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More Than 70 Organisations Come Together To Support Maria Chin Abdullah

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CSBR joins 70+ organizations calling on the Malaysian government to immediately investigate death threats against Malaysian human rights defender Maria Chin Abdullah. Read the press release from APWLD below.

*Demand immediate investigation of the death threats*

* Demand Government stops harassment of activists organising and participating in peaceful actions *

Maria Chin Abdullah

02 November, 2016

Chiang Mai

More than 70 organisations across Asia Pacific and the globe have signed a statement to demand that the Government of Malaysia and police immediately investigate the death threats against BERSIH 2.0. Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and her family members, ensure their safety and security, and bring perpetrators to justice.

“The threats to Maria and her children are part of a systemic attack on human rights and democracy while taking a particularly vile, gendered form” said Kate Lappin, Regional Coordinator of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). “When the government itself attacks the work of peaceful human rights advocates, it’s not surprising that extremists feel emboldened to make threats with impunity. We are calling on government and police to meet their obligations to protect the rights of human rights defenders and their families,” added Kate.

On 18th October 2016, Maria Chin received death threats against her and her family via WhatsApp messages, purportedly by local Islamic State (IS) terrorists. On 20th October 2016, a car belonging to Maria’s son was splashed with red paint at her residence. On 29th October 2016, Maria was detained by the police for distributing flyers to promote an upcoming BERSIH 5 rally.

The Malaysian Government itself has been complicit in harassing and leveling charges against Maria Chin for organising and participating in peaceful actions. State sanctioned harassment and efforts to portray Maria and BERSIH as threat to national security or unity emboldens extremists and creates a permissive culture for threats. The organizations also urge the Malaysian Government to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all charges against Maria Chin Abdullah under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.


List of Organisations That Signed The Statement

  1. Advocacy, Research, Training and Services (ARTS) Foundation
  2. Aksi! for gender, social and ecological justice
  4. AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women
  5. APVVU
  6. APWLD
  7. Asia Dalit Rights Forum
  8. Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  9. Asia Monitor Resource Centre
  10. Asia Pacific Research Network
  11. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  12. Asociadas por lo Justo-JASS
  13. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development
  14. Awaj Foundation
  15. AWID
  16. Badhan Hijra Sangha(BHS)
  17. Beyond Beijing Committee
  18. Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Philippines
  19. Centre for Himalayan Integrated Development and Social Welfare
  20. Centre for Human Rights and Development
  21. Citizen News Service (CNS)
  22. Computer Professionals’ Union
  23. Colombo Plan Seretariate
  24. Cooperative Committee of Trade Union
  25. CSBR | Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies
  26. Dhaka Single Women Association (DSWA)
  27. Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality, Fiji
  28. Emonyo Yefwe International
  30. Feminist League
  31. Fiji Women’s Rights Movement
  32. Fundación para el Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer. (FEIM)
  33. Global Fund for Women
  34. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  35. GRIST
  36. Hebrew University
  37. Human Rights Focus Pakistan
  38. ICWAP
  40. International Migrants Alliance (IMA)
  41. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  42. Kalyanamitra
  43. KOCUN (Korea Center for United Nations Human Right Policy)
  44. MADRE
  45. Maitree
  46. MONFEMNET National Network
  47. Maruah
  48. MDS
  50. National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
  51. Nijera Kori
  52. Pakistan Kisan Mazdoor Tahreek
  53. PAN Philippines
  54. PF “Development of Civil Society”
  55. Rural Women’s Association “Alga”
  57. Sahanivasa
  58. Sathi All for Partnerships
  60. Shobujer Ovijan Foundation
  61. Socialist Party (India)
  62. Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum
  63. Tanggol Bayi, Philippines
  64. TelengaTelengana Vyavasaya Vruthidarula union- TVVU
  65. Terre des Hommes
  66. TierrActiva Peru
  67. UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative)
  68. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights
  69. Vote For Health campaign
  70. We Women Lanka
  71. WECF International
  72. Women For Human Rights Single Women Group (WHR)
  73. Women’ Centre
  74. Women’s Aid Organisation
  75. WOREC Nepal
  76. Worldview- The Gambia
  77. Youth LEAD

Please click here for the entire list of signatures (both organisational and individual).


About Maria Chin Abdullah

Through Bersih, human rights defenders like Maria have led some of the largest peaceful assemblies in the history Malaysia which created democratic space for their fellow Malaysians to speak out in public.  She has served as the National Women’s Coalition president and All Women Action Society (Awam) president. She was also executive director of the Women’s Development Collective and executive director of APWLD member, Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower). She has been recently awarded the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.


About BERSIH 2.0

BERSIH started out as the Joint Action Committee for Electoral Reform, which was formed in July 2005, and the coalition’s objective was to push for a thorough reform of the electoral process in Malaysia. BERSIH was officially launched on 23 November 2006 in the Malaysian Parliament building lobby. The time came for BERSIH to continue its crusade for clean and fair elections independent of any political party. BERSIH was thus  re-launched as BERSIH 2.0, a coalition of like-minded civil society organisations unaffiliated to any political party. Their aim is to effectively monitor both sides of the political divide.



For more information, please contact our communications team


Neha Gupta

Email: neha@apwld.org

Phone: + 66-53-284 527

+ 66-955 282 396


Fai Suluck

Email: fai@apwld.org

Phone: + 66-53-284 527


Please click here to download the press release.

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