M’sian human rights rep schools politicians on meaning of democracy

It is dangerous to misunderstand that only the views of the majority matter in a democracy, warned Malaysian Representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Eric Paulsen.

(Mkini) – Such an interpretation, Paulsen pointed out, is more akin to populism and serves as a threat to liberalism, which is inherent in all democracies.

“Populism is the enemy of pluralism, and thus our democracy.

“Populism imposes uniformity that everyone must be like them in order to claim the rights and privileges as Malaysians. This distorts the reality of diversity and seeks to elevate the ‘majority’ over others,” he added in a series of tweets this morning.

Paulsen was responding to a coalition of women’s rights groups, which urged the federal government to ensure there is democratic space for all, including persons of various sexual orientations, gender identities, survivors of gender-based violence, women with disabilities, indigenous women, working-class women and women demanding better healthcare.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) said this after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa trained his guns on LGBT supporters present at the Women’s March Malaysia over the weekend in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

The minister, who oversees Islamic affairs, claimed that the LGBT activists had abused the democratic space.

Paulsen (above) said democracy demands that all should be treated equally, with protection accorded to minority groups in particular.

“Civil liberties – freedom of speech, assembly, etc, must apply to all, not just those the ‘majority’ identifies with.

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