Mahathir to address pro-human rights rally same day as anti-ICERD one
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will be launching a pro-human rights rally on the same day as the anti-ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) rally on Saturday.
The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) is holding its first pro-human rights rally themed Stand Up 4 Human Rights in conjunction with International Human Rights Day that falls on Monday.
The rally will be held from 9am to 3pm at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya, while the rally against the ICERD will be held about 10km away at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Mahathir is also scheduled to speak at the rally, along with Chief Secretary to the Government Ismail Bakar.
International Human Rights Day is held to mark the conclusion of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Political parties Umno and PAS and Malay rights group Perkasa will be joining the anti-ICERD rally from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Its organisers had initially targeted one million participants, but later said they are expecting 500,000 people to celebrate the government's decision not to ratify ICERD.
The debate over ICERD erupted after a speech by Dr Mahathir at the UN General Assembly in September, where he said the Pakatan Harapan government would ratify the remaining human rights conventions endorsed by the world body.
However, after protests and threats of Malay unrest by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the government backtracked and said it would not ratify the convention against racial discrimination.
The organisers said the rally would now be one of celebration, rather than protest.
Malaysia is among the 14 countries in the world that have yet to ratify ICERD. Others include North Korea and Myanmar.
Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Iran have signed ICERD. - THE STAR