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SUHAKAM calls for government to ratify refugee convention

Graphic: Commissioner Jerald Joseph

The Commission has questioned the reason to detain and deport three Cambodian nationals, a decision that was later reversed.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has welcomed the actions taken by the Home Ministry to withdraw the deportation order of Cambodia National Rescue Party Vice President Mu Sochua and two other Cambodian activists who were held in detention at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

SUHAKAM Commissioner Jerald Joseph said officers from the Commission's complaints division had visited the detainees and confirmed they had been treated decently. They were later released from detention and permitted entry into Malaysia.

In a statement, SUHAKAM questioned the reason for the initial detention and deportation decision of all three Cambodians, "given that their detention was unwarranted in the first place".

"Their right not to be deprived of personal liberty is guaranteed by Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. SUHAKAM therefore urges the authorities to clarify their grounds for initially detaining the Cambodians," the statement said.

"SUHAKAM is also concerned by the lack of access afforded to the Cambodians in terms of communications and the ability to reach out to organisations such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)."

SUHAKAM added that it hoped it and UNHCR will be given "full and free access to such persons and that their ability to communicate will not be abridged".

"SUHAKAM also repeats its call for the Government to ratify the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to commit to the principle of non-refoulement provided by Article 33(1) of the convention, so that such detentions shall not occur in the future," the statement concluded.

Date: 9 November 2019

Source: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

Image credits

  1. Commissioner Jerald Joseph - SUHAKAM