DAA News Network

Malaysia: UN Convention ratified – sort of … well, not really

Posted 13/7-10 at 17.20

Malaysia has formally ratified the CRPD. However, this has been done with reservations. This means it will not accept all or sections of - Article 3 on general principles, Article 5 on equality and non-discrimination, Article 15 on freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Article 18 on liberty of movement and nationality, and Article 30 on participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.

As the Malaysian Bar (lawyers' association) comments, "This means that the Malaysian Government does not fully subscribe to the fundamental principles that persons with disabilities should enjoy such equality, non-discrimination, freedom or liberty, or to fully participate in culture, recreation, leisure and sport. This makes for a hollow ratification since such reservations take away from fundamental principles that underpin CRPD."


Editorial comment: Before making a final judgement, it is important to know precisely what sections of these five articles the government has rejected. Nonetheless, at this point their commitment to the CRPD looks less than half hearted.

This is particularly true about their reservations on Article 3, which contains the core principles of the Convention - respect for dignity and autonomy, non-discrimination, inclusion, equality of opportunity, gender equality and so on. If a government can't sign up to these basic principles, why bother ratifying? The Malaysian Bar also points out that the government's extraordinarily equivocal approach to the CRPD is consistent with its reservations on other UN human rights documents, as well as its failure to sign any optional protocols. The latter allow citizens/residents of a country to refer their government to the international supervisory committee for non-compliance with these conventions.



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