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End Harassment, Prosecutions of Critics

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s new prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, should commit to respect the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, which have long been suppressed in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Malaysia’s king appointed Ismail…
202108asia_malaysia_protest
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Water mixed with salt was dinner for Umar Abubaker and his family of eight, including three young children, for many nights during Nigeria’s five-week lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Before the lockdown, Abubakar, who has a physical…
A man reading the newspaper "The Nation"
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Summary Margaret Okuomo lives with her seven children in Ago Egun Bariga, a waterside slum community in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous state and the epicenter of the country’s fight against Covid-19. Lagos, although Nigeria’s wealthiest state, has…
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Surge in Police Harassment of Journalists, Activists, Protesters

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities are increasingly using criminal investigations to harass journalists, protest leaders, and various other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Many are facing potential prosecution and have…
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(Abuja, July 28, 2021) – The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the plight of families living in poverty in Lagos State, Nigeria and left many people struggling to afford food and meet other basic needs, Human Rights Watch and Justice…
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With GE15 on the horizon, there is a grave risk that arrests will continue to rise. Respect for freedom of speech in Malaysia is in free fall - a decline illustrated by two recent arrests. On the evening of Friday, April 23, seven police…
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attending parliament session at parliament lower house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 13, 2020.
News

Anti-Corruption Measures a Step Forward, but Weak Implementation

(Washington, DC) –  The International Monetary Fund (IMF), despite overall progress in its anti-corruption efforts, has not ensured sufficient oversight of its Covid-19 emergency loans, Human Rights Watch and Transparency International said today…
International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building is seen during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, U.S., October 14, 2017.
News

New Law Criminalizes Expression, Violates Privacy Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should revoke a new “fake news” ordinance that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and privacy and the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2)…
A television shows a live broadcast of Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at a shopping outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. 
News

Decision Holding Portals Liable Poses Serious Risk to Freedom of Speech

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian Federal Court decision holding an online news site responsible for reader comments contravenes international human rights standards and will chill free speech in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. The court on…
Malaysiakini's editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to the media at the Federal Court in in Putrajaya, Malaysia on February 19, 2021. 
News

Immunity, Police Powers for Military Raise Risk of Abuse

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s recently announced Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance is overly broad and should urgently be revised to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The ordinance, announced on January 14,…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
News

Arrest of Bangladeshi in Documentary Violates Free Speech Rights

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities’ arrest of a Bangladeshi migrant worker who was featured in an Al Jazeera documentary is clear retaliation for his criticism of government policies towards migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities…
News

Abusive Investigations for Critical Speech on the Rise

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities are increasingly responding to criticism of the government by initiating criminal investigations, Human Rights Watch said today. Journalists, civil society activists, and ordinary people have all recently faced…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
News

Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
News

Proposal Would Criminalize Criticism of Government

Nigerian campaigners are speaking out against a bill that would regulate engagement on social media with the campaign #SayNoToSocialMediaBill. The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019 was presented in the Senate…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria
News

Keep Pledge to Repeal Abusive Laws

(New York) – The Malaysian government should reinstate its moratorium on using the Sedition Act pending the law’s repeal, Human Rights Watch said today. Previous Malaysian governments have used the broadly-worded law, which goes well beyond…
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad listens to questions during an interview with foreign media on one years anniversary of government in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Thursday, May 9, 2019.
News

Broad Claims of National Security Threaten Rights

Nigerian authorities appear to be on a renewed drive to muzzle free speech. Earlier this month, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) suspended the broadcast licenses of two subsidiaries of Daar Communications, the…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria
News

Keep Election Promise to Abolish National Security Council Act

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government is breaking a key election pledge by proposing to amend rather than repeal an abusive national security law, Human Rights Watch said today. The government on April 9, 2019, put before Parliament a bill to amend…
Section from Malaysia ruling party’s election manifesto, “Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation, Fulfilling Our Hopes,” promising to repeal abusive laws including the National Security Act of 2016.
News

Repeal Draconian Sedition Act

(New York) – The Malaysian authorities should halt the investigation targeting organizers of the Women’s March in Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The march’s organizers are being investigated for possible violations of…
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, passes the opening speech to King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah during the opening of the 14th parliament session at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 11, 2019.
News

New Government Faces Challenges in Carrying Out Reforms

(New York) – Malaysia’s human rights situation improved significantly in 2018 after the election of a new government that ran on a manifesto promising make the country’s rights record “respected by the world,” Human Rights Watch said today in…
Attendees hold up smartphones and wave Malaysian national flags and People's Justice Party flags at a Pakatan Harapan alliance event in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
News

New Government Backtracking on Rights Pledges

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government’s proposed new law to protect the monarchy from “insults” is its latest backtracking on human rights promises, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 10, 2019, the minister in the Prime Minister’s…
Malaysia's newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a news conference in Pataling Jaya, Malaysia, May 12, 2018. © 2018 REUTERS/Stringer