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APHR launches toolkit for legislators in Malaysia to counter hate speech towards migrants

APHR launches toolkit for legislators in Malaysia to counter hate speech towards migrants

Diplomatic Correspondent

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), in partnership with the office of the Speaker of Malaysia’s House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat), has launched the Toolkit for Parliamentarians to “Promote Counter Narrative to Hate Speech Towards Migrants and Refugees in Malaysia”.

The launch, which was held in the Malaysian parliament, was attended by members of parliament, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Malaysia, ambassadors and representatives of foreign embassies in Malaysia, members of civil society, as well as the media.

“I urge all MPs present here today to utilize this toolkit as a powerful tool in raising awareness about the issue of hate against migrants and refugees. By doing so, we can collectively work towards creating a more inclusive and human rights-respecting society,” said Malaysian House Speaker Johari bin Abdul.

Due to its diversity, strategic location, relatively stronger economy, and workforce needs, Malaysia is one of the largest migrant-receiving countries in Southeast Asia. However, migration remains a sensitive topic in the country, with a vast majority of Malaysians having negative perceptions of migrants and refugees, reads a press statement of APHR on Thursday (June 8).

Mainstream political leaders, such as MPs, play an important role in the construction of narratives on migration. Political narratives that emphasize the positive role of migrants and refugees in society and economies have proven to be successful in limiting the rise and influence of negative migration narratives.

This is why APHR has created this toolkit, which aims to help parliamentarians become agents of social progress by using their voice to spread positive counter-narratives to hate speech towards migrants in Malaysia.

“We hope that this toolkit can empower MPs to take action against hate speech towards migrants and refugees, promote positive narratives and end harmful perceptions, stereotypes, and disinformation about these communities and celebrate their contributions to economic growth, social development, cultural enrichment, so we can build a Malaysia that thrives in diversity,” said APHR member and Malaysian MP Wong Chen.

The toolkit includes an explanation of what constitutes hate speech and the importance of countering such speech, as well as possible strategies that MPs can use to promote positive narratives about migrants and refugees both in parliament and in their respective constituencies.

“The role of parliamentarians in building inclusive and fair societies cannot be overemphasized. As political leaders elected by their constituencies, they have a paramount responsibility and undeniable power to influence public policies and shape the discourse on human rights, tolerance, solidarity, and inclusiveness,” said UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia Karima El Korri.

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