Authorities cannot ban a peaceful assembly

Objections to rally no reason for May Day ban, Suhakam tells police

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — The authorities cannot ban a peaceful assembly purely on grounds that there are objections to the event being held in a particular area, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today.

Its chairman, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, said the commission maintains its position that freedom of peaceful assembly is a universal right that includes freedom of public expression, as outlined under Article 10 of the Federal Counstitution and by international charters on human rights.

“While the authorities have a duty to strike a fair balance between the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and the competing rights of others in the locality affected by an assembly, the Commission advises that opposition to an assembly is not good reason to impose prior restrictions on an assembly.

“Furthermore, while it is acknowledged that public assemblies may cause some level of temporary interference with, or disruption to, routine daily activities, assemblies are, by definition, temporary activities,” he said in a statement.

Hasmy acknowledged that the right to freedom of assembly only applies to peaceful gatherings and not rallies that are organised with violent intentions or to cause public disorder.

“However, the possibility of violent counter-demonstrations for example does not forfeit police protection and, therefore, restrictions placed on such assemblies must be in conformity with the law and for the purposes of protecting the right of peaceful assembly,” he said.

Objections to rally no reason for May Day ban, Suhakam tells police
April 30, 2015 – MMO


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