other rights activists, is indicative of the closing space for civil society in Malaysia. We urge the Government to put an end to such prosecution and uphold the values of democracy and human rights.
Ms. Lasimbang is one of the former vice-chairpersons of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), which is a campaign endorsed by over 60 Malaysian NGOs seeking electoral reforms and promotion of democratic rights in Malaysia. She is the first person to be charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) for her role in organizing the fourth series of peaceful assemblies of (Bersih 4.0). The assemblies were held in major cities in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, on 29 and 30 August 2015. There were subsequent assemblies in over 70 cities around the world in support of the main assemblies in Malaysia.
The overnight rally in Kota Kinabalu had more than 3,000 people in attendance but ended two hours shy of its 24-hour target after a police barricade stopped some 1,000 participants of the assembly from walking towards the city. The police had questioned Ms. Lasimbang immediately after the Bersih 4.0 assembly ended, along with along with others for their alleged role in organizing the assembly. She was not arrested; it therefore came as surprise to her to be charged
nearly two months later.
Ms. Lasimbang was charged on 21 October 2015 at the Kota Kinabalu Magistrate Court under Section 9(5) of the PAA 2012 for allegedly organizing the Bersih 4.0 assembly at Likas Bay Park without giving a 10-day notice to the city police chief prior to the event, as required under Article 10(c) of the PAA 2012. T Ms. Maria Chin Abdullah, the Chairperson of Bersih 2.0 was also later also charged under the same section.
We are informed that although Bersih Sabah had submitted the form required for the 10-day notice, the failure to append a consent letter from the owner of the Likas Bay Park (City Hall) was construed as not giving the 10-day notice.
The Kota Kinabalu Magistrate allowed Ms. Lasimbang bail of RM3,000 (approx. USD 697) with a deposit of RM1,000 (USD 232) for the charge and set the court date for 13 November 2015 for case management and 23 and 24 November 2015 to hear the case. The case management has since been rescheduled to 20 January, and the hearing to 26 and 27 January 2016. We are gravely concerned that if convicted, Ms. Lasimbang faces a maximum fine of RM20,000 (USD 4646) for two counts of the same charge, one for each day of the 2-day event. She has pleaded not guilty.
Ms Lasimbang, a former commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has also served as a member and chairperson of the UN Expert Mechanism on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), established by the Human Rights Council under the United Nations. Former Secretary General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, she is currently at the forefront of indigenous rights advocacy in Malaysia as the Secretary General of the
Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia, also known as Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS).
We affirm that the selective prosecution of Ms. Lasimbang and other activists in Malaysia constitutes violations of national and international human rights obligations of the State, including under UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Declaration provides that for
the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels to meet or assemble peacefully (Art. 5(a)). It is the duty of State of Malaysia to “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone…against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration” (Art. 12).
We believe the ongoing judicial harassment of Ms. Lasimbang and others only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities. Thus, we call on the Malaysian authorities to immediately drop all charges against them and rather engage constructively with the human
rights activists for advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Malaysia.
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
On behalf of the organizations listed in the below or annexed
Submitted via email to Hon’ble Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister, Government of Malaysia, Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Main Block, Perdana Putra Building, Federal
Government Administrative Centre, 62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia.
l Mr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, 62546 Putrajaya, Malaysia.
l Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
(SUHAKAM), Tingkat 11, Menara TH Perdana, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com