Government’s move to accept consent ruling marks positive step towards non-refoulement

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The consent judgement recorded on 29 May before the Kuala Lumpur High Court in MA Quayum’s habeas corpus application was a hopeful ray of light amid Malaysia’s longstanding notorious track record of arresting, arbitrarily detaining and deporting refugees and asylum seekers.

Recognising the high risk to physical safety that Quayum and his family continues to experience since 2008 due to state persecution, the Malaysian government has not only commendably upheld the inalienable right to life under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, but also demonstrated itself to be capable of operationalising the principle of non-refoulement.

Following this positive precedent, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) urges the “Madani” (civil and compassionate) government to concretise efforts to strengthen transnational responsibility in human rights protection, especially in view of our nation’s current membership in the UN Human Rights Council and the upcoming chairpersonship in Asean next year.

On this note, we call for the following:

  • Full acceptance and implementation of recommendations received during the fourth Universal Periodic Review on having a comprehensive legal and policy framework that will recognise and protect refugees and asylum seekers, as well as provide them with basic rights to work, education and healthcare
  • The issuing of official confirmation to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) to visit immigration detention centres and monitor conditions of detained refugees and asylum seekers
  • Consistent observance of the international principle of non-refoulement. Aside from refugees and asylum seekers, this principle should also be applied to protect human rights defenders who seek refuge in Malaysia due to life-threatening state reprisals.
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Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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