KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A Malaysian court on Tuesday, December 13, lifted a stay on the deportation of 114 Myanmar nationals, raising concerns among rights groups they would be sent back to their strife-torn homeland amid threats to their safety.
The court granted the request from the Malaysian government, which deported 1,086 Myanmar citizens just days after the Myanmar military seized power in a coup in February last year, despite a court-ordered stay on the deportation.
It was unclear if the group of 114 people would be deported immediately.
“We strongly urge the government to reconsider its plan,” Amnesty International Malaysia and Asylum Access said in a joint statement.
“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.”
The group of 114 people, who are in immigration detention, includes children and suspected asylum seekers, Amnesty Malaysia executive director Katrina Maliamauv told Reuters.
The United Nations refugee agency has not been allowed access to the detainees to determine their status, she said.
Malaysia’s immigration department did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
It has previously said those deported had been detained for immigration offenses. Malaysia does not formally recognize refugees, treating them as undocumented migrants.
Myanmar has been gripped by fighting since last year’s coup sparked protests from pro-democracy and resistance groups, which the military has met with lethal force.
Malaysia has repeatedly condemned violence in Myanmar but has not stopped sending Myanmar nationals, including suspected refugees, back home.
In October, Malaysia deported 150 Myanmar citizens, including some former navy officers seeking asylum, Reuters reported.
The United Nations has said such deportations violated international law on non-refoulement, which protects refugees or asylum seekers from being deported. – Rappler.com