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Gender Recognition Would Help Address Rights Violations

“I have never had official employment,” Aisha (not her real name), a Malaysian trans woman who does sex work, told Human Rights Watch and Justice for Sisters in 2019. “I tried. I applied for a job selling perfume, but the employer said they would only…
Transgender people in Malaysia face discrimination and abuses by government officials and agents, including public sector medical staff, teachers and local government officials. © 2014 Javad Tizmaghz Photography by Human Rights Watch
News

Discriminatory Federal, State Laws and Policies Remain in Place

Malaysia’s Federal Court on February 25 ruled that a state law banning consensual same-sex conduct was unconstitutional. While the ruling leaves intact a federal statute criminalizing same-sex relations, it does bring relief to those who have faced…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
News

Lawmakers Should Repeal, Not Reinforce, Discriminatory Laws

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should renounce a cabinet minister’s proposal to increase criminal penalties against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today. The attempt to strengthen criminal…
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

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

Ban Caning, Decriminalize Homosexual Acts

A Malaysian sharia court today postponed the scheduled caning of two women, charged with engaging in lesbian sex acts, until September 3, 2018 due to “technical issues.” The Terengganu Sharia court had convicted the women to six strokes…
Activists hold a National Wear V-neck Day gathering in response to seminars led by the Malaysian government on “spotting gay symptoms,” in Kuala Lumpur, September 30, 2012.
News

Criminalizing LGBT Relations Fosters Intolerance, Discrimination

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should drop the case against two women for same-sex relations before their scheduled caning on August 28, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. A court convicted the two on August 12 of violating a state…
News
Malaysia’s new government has put out a series of mixed messages on where it stands with regard to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. On the one hand, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs…
News

Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18

When the news broke last week that a 41-year-old man from Kelantan had married an 11-year-old girl, alarm bells went off in Malaysia’s newly elected government as well as among nongovernmental groups. The Kelantan state police started …
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
News

Rights Activists, Religious Freedom Under Attack

(New York) – The Malaysian government cracked down on activists and opposition politicians critical of the government in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. With corruption allegations still casting a long…
201801wr_malaysia_human_rights People attend an anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 14, 2017.
News
It was a rare positive outcome for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Malaysia. Earlier this month, the Health Ministry, in response to strident criticism from activists and the general public, reframed…
Activists hold a National Wear V-neck Day gathering in response to seminars led by the Malaysian government on “spotting gay symptoms,” in Kuala Lumpur, September 30, 2012.
News

Government Should Suspend Competition on 'Preventing' Gender Dysphoria

UPDATE, June 13, 2017: The ministry circulated revised guidelines for the competition, which discuss gender and sexuality in rights-respecting terms. *** UPDATE: On June 7, the Malaysian Health Ministry met with…
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
News

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

We welcome the first report of the Independent Expert on SOGI-related violence and discrimination. We recognize that some States opposed creation of the mandate, but are encouraged that it was reaffirmed by the General Assembly with support from all UN…
Delegates arrive for the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017.
News

Authorities Should Investigate the Killing, Prosecute Perpetrators

At about 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, a 27-year-old transgender woman, Sameera Krishnan, was brutally murdered in Kuantan city, Malaysia. Krishnan who worked in a florist shop, was attacked with a knife and received slash wounds to her hands, arm, head,…
Photo of Sameera Krishnan.
News

End Torture; Respect Basic Freedoms

(Berlin) – Central Asia's political leaders should focus on urgently needed improvements to basic human rights protections for their populations, as they deal with leadership succession and internal politics, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its…
2016-10-7-eca-kazakhstan-bokaev-protest
News
Ira Sophia planned a fun evening for Malaysia’s transgender community. The private, closed-door event at the five-star Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on April 3 featured a sit-down dinner for 200 people and was intended to raise money for…