Award winning Bersih 2.0 saw speech censored by Taiwan award giver

December 18, 2017

How sensitive human rights awards can be is shown again in the case of Taiwan’s Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award. The award (see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/asia-democracy-and-human-rights-award) is technically independent but closely related to the Government, which probably explains why the part concerning the “1MDB” corruption scandal in Malaysia  was deleted from Maria Chin Abdullah’s acceptance speech.

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[Parts of Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah’s acceptance speech when accepting the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in Taiwan last week were censored by organisers. A copy of the speech made available by the electoral reforms coalition today showed the censored portion was on state investment fund 1MDB and the allegations of corruption plaguing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration. The section of the speech, titled “Unfettered corruption”, was removed “due to diplomatic sensitivity”, the coalition said.]

Bersih 2.0 received the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award on 10 December 2017. The event was attended by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy chairman Su Jia-chyuan, the foundation’s president Hsu Szu-chien and civil society leaders. Bersih 2.0 received earlier the Gwangju award: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/26/malaysian-bersih-2-0-walk-for-democracy-wins-gwangju-human-rights-award/

Maria in her speech also touched on the lack of freedom of expression, attacks against human rights defenders, and the government’s use of laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2015 (Sosma). She charged that hate politics was part of a strategy to vilify rights activists. “The politics of hate, religious intolerance and exclusion, which adversely affect the freedom and human rights, are used against human rights defenders. Yet, impunity against wrong doers is not addressed,” she said, adding that change was still a long road ahead“Malaysians’ voices are loud and clear – racial hostility, generated hatred, intolerance, violence and poverty have no place in our nation…Our clarion call: They can jail us. They can beat us up. But, they can never break our spirit”.

 

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/12/18/human-rights-award-taiwan-censors-bersih-chiefs-speech/

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