Malaysia court stays deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals
Bangkok, Feb 23 (efe-epa).- The High Court of Kuala Lumpur decided on Tuesday to postpone the deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals, in response to an appeal filed by the nonprofits Amnesty International (AI) and Asylum Access.
Lim Wei Jiet, the lawyer representing the human rights organizations, confirmed on Twitter that the court has temporarily stopped the deportation, initially scheduled for Tuesday, and has decided to continue further hearings on the matter on Wednesday.
The court “has granted an interim stay against the Malaysian Government from deporting the 1,200 Myanmar nationals until tomorrow 10am. They were scheduled to be deported by the Myanmar navy today at Lumut naval base,” tweeted the lawyer.
Meanwhile, navy ships from Myanmar remain docked at Lumut naval base, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, prepared to proceed with the transfer of their immigrants held in detention centers in Malaysia.
The immigrants face a return to their country, which going through a turbulent period especially since the recent coup by the army.
AI denounced the Malaysian government’s deportation plan and recalled that it was being carried out without transparency, against the country’s obligations to respect the rights of migrants and refugees, and was putting their lives at risk.
“This effort to halt the deportation is based on information from refugee groups evidently indicating that asylum seekers and refugees are among the individuals being sent to Myanmar,” said Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia.
“There are also reports that those due to be deported include children in detention with at least one parent still in Malaysia. Separating children from their parents is an extremely inhuman practice that places these minors at grave risk and goes against the best interest of the child,” she added.
The Malaysian government had accepted an offer from Myanmar to bring back 1,200 of its immigrants aboard naval ships on Feb. 23.
Although Malaysia is committed to accept the refugee status of those recognized as such by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
However, Malaysia has not allowed the UN body to enter immigration detention centers since August 2019, effectively preventing them from identifying asylum seekers. EFE-EPA