Friday, December 07, 2007


The Bar Council has called off the December 9 Human Rights Walk. I think it was a mistake to have done so, but I have no interest in debating here the rights and wrongs of that decision. I write solely to declare that Iawyers who are determined to defend the freedom to peacefully assemble will nevertheless march on Sunday Dec 9 at 7.30am from Sogo to Central Market in commemoration of Human Rights Day.

We will march for the following reasons :

a) because it is our inalienable right to do so;

b) because Article 10 of the Federal Constitution gives us the right;

c) because they've got some cheek telling us we've got to petition the constabulary before exercising our fundamental rights.A right which can only be exercised with the consent of the District Police Chief is a shrivelled up and pitiful kind of right. It is a shadow of the shadow of a right;

d) because we're not inclined to be part of a culture of obedience to the high-handed directives of a tainted and unjust state apparatus;

e) because we're even less inclined to be menaced by a State which is so pathetically terrified of its citizens peacefully assembling.

Let us be clear about this: Any march/walk that is carried out under the authority and indulgence of the local police chief is not an assembly of free citizens. It is then nothing more than a chain-gang of miserable citizens marching under a cloud of fear.

The Bar Council as an institution has decided to cancel the march; but there is no reason why lawyers in their individual capacities and civil society groups should not carry on with the Sunday march. In view of the increasingly strident attacks by the authorities on the right to peacefully assemble, we have formed " Lawyers for Freedom of Assembly" to defend and protect that right. Caving in to the threats and hard tactics of the authorities will seriously set back the ongoing struggle for a just and free Malaysia.

All lawyers and civil society groups are welcome to join the " Lawyers for Freedom of Assembly" for our march on Sunday. Support this move to preserve the basic rights of all Malaysians.

Written by: N Surendran

For Inquiries:
N Surendran

Latheefa Koya
012 3842 972

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