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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…
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Violators Unpunished; Crackdown on Activists

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities held a tight grip on peaceful activism during 2020, jailing lawyers, human rights defenders, and those who protested government corruption, mismanagement, and repression, Human Rights Watch said today in its…
People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at the gate of Amri Kabir University where some of the victims of the crash were former students, on January 11th, 2020 in Tehran, Iran.
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

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

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can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…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.
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

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

‘Oppressive and Inhuman’ Cross-Dressing Ban Restored

(Washington, DC) – In overturning a landmark ruling, Malaysia’s highest court has undermined the rights of transgender people in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 8, 2015, the Federal Court reversed a lower court ruling that a state’s…
“Jina,” a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation: “There’s a lot of politicization of the LGBT community at the moment, to distract the public from more important issues.”
News

Condemn Official’s Anti-Gay Statements

(New York) – Burma’s government should publicly condemn grossly discriminatory remarks by a regional official about gay men and transgender women, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to senior Burmese officials. The Burmese government is obligated…
Participant Mummy Sein, 79, attends an event celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Rangoon, Burma on May 17, 2013.
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2015 Recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
Nisha Ayub
News

Abolish Laws Against ‘Cross-Dressing’

  (Bangkok) – A Sharia (Islamic law) court in Malaysia has sentenced nine transgender women to fines, and two to one-month jail terms under a discriminatory law that prohibits “a male person posing as a woman,” Human Rights Watch said today.…
News

‘Cross-Dressing’ Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

(New York) – A Malaysian appeals court ruling that a ban on cross-dressing was unconstitutional is an important victory for the rights of transgender people in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today.  On November 7, 2014, a…
News

Eliminate Discriminatory Laws, Practices; End Violence

(Kuala Lumpur) – The Malaysian government should urgently seek the repeal of all laws and regulations that discriminate against transgender people, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Transgender people in Malaysia face criminal…
News

Prosecutions for ‘Cross-Dressing’ Undermine Privacy, Free Expression Rights

(Bangkok) – An Islamic law court in Malaysia has sentenced 16 transgender women to seven days in prison and a fine for “cross dressing,” in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and privacy, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 9, 2014, a…
News

Local Laws Encourage Discrimination, Abuse

(Bangkok) – Transgender women in Malaysia have filed a groundbreaking court case challenging a law that prohibits them from expressing their gender identity, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 22, 2014, the Putrajaya Court of Appeal is expected to hear…
News

Revoke Law Criminalizing Homosexual Acts

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should drop its politically motivated prosecution of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for alleged consensual homosexual relations, Human Rights Watch said today.  On February 12, 2014, the Kuala Lumpur Court of Appeal…
News

Drop Appeal of Verdict; Revoke Colonial-Era Ban on ‘Sodomy’

(Bangkok) –The Malaysian authorities should drop their apparently politically motivated appeal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal on sodomy charges, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 17, 2013, the Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur will…
News

Prime Minister Najib Should Act to End Discriminatory Laws, Practices

(New York) – The Malaysian government should end rights-violating and discriminatory government policies that vilify members of Malaysia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime…
News

Government Should not Oppose Judicial Consideration of Key Rights Issue

(New York) – The Malaysian government should not seek to block judicial review of the 2011 ban on the Seksualiti Merdeka (“Sexual Diversity”) festival, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kuala Lumpur High Court will hear the case filed by festival…