Pushing back boat carrying refugees and scurrilous attack wrong – Statement dd 4/28/2020

On 16 April 2020, the Malaysian Navy pushed back to sea a boat carrying Rohingyas. In violation of international law obligations to provide access to asylum seekers. In January this year, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Rohingyas were “extremely vulnerable” to military violence; and faced the threat of genocide. Sending them back to a territory where they would be at risk of such dire human rights violations clearly falls afoul of general international human rights as well as customary international law.pdf

Predictably, there has been a rising chorus of protest against the government’s action. Unfortunately, there have also been vicious attacks against those who have expressed concern. We refer in particular to one such statement by the Ambassador to Malaysia of The European Rohingya Council Tengku Emma Zuriana Bt Tengku Azmi who expressed her organisation’s grave disquiet.

Regretfully, instead of a civil and balanced reasoned discussion or response, her statement was visited upon by a sustained barrage of vitriolic abuse. Which transcended into personal, aggressive, racist and sexist comments. It even incited criminal acts of rape and physical violence against her person. Read more