On 28 January 2016, ISDEV members were given an academic treat to gain useful information from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Centre for Human Rights and Research Advocacy (CENTHRA), Brother Azril Mohd Amin. This distinctive 'Knowledge Sharing Session' was held at C05, ISDEV Meeting Room, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
|Universal Periodic Review Malaysia was the topic presented by Azril Mohd Amin to ISDEV fraternity|
The prgramme started at 3.00 pm with ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh giving a detailed overview of ISDEV on the various academic courses offered, past and on-going research that ISDEV is embarking upon as well as ISDEV plans for the future.
|Being an Islamic human rights activists, Azril falls under one who "walks the talks".|
After the ‘ice-breaking’ session, Brother Azril then started his talk and provided a general overview on the "Universal Periodic Review Malaysia (UPR)”. According to him the UPR is a mechanism, which involves a regular review of human rights records of all 193 United Nation (UN) member states, including our country, Malaysia. It is like a test our country has to go through in order to prove how well we are at upholding our citizens’ human rights. UPR was established when the Human Rights Council was created on March 15, 2006 by the UN General Assembly. Malaysia went through its first UPR back in 2009 and its second one in 2013. Three key documents form the basis of the UPR. These three documents are obtained from the state, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the stakeholders.
|Full House at C05, ISDEV , where the not to-be-missed sharing session was held.|
According to Azril out of the three documents, the most important document is the stakeholders’ report. This report is compiled by OHCHR based on the submissions of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and civil society organisation (CSO) or non-governmental organisation (NGO). Thus in the UPR process, the NHRI and NGO have an important role to play especially in submitting independent reports to the council to provide their perspectives on the situation of human rights in the country. There is one stage in the UPR, where the state under review (SUR), Malaysia, for example, has to present its national report in an interactive dialogue session. At this stage all UN member states have the opportunity to pose questions, comments and recommendations.
|Not missing a chance to pen down some notes delivered by Azril.|
He added that, the SUR may accept, reject or comment on the recommendations. The report would then outline the number of recommendations received, accepted, rejected, noted and is responded to in writing. As for Malaysia, the country had several responses to the recommendations such as ‘accepted in full’, ‘accepted in principle’, ‘accepted in part’ and ‘rejected’. The government defined ‘accepted in full’ as recommendations accepted in full indicating Malaysia’s support while ‘accepted in principle’ meant the government was taking steps towards achieving the objectives of the recommendations but under certain conditions. Meanwhile the government did not provide a specific definition for recommendations that were accepted in part. Malaysia is due for its third UPR in 2018.
|During the Question and Answer session with ISDEV lecturers and students.|
Question and Answer session provided the chance for ISDEV members who were keen to seek for clearer understanding of the topic shared by Azril. ISDEV lecturers as well as students did not miss a chance to ask him questions and were satisfied with his answers. Indeed, such sharing session was a worthwhile programme that can be slotted as part of ISDEV annual activity so that everyone can amplify the knowledge of Malaysia's current issues especially related to human rights.