Featured, Gender, Govt

PRESS: Home Minister, IGP, Act Now: Stop Police Humiliation of Detainees

Originally published here

Press statement by the Good Governance and Gender Equality Society, Penang (3Gs) and the Women’s Rights Awareness Association (WRAA)

040611 | Penang

We refer to the news in Malaysiakini on a recent vice raid in Penang by Bukit Aman police officers (http://malaysiakini.com/news/165943).

The news portal and other dailies reported that the police conducting the raid chained-up 30 foreign women and marked the women’s foreheads and chests with pens after they were detained for alleged prostitution.

3Gs and WRAA are issuing this joint-statement to condemn the acts of the police in chaining and marking the detainees.

First of all, such acts amounted to the condemnation of the detainees before they were proven guilty by due process.

Secondly, even if a person is guilty of a crime, he or she should be treated humanely and only within the provisions of the laws and of human rights. No persons whether guilty or much less so if not guilty, should be treated cruelly, inhumanly or derogatorily.

Thirdly, the fact that such acts were inflicted on women detainees reinforces the chauvinism of the police officers involved. Historically, women were seen as the weaker sex and subservient to men and hence were often subjected to abuse and violence. The gender power gap has led to the control and subjugation of women. The society paradoxically sees women as helpless and needy while at the same time accuses them of being the cause of all sorts of social ills. The police force being the law enforcing body of our society not only did not show any efforts to dispel such unfair notions about women, it reinforces traditional gender inequality by their frequent acts of subjecting women detainees to shame, for example, by exposing women detainees in vice raids to the media and thus giving the impression that only women were involved or were the main culprits.

Hence, we urge the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police to seriously look into this matter and stop the shameful humiliation of police detainees, both female and male. One measures that can be taken is for the Malaysian Government disassociate itself from other undemocratic regimes in the world and to immediately ratify the United Nation Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.

Steven Sim
Executive Director
3Gs Penang

Teo Gaik Mooi

(featured image from Malaysiakini.com)

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