Malaysia: US urged not be a spectator (Amnesty International)

Amnesty International Urges United States to not be a Spectator as Malaysian Authorities Attack Peaceful Protestors
Amnesty International said today that Malaysian authorities have responded
to a peaceful rally for electoral reform in Kuala Lumpur with mass arrests
and excessive use of force. At least 924 people have been arrested today,
according to the Royal Malaysian Police. Those arrested include Ambiga
Sreenevasan, chair of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih
2.0) which organized the rally.
“The United States should not be spectator when Malaysia, one of its
closest allies, brutally attacks peaceful protesters, but urge Malaysian
authorities to guarantee future peaceful protests” said T. Kumar, director
of international advocacy for Amnesty International USA. “The relationship
between United States and Malaysia should not be based only on economic and
security interests at the expense of human rights.”
According to credible local sources, police have denied the detainees’
access to lawyers, which flout international human rights standards.“The
Malaysian government must immediately release these demonstrators and
respect their right to peaceful protest,” said Donna Guest, deputy
Asia/Pacific director at Amnesty International.
“As a current member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Malaysian
government should be setting an example to other nations and promoting
human rights. Instead they appear to be suppressing them, in the worst
campaign of repression we’ve seen in the country for years.”Police attacked
marchers with baton charges and tear gas.
Opposition leader
Anwar Ibrahim was injured after police fired tear gas canisters into a
group of marchers in a tunnel. Another Minister of Parliament, Khalid Samad
of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), was also injured when police
fired a tear gas canister at his neck. After a group of protesters
retreated into Tung Shing Hospital, police fired tear gas into the
hospital, putting the health of patients at risk.
“If the U.S. government does not take strong approach to human rights in
Malaysia, it will seriously affect the United States credibility and
effectiveness on human rights in the region”, said Kumar. “Such silence
will give green light to other governments that they too can brutally
suppress peaceful protests”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers
in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The
organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the
public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and
dignity are denied.
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Sharon Singh
Media Relations Director Amnesty International USA(o) 202.675.8579