• A government crackdown on civil and political rights, which began after the ruling coalition won the most seats in the 2013 parliamentary elections but lost the popular vote, continued into 2015. The authorities employed the Peaceful Assembly Act both to prevent any demonstration questioning the results and to punish the organizers. In addition, the Sedition Act was used to prosecute those criticizing the government, leaders of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s political party, and for remarks the government considers derogatory toward Malaysia’s sultans or is disrespectful of Islam. Najib’s repeated promise that the act would be repealed dissolved under pressure from party leaders. Instead he has promised to strengthen the law and seek a counter-terrorism measure. Open opposition to LGBT rights has increased as Sharia (Islamic) courts are more assertively prosecuting alleged LGBT activity.

  • Thousands of minority Rohingya Muslims remain stranded at sea without adequate food and water. On Wednesday, 20 May, Malaysia and Indonesia finally bowed to mounting international pressure, announcing that they would offer refugees temporary shelter provided that they are resettled and repatriated by the international community within a year. Roma Rajpal Weiß spoke to Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, who condemned the policy of the countries of South-East Asia

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Reports

Malaysia

  • May 27, 2015
    Governments gathering in Bangkok on May 29, 2015, to discuss the Southeast Asia boat people crisis should reach binding agreements to save people at sea, permit them to disembark without conditions, and ensure unimpeded access for United Nations agencies to protect the rights of asylum seekers.
  • May 27, 2015
    Rohingya and other survivors of dangerous boat voyages from Burma and Bangladesh describe horrific treatment by unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers in Burma, and abuse and neglect aboard ships, Human Rights Watch said today. A regional meeting scheduled on May 29, 2015, in Bangkok must find solutions to the so-called boat people exodus.
  • May 20, 2015
    Thousands of minority Rohingya Muslims remain stranded at sea without adequate food and water. On Wednesday, 20 May, Malaysia and Indonesia finally bowed to mounting international pressure, announcing that they would offer refugees temporary shelter provided that they are resettled and repatriated by the international community within a year. Roma Rajpal Weiß spoke to Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, who condemned the policy of the countries of South-East Asia
  • May 15, 2015
    On the Andaman Sea, west of the Siam peninsula in Asia, a tragic scandal is unfolding. Thousands of Rohingya asylum seekers who had recently fled Burma or Bangladesh on boats—mostly small open fishing boats and larger trawlers—and a smaller number of Bangladeshis, have been trying to reach Malaysia, where many Rohingya have previously sought refuge.
  • May 14, 2015
    Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia should end their pushbacks of boats with Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants and asylum seekers, and instead bring them ashore and provide desperately needed aid, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • May 12, 2015
  • May 7, 2015
  • May 1, 2015
    The discovery of more than 30 bodies in a human trafficking camp should prompt Thai authorities to authorize an independent, United Nations-assisted investigation, commit to publish its findings, and bring those responsible to justice, including any government officials involved.
  • Apr 7, 2015
    In a bid to fight Islamic militants, Malaysia has passed a counter-terrorism law that allows detention without trial for up to two years. But HRW's Phil Robertson views the new law as a step backwards for human rights.
  • Apr 5, 2015
    The Malaysian government should withdraw the proposed counter-terrorism law now with Parliament and ensure future drafts protect fundamental rights.