Celebrating human rights for all in Sarawak’s first ever Festival of Rights
By Patricia Hului
The first of its kind, the Sarawak Festival of Rights held at the Old Court House last Dec 10 was unique as it managed to group a coalition of national and state civil society groups from various sectors to share their campaigns.
The event was organised to raise awareness of the key role played by human rights in bringing a dynamic modern society.
Event spokesperson Suraya Bujang from Purple Lily said, “The main aim is to bring about an open and dynamic modern society on the awareness of human rights since most of us, especially in Sarawak, take human rights for granted.
“We always think that is our right in the country, but we do not think of exercising the rights and we just follow the flow.”
Held in conjunction with International Human Rights Day, the festival was appropriately themed ‘Human Rights for All’ and it was hoped that more members of the public would come forward to participate in the various civil society groups in the state.
Suraya stated, “We are here to share our work and one of the subjects we like to talk, among others, is on discrimination in respect of gender, race and religion.”
Among the civil societies participated were Purple Lily, Ikram Sarawak, Sarawak Aids Concern Society, Lawyers Kamek 4 Change, Rise of Sarawak Efforts, Save Rivers and Teori Timur, Society for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak, Jaringan Orang Asal Se-Malaysia (JOAS), Sisters United and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sinar Harapan.
Organised by the Civil Society Project coalition, the event which also had film screenings, fun activities and mini exhibitions is expected to be organised annually.