The Jakarta Post
Indonesian NGOs have condemned the Malaysian government's decision to deport human rights activist Mugiyanto Sipin as he attempted to enter the country to attend an event organized by the Bersih 2.0 coalition.
Antara news agency reported on Thursday that 62 NGOs, all members of the Indonesian Civil Society Coalition for the ASEAN Community, stated that the Malaysian government's action contradicted the spirit of the newly established ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Mugiyanto, a senior program officer for human rights and democracy with the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), was deported upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
In a joint statement, the NGOs slammed the Malaysian government for what they deemed an attack on freedom of movement and freedom of thought, speech and expression.
Freedom of expression is guaranteed in the political and security cooperation within the official document 'ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together', as well as the 2012 ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
The NGOs include INFID, Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), the ASEAN Youth Forum Indonesia, the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), Migrant Care, YLBHI, Indonesia for Humanity (IKA) and the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM).
Seperately, INFID executive director Sugeng Bahagijo urged the Indonesian government to condemn the deportation and demand the Malaysian government stand up for freedom of expression.
"The incident runs contrary to the ASEAN commitment to advance human rights in Southeast Asia," Sugeng said as reported by Antara.
As previously reported, Mugiyanto traveled to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday to speak at an event organized by the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0).
He was due to speak at the forum, entitled "People's Movement can Bring Change", about his experiences relating to democratization in Indonesia during the 1990s with Maria Chin Abdullah, chairman of Bersih 2.0 and a prominent local human rights activist.
Mugiyanto explained on his Facebook account on Thursday that Malaysian security officers had been ordered by the political authorities to ban him from entering as his presence was considered representative of foreign interference. (liz/rin)(+)