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Ivy Josiah, who is the event’s convener, did acknowledge that women’s tribunals and people’s tribunals ‘do not have the authority or power of the state’. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Ivy Josiah, who is the event’s convener, did acknowledge that women’s tribunals and people’s tribunals ‘do not have the authority or power of the state’. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — The country’s first Women’s Tribunal, organised by the women’s rights coalition Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) and Engender Consultancy, is set to take place virtually at the end of November this year.

Called the Women’s Tribunal Malaysia 2021, the event’s steering committee of 14 women’s organisations said the tribunal aimed to provide an alternative form of justice and advocacy for women’s human rights and gender equality in Malaysia.

“While the Women’s Tribunal is not an officially sanctioned body, nor does it go through a formal judicial process, organisers believe that it will be guided by principles of inclusivity and intersectionality, and will be a powerful tool for gaining support for women’s rights and gender equality.

“The tribunal aims to show gaps in current legislation and policy, provide an alternative form of justice and advocacy for women’s human rights and gender equality, and create a space for women to be agents of change,” the steering committee said in a statement.

The tribunal is also open to all members of the Malaysian general public, via Facebook live.

Pre-registration is however required for those who plan to attend the tribunal via Zoom, with invitation links subsequently emailed to participants.

Ivy Josiah, who is the event’s convener, did acknowledge that women’s tribunals and people’s tribunals “do not have the authority or power of the state”.

“We want to highlight all of women’s rights be it civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights.

“Furthermore, we are mounting this tribunal not only to strengthen our lobbying efforts but to get the attention of the public, ordinary Malaysians who will get to hear first-hand the testimonies from affected women,” she said.

Accordingly, the event will be hosted virtually through the Zoom video-conferencing platform in dual language — English and Bahasa Malaysia — with the inclusion of sign language to ensure accessibility for an inclusive audience.

Co-convener Wathshlah G. Naidu said the event will be hosted from November 27 to November 28 with a panel of three judges presenting their findings and recommendations on December 4.

“The judges will hear testimonies from 15 to 20 witnesses on their respective experiences over the course of two days.

“This will be followed by statements from women’s human rights advocates, who will provide further context and analysis on why women continue to face the specific forms of discrimination as well as identify the gaps in laws and policies and how the State has failed to meet its international human rights commitments,” she said.

Among the notable invitees included Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Tan Sri Othman Hashim and Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cdaw) Gladys Acosta.

Those who wish to register or to know more about the event may visit the Women’s Tribunal Malaysia official website here.

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