Azmi Khalid was a strong advocate of human rights during his lifetime, and was one of Aliran’s right arms. He was born into a family of ten, and spent most of his childhood in Melaka. Educated partially at Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star and later the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, Azmi went on to pursue his legal studies at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Upon his return, Azmi joined the Faculty of Law at Universiti Malaya and began his teaching career in the area of Public International Law and Constitutional Law. He, among others, paved the way for human rights courses at UM. His passion concerning human rights stretched over his teaching where in 1975 he attempted to register a human rights society, Persatuan Hak Asasi Kebangsaan Malaysia (HAKAM) — a society which was eventually registered in August 1990.
Meanwhile, Azmi joined Aliran in 1978. Azmi introduced the column “Human Rights Round-up” in the Aliran’s Quarterly where he wrote many articles about human rights issue and partook in human rights seminars for many years. Azmi’s vigorous involvement lead to many changes in the country’s human rights course, such as the amendments to the Societies Act in 198, which was also a turning point for Aliran. During the Operation Lalang in 1982, Azmi managed to secure the release of some detainees through applications of the writ of habeas corpus, although his health was already declining.
Before passing away at the age of 42 in 1992 from a fatal disease, Azmi Khalid had to slow down his involvement, but not his conviction. Azmi’s passion poured onto others whose lives he had touched, such as his students who have grown to become lawyers with a deep sense of social responsibility. Azmi Khalid is remembered by his family and friends as a loving and dedicated husband, father, comrade, and teacher.