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Malaysia: Government must stop forcible return of people to Myanmar

December 13th, 2022  •  Author:   Amnesty International  •  3 minute read
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People should not be returned to Myanmar while it remains in a state of unrest © Getty Images  

Decision to overturn stay on deportation of 114 people to Myanmar risks their safety

Return people to violent situations violates Malaysia’s human rights commitments

We strongly urge the Government to reconsider its plan and halt any decision to send people back to a violent and dangerous situation’ – Katrina Jorene Maliamauv and Tham Hui Ying

In response to today’s decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Malaysia to lift the stay of deportation of 114 people to Myanmar, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia and Tham Hui Ying, Executive Director of Asylum Access Malaysia, said:

“This court decision demonstrates how despite an international outcry, calls to halt the forcible return of people from Myanmar continue to be ignored. The Government is determined to deport people instead of finding solutions that safeguard the rights and security of people from Myanmar.

“Despite today’s lifting of the stay of deportation, we strongly urge the Government to reconsider its plan 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.

“People from Myanmar should be allowed to remain safely in Malaysia while their status is regularised and not be detained or forcibly returned to Myanmar in any way while it remains in a state of unrest.

“With a new Cabinet in place, the Government should end its dishonest approach of criticising the Myanmar military authorities while continuing quietly subjecting people to their forcible return to a country where they will be subjected to persecution.”

Judicial review

In February 2021, Amnesty Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia filed a judicial review to challenge the deportation of 1,200 people from Myanmar back to the country. Despite a court order and stay of deportation, 1086 of them were deported to Myanmar; at least 114 were not deported because they tested positive for Covid-19.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court granted 114 people a stay of deportation pending the judicial review’s outcome. In May this year, the Government filed an application to lift the stay.

In October, there was international outcry against the continued deportation of people back to Myanmar, including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN High Commission for Refugees.

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