Statement by Seksualiti Merdeka in Response to the Court of Appeal's Ban

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are posting this statement from Seksualiti Merdeka.

Below is the Seksualiti Merdeka's statement in response to the Court of Appeal's ban on August 19, 2013.

Seksualiti Merdeka: We Will March On

We, the members of the 2011 Seksualiti Merdeka organizing committee, are very disappointed by the decision of the Seksualiti Merdeka's appeal to review the police ban of Seksualiti Merdeka 2011.

The unanimous decision that was delivered on 19 August 2013 by the Court of Appeal Justices Datuk Clement Allan Skinner, Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md. Yusof and Datuk David Wong Dak Wah upheld the decision of High Court Judge, Rohana Yusuf, who presided over the matter during the leave hearing on March 1, 2012. In her judgment, she dismissed the case on the grounds that a decision by the police to investigate a matter after receiving police reports was not subject to judicial review, and that the ban was academic in nature. However, the number of police reports lodged and the groups and individuals who lodged the police reports against Seksualiti Merdeka as well as the outcome of the investigation remain unverified. The judges also maintained that the ban of Seksualiti Merdeka was only for the year 2011.

The court's decision to maintain that the police ban announced by the then Deputy Inspector of General, Khalid Abu Bakar, suggests that, should a police report be lodged against an activity or event of any nature by any group of any political leaning, the organizers can be subjected to pre-emptive and arbitrary banning based on the assumptions that the activity or event may cause public disorder and public enmity. This effectively shuts down public discourse and attempts to create dialogue that fosters understanding and advances collective maturity.

We still strongly feel that the police ban on Seksualiti Merdeka in 2011 was uncalled for, unnecessary, and a disproportionate response. We reiterate that Seksualiti Merdeka had been organizing its events since 2008 without triggering any public disorder, public enmity or incidents. In fact, by organizing our events, we have managed to reach out and sensitize members of the community regarding issues that greatly affect us, such as employment, persecution by the state, violence and acceptance. We have changed the hearts and minds of many, and lent support and courage to people to live their lives freely with dignity.

Seksualiti Merdeka believes that equality is for all, and no one should be persecuted and violated on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, class, ethnicity, religion, disability or other identity markers. We will continue to exercise our rights and promote justice and equality for all. We urge the members of the public to continue to support Seksualiti Merdeka and all groups that encourage public maturity and promote equality and social justice.