Malaysia Rights Groups Demand Explanation for Deportation of Myanmar Migrants

Malaysian opposition lawmakers and international human rights groups are demanding the government explain why it deported more than 1,000 Myanmar migrants in violation of a court order prohibiting the action.The High Court in Kuala Lumpur ordered a stay Wednesday on the planned repatriation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals pending an appeal filed by Amnesty International and local human rights group Asylum Access, which said refugees and asylum seekers were among the nationals.But immigration officials announced hours later that 1,086 of the nationals had been sent back aboard three Myanmar naval vessels.Four opposition lawmakers issued a statement saying the deportations amounted to a contempt of court.The High Court issued another ruling Wednesday ordering the government not to repatriate the remaining 114 Myanmar nationals pending a hearing next month on Amnesty and Asylum Access’ appeal.Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia, said the Malaysian government repatriated the Myanmar nationals without allowing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to interview them.  The two rights groups claimed in their court filing there were at least three people registered with the U.N. refugee agency, along with 17 minors with at least one parent in Malaysia.“We believe the government owes an explanation to the people of Malaysia as to why they chose to defy the court order, and on the identity and status of all 1,200 people,” Maliamauv said.Malaysia is home to more than 100,000 U.N.-registered refugees from Myanmar, many of them ethnic Muslim Rohingya. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since they were targeted in a brutal military crackdown in 2017 in response to attacks by Rohingya rebel forces.The U.N. has accused the military of carrying out mass killings, gang rapes and burning thousands of homes in Rakhine state.  

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