Malaysia: Human Rights Reforms Stall

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01/14/2020

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 process is failing because the ruling coalition’s leaders have lacked the political will to stand up for principles in the face of political opposition,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. Discrimination against LGBT people in Malaysia is pervasive. Federal law punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” with up to 20 years in prison, while numerous state Sharia laws prohibit both same-sex relations and non-normative gender expression, resulting in frequent arrests of transgender people. In November, five men were sentenced to prison terms and six strokes of the cane for “attempted intercourse against the order of nature.” Four were caned on November 19.

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