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From our Member, SUARAM, Malaysia – Prosecution of Young Refugee Violates Malaysia’s International Human Rights Obligations!

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23 February 2017

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemn the detention of the 15 years old Rohingya refugee for not possessing appropriate travel documents.

Refugees remain one of the most marginalized community in Malaysia due to the continued refusal to acknowledge their existence by the Malaysian government and government institutions. The legal vacuum in terms of rights and recognition created by the Malaysian government has contributed to the widespread exploitation of refugees in Malaysia and enabled the widespread trafficking activities that continue to plague the refugee community and Malaysians alike.

The decision to prosecute a 15 years old refugee for not possessing appropriate travel documents marks another low in the persecution of refugees in Malaysia by the Malaysian government. Furthermore, despite the potential impact on a child’s development and growth, the person in question has been languishing in detention at Kajang Prison since December 2016 after application for his bail was denied by Sepang Magistrate Court.

Despite the vocal stance adopted by Prime Minister Najib Razak on the crisis in Rohingya, the protection of the Rohingya community in Malaysia remains non-existent. The hypocrisy shown by the Malaysian government in this regard clearly outline the unconscionable attempt to politicize a humanitarian crisis.

Furthermore, the continued detention of this individual reveals the failure of the Malaysian government in fulfilling the obligations under Article 22 the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child where the government is obliged to provide appropriate protection and humanitarian to refugee children.

SUARAM once again reiterate our strongest condemnation for the current state of affairs in regards to the persecution of refugees in Malaysia and call for immediate intervention into the prosecution of the 15 years old Rohingya minor in question.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

For the PDF version of this statement click here.