Ugly politics in Malaysia’s inconsistent refugee policy

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: There certainly is inconsistency in the way the government deals with refugees from various ethnicities and religions.

However, say several people working with refugees or who are familiar with the situation, this is largely due to politics rather than religion.

MP Charles Santiago and lawyer Latheefa Koya feel the government’s “ad hoc” approach is geared towards scoring political points while Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das wants the government to give equal protection to all refugees regardless of race or religion.

They were commenting on an opinion piece published in Asia Times, that Putrajaya’s handling of the Rohingya refugee issue reflects the inconsistencies, and the bias, inherent in its refugee policy. Read more

Rohingya fleeing violence won’t be turned away, says Immigration D-G

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

THE Immigration Department said today it will not turn away Rohingya fleeing the mass killings in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

However, Director-General Mustafar Ali said, this did not mean illegal immigrants were off the hook, as the department would continue its crackdown on them.

“If they come to the country to avoid being killed, of course we will ensure that they are allowed in. No, we will not detain them. Read more

Malaysian NGOs rouse Muslims to defend Rohingyas

Source: FMT News 

Pic from FMT News

GEORGE TOWN: A group of about 20 Muslim NGOs held a protest in Penang today to demand that the world’s superpowers intervene and stop the alleged atrocities on Muslims in the Rakhine province of Myanmar.

Some 1,000 people gathered after Friday prayers outside the Kapitan Kling Mosque here, listening to leaders from the group rousing them to take action to defend the Rohingyas and pressure the Myanmar government to end the violence.

They called on the United Nations (UN) and superpower nations to send military forces to stabilise the region.

Protesters held placards which read “Myanmar police and military are butchers”, “Stop the genocide” and “Stop killing our Rohingya brothers and sisters”. Read more

KL tribunal on Rohingya crisis to hear victims’ testimonies

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A non-governmental tribunal on the conditions of the Rohingyas, Kachins and other reportedly persecuted minorities in Myanmar will be held in Kuala Lumpur later this month.

Organised by the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) and the International Forum on Buddhist-Muslim Relations (BMF), the event will see victims from the communities, providing testimonies on what they have experienced.

In a joint statement today, the three NGOs said the tribunal, with the Rome-based Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) acting as its convenor, would be the second and concluding session of proceedings that began in London in March. Read more

Anifah: Malaysia will keep raising plight of Rohingyas at UN, OIC meetings

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 6 — Malaysia will continue to raise the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar at the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

He said Malaysia would not stop looking into all possibilities to stop further escalation of violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state after Asean failed to address the issue efficiently.

“I think Asean can no longer handle this issue. Within Asean, I have given up hope. We had seven meetings, and Malaysia had expressed our concerns to Myanmar and they (Myanmar) promised to address the concern.

“Until today, nothing has been done. Therefore, Malaysia may raise it at other levels, like the United Nations and OIC,” he said when asked to comment if Malaysia would bring up the issue of the continuing violence against the Rohingya at this month’s United Nations General Assembly. Read more

Respect Malaysian laws in return for hospitality, Suhakam tells Rohingyas

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said today that Rohingya refugees must respect and adhere to local laws, in return for the country’s compassion and hospitality.

The commission also insisted that violent protesters lose any protection afforded to them under the right to peaceful assembly and the police shall act against them, after a street protest on Wednesday that saw several protesters arrested.

Despite that, the commission said it still believes that everybody has the right of peaceful assembly on the basis of Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that is also guaranteed in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“This right is constitutionally guaranteed for Malaysians in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution,” the commission’s chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement. Read more

Suhakam chief: Rohingyas ‘stretching’ sympathy with street protest

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman had reportedly criticised the Rohingyas for taking to the streets to protest the unrest in Myanmar on Wednesday.

Singapore’s Channel News Asia quoted Tan Sri Razali Ismail as saying that the Rohingyas “shouldn’t have stretched” the sympathy they have by holding a street demonstration, which reportedly turned violent.

He said instead the protesters should have used the proper channel in “an orderly fashion”.

“There’s a lot of sympathy for Rohingyas here but they shouldn’t have stretched it … I wish they would make representation to the government in an orderly fashion. I do not think taking to the streets in a foreign country is the way out,” he said. Read more

DPM denies arbitrary issuance of UNHCR card for Rohingyas

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Malaysia will not arbitrarily issue the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card to the Rohingyas who have sought refuge in the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said this was to avoid Malaysia and its people from being overburdened with a flood of Rohingyas fleeing the ethnic clashes in Myanmar.

The decision to deny arbitrary granting of the refugee card to the Rohingyas had the cooperation of the UNHCR itself, he said to reporters after handing over sacrificial cows for Aidiladha in his parliamentary constituency of Bagan Datuk, here, today.

“Our priority is our people and their welfare. It is not that we are not being humanitarian. I think the international community should show concern for the plight of the Rohingyas,” he said. Read more

Non-interference must give way to human rights — Centhra

Source: The Malay Mail Online

AUGUST 28 — The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) is deeply concerned over the renewed violence affecting the Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine state in Myanmar which has caused hundreds of innocent lives killed and thousands other to flee to the border with neighbouring Bangladesh, whose border guards are turning them back in breach of international humanitarian principles.

While Asean members continue, disappointingly, to turn a blind eye, even the Pope, Francis I, has condemned the renewed violence and called for an end to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, which Centhra welcomes.

It must be emphasised that the current crisis in Rakhine state in Myanmar has the potential of unravelling the entire Asean project unless member states deal with it wisely. To this end, two international treaties binding the Asean community as a whole, namely the Asean Charter and the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD). Read more

Shahidan: No privileges for Rohingya children born in Malaysia

Source: Astro Awani

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not give special privileges to children of Rohingya refugees born in Malaysia, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

He said this group of people comprising United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders, however, could move freely in Peninsular Malaysia, were free to practise their culture and religious faith, received a 50-per cent discount at government hospitals compared to other foreigners, besides having access to private education.

Nonetheless, he said, UNHCR cardholders found to have committed offences in this country would face the law.

“The government does not recognise the refugee status of the ethnic Rohingya minority as Malaysia is not a signatory to the (United Nations) 1951 Convention related to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Read more