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Get M'sia in line with its human rights obligations: groups

Publication Date : 04-12-2013


Malaysia should seriously consider the recommendations the United Nations members states gave during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on reviewing the mandatory death penalty here.

Sedar Institute executive director Ivanpal S. Grewal said this would ensure Malaysia functioned in line with its human rights obligations.

At Malaysia’s UPR in Geneva on October 24, the second highest cluster of recommendations involved the death penalty.

“I am taken in by one point made by the review that we do not have the luxury of bringing a person back from the dead if he is executed and found later to have been innocent,” said Ivanpal in an interview.

He was commenting on the recent articles in The Star on the UPR recommendations and results of the Death Penalty Project (DPP) Survey which show that the public is more comfortable with a discretionary death penalty.

Oxford University Emeritus Prof Roger Hood, who was commissioned by DPP to design and analyse the large-scale public opinion survey, said the findings suggested “public opinion ought not to be regarded as a definite barrier to the abolition of the death penalty for murder”.

Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong and Suhakam chairman Hasmy Agam have also called on the Government to abolish the mandatory death penalty or give the discretion to judges.

Ivanpal said Malaysia must institutionalise respect for human rights and dignity and the surest way forward is for Malaysians to reject the death penalty.

“Sedar Institute believes that the death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and it’s contrary to basic human rights.

“The state should not justify the death penalty as a form of deterrence because crime has not decreased despite having the death penalty.”

“We should look towards rehabilitation and there is always imprisonment for life for the worst of the worst of offenders,” he said, stressing Sedar Institute’s belief in the wisdom of Gandhi who had said that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.


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