Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) refers to the statement made by Perkasa representative Irwan Fahmi Ideris against the recently banned “Seksualiti Merdeka” annual festival and Bersih chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s scheduled involvement in officiating it. We are outraged at this display of prejudice and intolerance. Perkasa’s attack is against the freedom of speech and expression which is accorded to every individual as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We oppose any act of discrimination against individuals regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. It is imperative for the government to accord protection to all individuals who are subjected to discrimination which violates the right to life and security of persons.
While we note that there are differences of opinions on, and approach to the issue of sexual diversity in particular homosexuality in all religions, it is a universally accepted fact that no person should be subjected to any form of discrimination, mistreatment and violence.
It is pertinent to emphasise that the objective of the planned event, according to the organisers of “Seksualiti Merdeka”, is not to promote homosexuality. Rather, it focuses on the plight of a group of people with different sexual orientation and gender identity.
We also strongly condemn the blanket ban that the police force recently imposed on all events related to “Seksualiti Merdeka”, an annual celebration organised since 2008. Investigating “Seksualiti Merdeka” under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 27A(1)(C) of the Police Act is clearly a form of intimidation and persecution as well as an unproductive attempt to curtail freedom of expression, ideas and association.
We call upon all Malaysians to stand up against all kinds of incitement to or direct harassment, threats and other violations against any minority and marginalised groups. All minorities must be treated equally despite their differences of sexual orientation or opinion. It is the duty of the authorities to guarantee the safety and security of the organisers, volunteers, supporters and sympathisers of “Seksualiti Merdeka”.
Lawyers For Liberty
4 November 2011