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Malaysia Is Deporting 1,200 Detainees To Myanmar on 23 February, Here’s Why You Should Care

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Source: Nikkei Asia & CNN


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Despite advice from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Malaysian government has decided to return 1,200 Myanmar nationals including women and children back to their home country tomorrow (23 February) even as it is currently undergoing a military coup.

On 1 February, Myanmar’s military seized power over the government and declared a year-long state of emergency following a general election which led to Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party winning a landslide victory, reports BBC.

Myanmar naval ships arrived in Malaysian waters on Saturday (20 February) to pick up the detainees, triggering the alarm from the U.N. refugee agency and the United States who expressed their concern that the mission will put these deportees’ lives at risk.

Thu Zar Moung, founder and chairwoman of the Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community, added that 85 Myanmar Muslim detainees, including vulnerable groups like women and children, are set to be deported. “They don’t want to go back to Myanmar,” she said, in a statement recorded by Reuters.

“Even during the trip from Malaysia to Myanmar, their lives can be threatened and (it is) dangerous.”  


No access to detainees

Malaysia has vowed not to deport Rohingya Muslims and refugees identified by the UNHCR. Yet, there are still concerns over the deportation of asylum-seekers as the U.N. agency has not been granted permission to interview detainees for more than a year to verify or register them.

According to NGO, Amnesty International, the Malaysian government has not permitted UNHCR to access immigration detention centres since August 2019. Hence, the agency has not been able to identify asylum seekers and refugees to facilitate their release, leaving them as captives.

“UNHCR must immediately have full access to the 1,200 people. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin must instruct the immigration department to work closely with UNHCR to ensure not a single person seeking asylum, refugee or anyone who may be at risk of human rights violations is forced to return to Myanmar,” said Amnesty International Malaysia’s Executive Director, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv.

Over a thousand lives will be put at risk if the mission to send these detainees back to Myanmar proceeds tomorrow. While these asylum-seekers aren’t able to help themselves, we can help them by taking up the call to action.


What can I do? 

Thankfully, there is a way to stand up for this voiceless community by spreading the word and pressuring those in power to stop the mass deportation of detainees.

Just visit https://amnestymy.nationbuilder.com and use the form provided to fill up your email to pressure the government to stop this deportation. You can also use the hashtag #MigranJugaManusia and spread the word about what’s happening to encourage others to take action too!

These refugees are in danger of being sentenced to jail and persecution during a military coup if they are sent back to Myanmar. If we don’t collectively speak out for them, who will? 

 

Also read: M’sian Explains Why The Hatred Towards Refugees In Malaysia Has To Stop

Source: Nikkei Asia
Source: CNN


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