Malaysia slammed for deporting 6 military defectors from Myanmar

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — A Malaysian rights group on Friday condemned the government’s decision to deport 150 Myanmar nationals, including six Myanmar army defectors who were all arrested upon arrival in their home countries and face the death penalty .

Malaysia’s Myanmar Advisory Group said the Oct. 6 deportation was “a violation of the international principle of non-refoulement” as asylum seekers were returned at risk to their lives and safety.

“Six of these deportees were defectors from the Burmese army. They were all arrested upon arrival in Myanmar and are now imprisoned and face the death penalty,” said the group’s chairman, Syed Hamid Albar, who is also Malaysia’s former foreign minister.

Syed Hamid said the expulsion was tragic as Malaysia has played a leading role in the region in advocating for human rights in Myanmar.

“The Malaysian government must have a strong and consistent stance on Myanmar, aligning our domestic policies with our foreign policy stance,” he said.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has denounced Myanmar’s failure to implement a peace plan under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations after Iran seized power. army in February last year, toppling the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

ASEAN members have blocked Myanmar leaders from attending major meetings of the regional grouping. Saifuddin also met openly with Myanmar’s opposition national unity government.

Syed Hamid urged Malaysia to immediately suspend any further deportations to Myanmar until there are adequate procedures to assess asylum seekers’ asylum claims, whether or not they have documents from the High Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees. UNHRC has not had access to immigration centers in the country for years.

“These mechanisms are particularly important as asylum seekers currently face long waits to obtain UNHCR documentation, which puts them at high risk of arrest and detention,” he said. -he declares.

Home Office officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The government had previously said it planned to take over refugee management and close the UNHCR office, drawing criticism as Malaysia does not recognize asylum seekers or refugees.

Despite this, the government allowed a large part of the population to stay on humanitarian grounds. It is home to some 180,000 UN refugees and asylum seekers, including more than 100,000 Rohingya and other members of Myanmar’s ethnic groups.

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