Human Rights Abuses Against Transgender People in Malaysia

Human Rights Watch
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This 73-page report documents government abuses against transgender people in Malaysia. In research in four Malaysian states and the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur, Human Rights Watch found that state Religious Department officials and police regularly arrest transgender women and subject them to various abuses, including assault, extortion, and violations of their privacy rights. Religious Department officials have physically and sexually assaulted transgender women during arrest or in custody, and humiliated them by parading them before the media.

Human Rights Watch conducted field research in Malaysia in January 2014 in four states – Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, and Pahang – and in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. Human Rights Watch interviewed 66 people, including 42 transgender women and 3 transgender men; lawyers; HIV outreach workers; a criminologist, a psychologist, and a medical doctor; a representative of the federal Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) and the governmental human rights commission (SUHAKAM); and an elected state assemblyman. Human Rights Watch contacted the Ministry of Health and the Prison Department about policies affecting transgender people, but neither agency responded.