Buddhist monks display pictures of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a street march against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.(AP)
Buddhist monks display pictures of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a street march against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.(AP)

UN says Malaysia should not deport refugees amid concern over Myanmar detainees

Malaysia agreed to return them after the Myanmar military, which seized power in a Feb. 1 coup, offered to send three navy ships to pick citizens held in Malaysian immigration detention centres, officials and sources told Reuters this week.
Reuters |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 12, 2021 04:05 PM IST

The UN refugee agency said on Friday Malaysia should not deport refugees after Reuters reported that it was planning to send 1,200 Myanmar nationals back to their country.

Malaysia agreed to return them after the Myanmar military, which seized power in a Feb. 1 coup, offered to send three navy ships to pick citizens held in Malaysian immigration detention centres, officials and sources told Reuters this week.

"The principle of non-refoulement applies also in Malaysia as part of customary international law which is binding on all states," Yante Ismail, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur, told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Malaysia's director-general of Immigration, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, confirmed on Thursday that 1,200 Myanmar nationals were to be sent back but did not say if any of them were refugees.

Malaysia does not formally recognise refugees, instead regarding people who arrive without proper documents as illegal migrants.

It is home to more than 154,000 asylum-seekers from Myanmar.

Also read| Lunar New Year celebrations amid Covid-19 pandemic in pictures

In the past, people from Myanmar detained in Malaysia have included members of the ethnic Chin, Kachin and the Muslim Rohingya communities fleeing conflict and persecution.

Rights groups have expressed concern over the safety of Myanmar refugees after the military coup.

The UNHCR said Malaysian authorities had yet to inform it of the deportation but it was concerned that a "number" of those in detention may require international protection, including vulnerable women and children.

The UNHCR has not been allowed entry into Malaysia's detention centres since August 2019, preventing it from being able to identify refugees and leaving no way out for the asylum seekers.

Malaysia has toughened its stance on immigration during the Covid-19 pandemic, arresting thousands of undocumented migrants.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON

Related Stories

Myanmar's military checkpoint is seen on the way to the congress compound in Naypyitaw, Myanmar(REUTERS)
Myanmar's military checkpoint is seen on the way to the congress compound in Naypyitaw, Myanmar(REUTERS)

Facebook to curb content shared by pages, profiles run by Myanmar military

Bloomberg |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 12, 2021 02:42 PM IST
Facebook said it’s treating the situation in the Southeast Asian nation as an emergency, mobilizing resources including Myanmar nationals with native language skills to respond to any threats swiftly.
Around 100 protesters were arrested on Tuesday after police cracked down on protesters who had staged demonstrations.(AP)
Around 100 protesters were arrested on Tuesday after police cracked down on protesters who had staged demonstrations.(AP)

Myanmar committee to take action against officer who fired live ammunition

ANI |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 12, 2021 06:10 AM IST
19-year-old Ma Myat Thet Khine was critically wounded after being shot in the head by a police officer who had resorted to using live ammunition.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP