By Hassan Omar Hassan
Are you ‘shocked’ that the proposed National Intelligence Service (NIS) Bill is draconian? That it is an amateur attempt to ‘quash’ and renege on various provisions of the Constitution.
That the Bill is still an improvement from the previous draft from the National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS) proposal owing to the input from the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution . And despite this, we still have a bad Bill!
Can you imagine the extent of erosion or corrosion of the Constitution the NSIS had intended? Do you recall attempts to insert the words “national security” in the draft Constitution to curtail fundamental freedoms? Are the intentions of these archaic security operatives now clearer?
Do you know who the Director General of the NSIS is? Do you think he has a background in human rights, democracy or constitutionalism? Do you think he is impartial and sophisticated? Do you think the NSIS is politically neutral? One wonders why the Ahmed Isaack Hassan elections Commission would want political office candidates to seek ‘clearance’ from such a polarised institution before it is reformed.
These Edgar Hoover wannabes must be contained and neutralised before they sedate our hard fought and gained freedoms. They have no idea of the cost of struggle.
I will continue with this discussion as and when necessary. For now, let me focus on the festive season. Muslims across the world are celebrating Idd-ul- fitr. It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadhan. I thank God for enabling us to complete our fast.
My specific focus this Idd is a dedication to share-in and support liberation cause(s) and the quest for justice and human rights of the oppressed peoples and in particular the Rohingya of Myanmar. The United Nations has referred to the Rohingya as among the most persecuted people on earth.
The Rohingya is a Muslim minority comprising about 800,000 people who live in the Arakan region in western Myanmar ( Burma). They have often suffered prejudice, violence, displacement, killings, rape, mass arrests and torture in the hands of the Buddhist majority and the Burmese government.
The recent spat of violence against the Rohingya in the western Rakhine state has brought to fore and international spotlight the persecution of the Rohingya. Hundreds of Rohingya were murdered and thousands displaced in June.
Most of the outrage to this campaign of ethnic cleansing and support for the victims has come from Muslim nations. True to its calling though, the Human Rights Watch has turned international spotlight on the violations and the perpetrators.
What though has sparked anxiety within the international human rights movement is the silence by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on the plight of this Burmese minority. Her silence is largely attributed to her political arithmetic not to antagonise the majority Buddhist vote! During her much publicised European tour in June and news conferences in Geneva, Dublin and Paris, Suu Kyi responded vaguely to questions on the violence and the persecution of the Rohingya.