Human rights has assumed greater importance over the years. Advocated resolutely since the end of World War II, the movement and belief on the significance of human rights practice have spread worldwide and it has even been adopted by the UN and documented as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It has been an issue of both substance and of moral arguments.
Malaysia takes a holistic approach to human rights in that it views all rights as indivisible and interdependent. In Malaysia, the rights of every citizen are protected by legal provisions in the Federal Constitution, which spells out the fundamental rights of all persons, including minorities. But these rights are not absolute and are subject to, among others, public order, morality and security of the country, which is consistent with the UDHR.
Photo: The Honourable Senator A. Kohilan Pillay, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs I, seen here with other ministerial delegates during the 17th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Singapore, 14-15 November 2009
While upholding the universal principles of human rights, Malaysia accentuates its human rights values which take into account the history of the country as well as the religious, social and cultural diversities of its communities. This is to ensure that the respect for social harmony is preserved and protected. The practices of human rights in Malaysia are reflections of a wider Asian value system where welfare and collective well-being of the community are more significant compared to individual rights.
Malaysia has been a staunch supporter of human rights and Malaysia participates actively in the local arena and international fora in order to demonstrate that the country has been, and will remain, truly committed towards improving its human rights system.