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April 2022

Episode: KPN 27-4-2022

Kaladan Radio April 27, 2022 248 5


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Malaysia home minister slammed for telling Rohingya to go home

Migrant rights group Tenaganita has hit out at home minister Hamzah Zainudin for telling Rohingya refugees to return to their home country if they are unhappy with the way they are treated in Malaysia.

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das told FMT that it was baffling for a minister of his calibre and position to make such a remark.

“The home minister Hamzah Zainudin for telling Rohingya refugees to return to their home country if they are unhappy with the way they are treated in Malaysia. He promotes a victim-centred approach within the National Action Plan on Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Naptip). Yet he lashes out by issuing statements against a community already persecuted in Myanmar.

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das

“He promotes a victim-centred approach within the National Action Plan on Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Naptip),” said Das. “Yet he lashes out by issuing statements against a community already persecuted in Myanmar.

“These inappropriate and racist remarks, which are against human rights principles, are not befitting of a government minister.”

She also said the home minister’s remarks were an embarrassment to Malaysia as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2022-2024 term.

Naptip, launched by the home ministry last year, is a document that outlines the government’s plans and efforts to eradicate human trafficking in Malaysia from 2021 to 2025.

Hamzah was recently quoted as saying the authorities placed refugees under prolonged detention in immigration depots to warn other migrants against entering the country illegally.

He rejected criticism against the Immigration Department over the recent breakout of 528 refugees from the Sungai Bakap immigration depot.

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das

Das said Hamzah’s remarks ignored the fact that refugees could not be repatriated and that the only reason they came to Malaysia was to seek protection from persecution.

Hamzah’s remarks ignored the fact that refugees could not be repatriated and that the only reason they came to Malaysia was to seek protection from persecution. His statement also ignores the principle of non-refoulment and the whole concept of refugees. It continues to create an increased xenophobic environment not just for Rohingya refugees but for all refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.”

Tenaganita executive director Glorene Das

“His statement also ignores the principle of non-refoulment and the whole concept of refugees,” she said. “It continues to create an increased xenophobic environment not just for Rohingya refugees but for all refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.”

Klang MP Charles Santiago agreed that Hamzah’s remarks would only fuel xenophobic anti-Rohingya sentiments among Malaysians, but he said the minister’s comments were “unsurprising”.

Speaking to FMT, he said Hamzah did not bother even about rights issues Malaysians faced, such as the statelessness problems of thousands of Malaysian-born children and the custodial deaths that have been plaguing the police.

“The Rohingya came to Malaysia to seek refuge from their country, where there was a genocide that targeted them in the Rakhine state by the Burmese army. And now that the Burmese army has taken over the country, more and more Rohingya are leaving the country to seek refuge and protection in neighbouring countries.”

Klang MP Charles Santiago

“The Rohingya came to Malaysia to seek refuge from their country, where there was a genocide that targeted them in the Rakhine state by the Burmese army,” he said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago

“And now that the Burmese army has taken over the country, more and more Rohingya are leaving the country to seek refuge and protection in neighbouring countries.”

Santiago, who is the chairman of the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, said the refugees sought refuge in Malaysia because there was already a Rohingya community in the country and also because this country was a Muslim-majority nation.

He said Malaysia had “additional responsibilities” to protect the rights of refugees since it was in the UNHRC.

“The refugees sought refuge in Malaysia because there was already a Rohingya community in the country and also because this country was a Muslim-majority nation.We might not be a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, but that does not mean that we can abuse them. That does not mean that we can put them in detention centres and throw the keys away.”

Santiago,the chairman of the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights

“We might not be a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, but that does not mean that we can abuse them. That does not mean that we can put them in detention centres and throw the keys away.”

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