Malaysia: Youth encouraged to re-imagine a torture-free nation
An exhibition of cartoons and live painting sessions were part of a national event to mark theInternational Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June) and engage young Malaysians in a creative conversation on torture prevention.
Organised by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), in collaboration with the APT and Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF Thailand), the exhibition showcased 30 selected cartoons from acompetition for Malaysian youth held in 2021.
The exhibition was complemented by live painting sessions with renowned artists from Thailand and Malaysia, Tawan Wattutya and Zunar, and a public conversation with CrCF Thailand on using art to raise awareness and strengthen community support to prevent torture.
An important goal of the event – “Re-imagining a Torture-Free Nation” – was to inspire local artists and young people in Malaysia and Thailand to develop and share messages related to torture prevention through hopeful visual narratives.
The event also included a presentation by a former detainee and a public forum on how to end torture in Malaysia, led by anti-torture coalition #ACT4CAT.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), the Bar Council, Amnesty International Malaysia, Lawyers for Liberty and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) ran information booths to share their work and approach for preventing torture.
The activity is part of the#SafeInCustody project, funded by the European Union, which aims to reduce risky practices leading to torture and ill-treatment in police custody in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
SUARAM, CRCF and the APT also used the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture to welcome the Malaysian Government’s recent announcement to abolish the mandatory death penalty for certain criminal offences. The announcement is a positive step towards ensuring that all persons deprived of liberty, especially persons on death row, are treated with dignity and respect.
In addition, Malaysia’s efforts to join the 2022-2024 United Nations Human Rights Council is also an opportunity for the Government to invest more in policies and practices that guarantee everyone is safe in police custody.