By Free Malaysia Today
Two human rights groups have appealed to the government to reconsider its plans to deport 114 Myanmar refugees.
This follows a High Court decision issued by justice Ahmad Kamal Shahid today lifting an interim stay granted in 2021 to prevent the deportation of around 1,200 Myanmar nationals.
In a joint statement, Amnesty International Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia have called upon the government to halt any decision to send people back to a violent and dangerous situation.
“We continue to call for our leaders to respect human rights and international law and halt any decision to send people back to a violent and dangerous situation.
“Violating this most fundamental principle of non-refoulement would reflect poorly on the new government’s respect for human rights,” they said.
Last year, the two rights groups filed a suit against the Director-General of immigration and Home Minister to challenge the planned deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals back to their country.
In February 2021, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mariana Yahya granted an interim stay on their deportation.
The two groups claimed that despite the court order, 1,086 Myanmar nationals were deported with the assistance of the Myanmar navy.
Around 114 Myanmar nationals remained in Malaysia and are the subject of continued court proceedings.
The Director-General of immigration and Home Minister applied to lift the stay on the basis that the 114 Myanmar nationals had signed consent forms requesting to be returned to their country.
However, the rights groups challenged the consent, alleging that they were not given voluntarily. In particular, they said the forms were in the English language, and had been witnessed by Malaysian immigration officials and Myanmar consulate officials.
Lawyers Lim Wei Jiet and New Sin Yew, who represent the two rights groups, today said they had been instructed by their clients to immediately file an appeal and apply to the Court of Appeal for a stay on the deportation.
They are also appealing to the new Home Minister, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, to stop any planned deportation on humanitarian grounds, and are seeking a meeting soon to resolve the matter amicably.
The Director-General of immigration and Home Minister were represented by senior federal counsel M Kogilambigai.