#Human Rights in ASEAN
When human rights takes over comic strip: a fight for human rights in cartoonists perspective

Human Rights in ASEAN

“How can I be neutral, even my pen has a stand,” a quote from a famous Malaysian political cartoonist, Zunar has shared his view on how important it is to speak up about the injustice in the country.

On 3rd July 2021, a launch event of the online cartoon exhibition, “Human rights in ASEAN: The cartoonists perspective” was held.  

One of the most prominent political cartoonists, Zunar, described how much it takes to speak up about the corruption and injustice in Malaysia in the form of cartoons. Zunar was charged with 6 lawsuits and arrested many times for speaking up for justice. His 12 books have still been banned in Malaysia.

“Talent is not a gift, but talent is a responsibility,” said Zunar.

Dr. Maszlee Malik, a keynote speaker, also pointed out how important these cartoons are to society. He stated that in order to create a democratic society, a global citizen characteristic is vital for the citizen.

“The concept of maturity and responsibility is the link to the progressive education system, it’s a natural sense in democracy,” said Dr. Malik.

Mr. Eddin Khoo, an executive editor from the Vibes, also shared some interesting points. He mentioned that the work of human rights cartoons rises from the idea of ASEAN values or exclusive society where it is isolated from the movement all around the world. In order to tackle injustice, the power of satire comics is vital. In a country where an open discussion about those ones in power is not really free, the use of media like comics becomes an important tool.

“When people stop taking you seriously, the advancement of your rhetoric and impression on a community you try to command will no longer be valid,” Mr. Khoo added.

Human rights in ASEAN: The Cartoonists perspective is a virtual human rights cartoon event where 38 political cartoonists from 5 countries in ASEAN: Malaysian, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar present their views of human rights issues in the form of artworks. The event is being held on from 1st to 30th July 2021.