THE Government should accede to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) as it would serve as a catalyst to promote and protect human rights for all; regardless of race, colour, descent, nationality or ethnic origin.
“It’s important for us to foster a culture of tolerance, equality and non-discrimination among youths, to develop a just, peaceful and sustainable society in the future,” said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), in conjunction with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today.
In 2018, then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad voiced interest to ratify the ICERD in a move to put Malaysia on the world map, in terms of human rights.
However, he backpedaled on the decision after massive objections from right-wing movements across the nation, led by Umno and PAS.
Promote dialogue, weed out haters
Touching on the matter, Suhakam said that during the pandemic, many have used online technologies as a main mode of communication and dissemination of information.
However, social media platforms were misused by some quarters to shame and blame certain quarters using verbal attacks, racist and xenophobic statements targetting particular ethnicities and nationalities.
“Majority of our social media users are youths and without proper guidance, will risk exacerbating racist and intolerant attitudes,” it opined.
Therefore, Suhakam urged the Government to enact policies and measures to counter hate speech and intolerance, while providing open platforms for youths and various groups in the society to discuss and address issues of racial discrimination in Malaysia.
“This could be in the form of intercultural dialogues, with a view to promote tolerance and respect for human dignity, in a multi-ethnic and multicultural Malaysia,” it stated. – March 21, 2021.
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