Do more to pro­tect our chil­dren

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

THE Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion of Malaysia (Suhakam) is trou­bled that the pro­tec­tion mech­a­nisms in the coun­try for chil­dren are fall­ing short in pro­tect­ing them from sex­ual vi­o­lence and abuse, to the ex­tent that com­plaints do not nec­es­sar­ily lead to suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tions, mainly due to weak­nesses in the laws.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, there were 12,987 cases re­ported to the po­lice be­tween Jan­uary 2012 and July 2016, and charges were filed in 2,189 cases. Shock­ingly, there were only 140 suc­cess­ful con­vic­tions.

Suhakam is ap­palled that the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act has been cited by the po­lice as the rea­son for not pub­lish­ing data in re­la­tion to child sex­ual abuse.

While Suhakam fully sup­ports the gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to en­act a Child Sex­ual Crimes Act to pro­tect chil­dren from sex­ual abuse, it cau­tions that such ef­forts will fail un­less pro­tec­tion mech­a­nisms are prop­erly im­ple­mented and the jus­tice sys­tem is re­formed to en­sure that sex­ual abuse cases are ef­fec­tively re­ported and thor­oughly pros­e­cuted.

Suhakam re­it­er­ates that hav­ing rat­i­fied the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia must un­der­take to pro­tect chil­dren from all forms of sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and sex­ual abuse which in­clude the ex­ploita­tive use of chil­dren in porno­graphic ma­te­ri­als. Re­gret­tably, spe­cific leg­isla­tive mea­sures are still not in place to pro­hibit among oth­ers, the pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy and ac­tiv­i­ties re­lat­ing to the mak­ing or dis­sem­i­na­tion of child porno­graphic ma­te­rial.

Spe­cific pro­vi­sions must be en­acted to crim­i­nalise the acts of pae­dophiles; as well as the pub­li­ca­tion, pos­ses­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion of child pornog­ra­phy.

Suhakam hopes that the se­ri­ous­ness of of­fences against chil­dren be fully and im­me­di­ately ac­knowl­edged by the gov­ern­ment and all stake­hold­ers.

Tan Sri Razali Is­mail Chair­man Suhakam

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