UN human rights experts are appalled by the Malaysian authorities’ decision to proceed with the deportation to Myanmar of over 1,000 detained migrants, including children and women at risk and other vulnerable individuals, despite a court order to suspend their return.
Immigration authorities on Tuesday returned 1,086 migrants, including unaccompanied minors and toddlers as young as three-years-old. However, on the same day, the Kuala Lumpur High Court had already issued an order to suspend their deportation pending a judicial review.
Following the coup d’état on 1 February in Myanmar and the systematic and widespread violations of the people’s fundamental rights and freedoms by the military, as noted by the Human Rights Council, the UN experts expressed concern that returnees might be exposed to serious violations of their human rights upon their return.
“The Malaysian authorities in defiance of the court order breached the principle of non-refoulement, a rule of jus cogens, which absolutely prohibits the collective deportation of migrants without an objective risk assessment being conducted in each individual case.
“Children should not have been separated from their family, or returned without determining that their return is in their best interests.”
The experts said identification processing and analysis of the migrants’ individual protection needs had not been adequately carried out.
The migrants have been held in Malaysia’s immigration detention facilities for prolonged periods on grounds of their irregular migration status. The Myanmar military regime had offered to send three navy ships to transport a total of 1,200 migrants.
SOURCE: UN HRC