Open letter of Asia and Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)
16 TRANSGENDER WOMEN JAILED AND DENIED HUMAN RIGHTS 25 June 2014 Bangkok, June 25, 2014 – The Asia Pacific Transgender Network is outraged over the imprisonment of 16 transgender woman (Mak Nyah) in a male jail for “cross-dressing”, a clear violation of human rights. On June 9, 2014, a religious court in Malaysia’s Negeri Sembilan state sentenced the 16 women in a hearing for violating Section 66 of the state’s Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992 that criminalizes cross-dressing, while releasing one other because she was under 18 years of age and considered a minor. The Mak Nyahs faced court without a lawyer and were detained in a male jail for seven days even though it was made clear by human rights groups that the women faced threats of sexual violence and abusive treatment while in detention. “Arresting someone for wearing certain clothes is shocking, but to also sentence them to jail should not be accepted,” says Ms Natt Kraipet, Network Coordinator at The Asia Pacific Transgender Network. “Sending a woman to a male jail is not only dangerous to her health and well being but also immoral.” The Negri Sembilan religious authorities arrested the transgender women after raiding a Malay wedding in Bahau, Jempol, on June 8, 2014. “The fact that authorities raided a wedding to arrest these transgender women shows how far authorities will go to undermine respect, equality and dignity of these transgender women. Section 66 clearly violates rights protected by Malaysia’s constitution, which is superior to state Sharia law. These include freedom of expression (article 10), equal protection (article 8), and freedom of movement (article 9).” says Mr Joe Wong, Project Manager at The Asia Pacific Transgender Network. The Asia Pacific Transgender Network urges the state authorities to fulfil its obligations under international and regional human rights standards. These include respecting the freedom of expression and rights of every citizen protected by legal provisions in the Federal Constitution. “Transgender women in Malaysia need to know that these rights are respected and that they deserve the same legal protections as other groups,” said Mr Wong. The Asia Pacific Transgender Network stands in solidarity with our sisters in Malaysia and applaud Justice for Sisters efforts in ensuring that the voices of transgender women are heard. The Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) The mission of APTN is to enable transgender men and women in the Asia and Pacific region to organize and advocate for the improvement of their health, protection of their legal, social and human rights, and the enhancement of their social well-being and quality of life.
Enquiries Natt Kraipet Network Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org +66 82 653 3999 Joe Wong Project Manager email@example.com +66 92 693 3265