Addressing The WHY: One Story Of LoyarBurok And MCCHR In Domesticating Human Rights

Published date03 March 2023
Subject MatterGovernment, Public Sector, Human Rights
Law FirmAmerBON
AuthorMr Edmund Bon and Wong Pui Yi

When we first started "doing human rights", there was a great deal of scepticism. Some would say that human rights work was ineffective, useless, and a waste of resources. "No point doing anything-lah, nothing will change". Others who were more optimistic said, "It is a long game. It takes time to reform deep-seated problems."

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the effectiveness of human rights activism and advocacy are influenced by organisational strength and the sustainability of the groups and movements that drive them.

Often, in the hustle and bustle of our everyday work and the problems we face as advocates and activists, we tend to forget the "why" of organising ' funding, platforming, and mobilising ' for human rights.

So, WHY? Why do we pursue human rights activism through organised advocacy? Human rights groups have for years been domesticating human rights, and it turns out that there is a theory for it ' vernacularisation, the process of appropriation and adoption of international human rights ideas and norms in a given local context.

In our chapter on LoyarBurok (LB) and the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR), we analysed the development of LB/MCCHR as living examples of how human rights are being vernacularised in our country.

We sought to answer the question of what the everyday practice of human rights is. How do Malaysian lawyers "live" human rights? Exploring the practice of doing human rights, we examined how lawyers empowered by the 1998-1999 Reformasi movement...

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