Numan must apologise, retract baseless claim on state sponsored violence against LGBTs – MACSA


In response to the investigation by the police over Numan Afifi’s speech before the United Nations as a delegate of the International Lesbian and Gay Association on behalf of a coalition of Malaysian NGOs working on gender identity and sexual orientation issues, the Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organisations in the UPR Process (MACSA) defends the right of Numan to speak out on such issues, insofar as the same are based on facts and with appropriate evidence.

This accords with the rights of human rights defenders in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Further, free speech is protected by the Federal Constitution and all the international human rights instruments Malaysia accedes to including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR), the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam 1990 (CDHRI) and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration 2012 (AHRD), more so in situations where human rights defenders are informing the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the state of human rights in this country.



However, there are a few matters in which Numan has touched upon in his speech that are wholly false, unbecoming and is tantamount to misleading the UNHRC. For such statements only the strongest condemnation is due, and accordingly we denounce Numan for the same. Among his statements that warrant condemnation upon further scrutiny is his allegation that the Mukhayyam programme by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM) amounts to state sponsored violence and a form of conversion therapy against the local LGBT community when in fact nothing can be further from the truth. It must further be pointed out that in making this assertion Numan has relied on no credible evidence to back this incredulous claim.

It is due to this unwarranted action by Numan, purportedly on behalf of all LGBT Malaysians, that various representatives from the local LGBT community, such as @Ryn Rasidi of the Usrah Iqrak, Muhajirah WAFIQ and Kifahuna Jemaa non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have in response thereto gone on record to deny that the Mukhayyam programme targets LGBTs because of their status. Further, Mohd Al Khusyairi Bin Mohd Ariff who chairs the Hijrah RepubliQue Network, a local LGBT civil society organisation (CSO), has come out to condemn in equal terms the false allegation by Numan and categorically deny his assertions that the Mukhayyam programme harms LGBT participants thereof.

The Mukhayyam programme, and as asserted by us together with the local representatives of the LGBT community, part of the religious rights of the community that should be protected. JAKIM and state Islamic religious authorities have been working together with the Ministry of Health in addressing the escalation of new HIV/AIDS cases amongst transgender persons and men who have sex with men (MSM). Participation in the Mukhayyam programme is also completely voluntary with no elements of coercion involved and is far indeed from conversion therapy practised by other countries which involve an element of forced participation.

MACSA reiterates our position that while free speech is indeed a cornerstone of human rights, this must be exercised responsibly, in the words of Article 22(b) of the CDHRI, to “advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah. Further, Article 22(c) forbids the misuse of information that undermine moral and ethical values and corrupt or harm society and weaken its faith, as has been done by Numan Affifi in his aforesaid speech before the UNHRC. Pursuant to Article 3(1) of our Constitution enshrining Islam as the religion of our federation, no policies or laws can be permitted where they contradict Islamic and Islam-based constitutional and legal statutes.

We therefore reiterate our denunciation of Numan’s speech for the reasons stated above and agree with the Honourable Minister for Religious Affairs, Mujahid Yusof Rawa that protesters in the recent Women's March had abused their democratic space in promoting an LGBT lifestyle which is against the law of our country, a point which was also raised by Nukman Afifi in his speech before the UN. We also call upon Numan Afifi to apologise to all LGBT participants of the Mukhayyam programme, as well as all Muslim LGBT persons and all Malaysians for his misleading claims as aforesaid.

Media Statement by Azril Mohd Amin, lawyer and chief executive of Centre for Human Rights Research & Advocacy (CENTHRA) and chairperson of MACSA and Associate Professor Dr Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar, president of International Women & Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education (WAFIQ) and co-chairperson of MACSA.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/MACSA2018/photos/a.1920460654631012/2570208412989563/?type=3&theater
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