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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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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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…
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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.
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Syrians Returned to Streets Over Economic Meltdown

(Beirut) – Syrian security forces responded to a protest in the city of Sweida on June 15 by beating and arresting protesters demonstrating against the government’s failure to address the country’s economic meltdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
People hold up banners at a protest in Sweida on June 9, 2020
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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.
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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.
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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.
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New Government Steps Back from Reform Agenda

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should reconsider its decision to lift the moratorium on laws previously used to repress dissent, Human Rights Watch said today. The government announced on November 30, 2018, that the cabinet had lifted its…
Riot police members stand guard at the Seafield temple on November 27, 2018 in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The priest says there are criminal elements involved in the attack on the temple yesterday. Temple chief priest Jeyakumar Subramaniam said he s
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Use September 7 Meeting to Address Arbitrary Detentions, Disappearances, Abductions

(Beirut) – The Astana working group on detentions and abductions in the Syrian conflict should take immediate steps to address the Syrian government’s arbitrary detentions, torture of detainees, and enforced disappearances, 11 human…
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lock hands during a group photo in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. © 2018 Tolga Bozoglu/Pool Photo via AP
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Broadly Worded Bill Threatens Free Expression

(New York) – The government of Malaysia’s proposed law criminalizing “fake news” is a frontal attack on free expression and should be withdrawn, Human Rights Watch said today. A clear target of the legislation is discussion in…
Commuters sit in front of an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news, at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 28, 2018.
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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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.
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Investigate Killings, Abductions of Foreign Men

  (Beirut) – Iraqi authorities are holding more than 1,400 foreign women and their children who surrendered with ISIS fighters in late August 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The detentions appear to have no legal…
Iraqi Ministry of Transportation buses taking internally displaced families to Hammam al-Alil in May 2017. In late August, Iraqi authorities bused 1,400 foreign women and children to the site. © 2017 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
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Death of Detained Activist Puts Spotlight on Syria’s Ghastly Prison System

Yesterday Noura Safadi said that she had received confirmation that the Syrian authorities executed her husband, Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, two years ago. Noura had been looking for Bassel since he disappeared from a Syrian prison in…
Bassel Khartabil