A 22-year-old Afghan refugee who was arrested for alleged human smuggling faces deportation. Suaram reminds the government that it is obliged to respect the international customary law not to deport people to places where they may face persecution.
Suaram has been informed that a 22-year-old Afghan refugee recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will be deported by the Immigration Department.
His name will not be revealed to protect his identity. He is currently detained at an Immigration Department lock-up at Putrajaya.
On 25 March 2010, the refugee was arrested with another Pakistani, allegedly for human smuggling. Although there are no charges under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act pressed against him, the Immigration Department has decided to deport him as provided for under Section 33 of the Immigration Act 1959/1963.
Even though Malaysian laws do not recognise the status of refugees, the Malaysian government is obliged to respect the international customary law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms. Protection from refoulement is the basic right of asylum seekers and refugees.
Suaram demands that the government stops the deportation of the Afghan refugee immediately and provides him immediate access to the UNHCR. We call upon the government to release him upon verification by the UNHCR if there are no charges pressed against him.
If the Malaysian Government intends to be elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Government must commit to upholding and protecting human rights, including the rights of refugees.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
7 May 2010