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24 February, 2021 09:26:11 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 February, 2021 01:05:53 PM

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Malaysia deports Myanmar nationals despite court order

BBC, London
Malaysia deports Myanmar nationals despite court order
An immigration truck believed to be carrying Myanmar migrants from Malaysia back to their homeland. GETTY IMAGES

Malaysia has deported 1,086 people back to Myanmar, defying a court order and appeals from human rights group to halt the process.

Rights organisations say the group includes some ethnic minorities which have suffered persecution in Myanmar.

They say sending them back to Myanmar, which is in the midst of a coup, could put them at even greater risk.

But Malaysia has said those being sent back committed immigration offences, and are not asylum seekers.

"All of those returned had agreed to be sent back voluntarily without being forced by any party," Khairul Dzaimee Daud, Malaysia's director-general of immigration, said in a statement.

Mr Daud added that those being repatriated did not include Rohingya refugees or asylum-seekers, echoing an earlier statement by Malaysia that it would not deport those registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

However, the agency said at least six people registered with it were among the deportees, according to a Reuters news agency report. Rights groups also say that asylum seekers from the minority Chin and Kachin communities, who are fleeing persecution, are among those being deported.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, told news agency AFP that Malaysia had "sent them back into the hands of a military junta known for persecuting those who flee the country for political reasons".

The military took power in a coup on 1 February, ousting the elected government and declaring a year-long state of emergency.

The migrants deported on three Myanmar navy ships from a Malaysian military airbase on Wednesday, after arriving on packed trucks and buses.

This is despite the Kuala Lumpur High Court earlier issuing a stay to put the deportation on hold pending a hearing on Wednesday.

Authorities had earlier said 1,200 detainees were set to be deported - it is not clear why this was not met.

Authorities have blocked the UNHCR from accessing immigration detention centres in Malaysia for more than a year, according to reports.

This means the UN are unable to assess if those deported were economic migrants looking for work or asylum seekers.

Myanmar is currently seeing some of its biggest protests in years against a military coup.

Military leaders overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government and have placed her under house arrest, charging her with possessing illegal walkie-talkies and violating the country's Natural Disaster Law.

Protesters are demanding an end to the military's rule and want Ms San Suu Kyi released, along with senior members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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