The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Tuesday gave the green light for 114 Myanmar nationals to be deported from Malaysia, with rights groups slamming the decision and “strongly” urging authorities to reconsider.
Malaysia deported some 1,000 Myanmar nationals just weeks after their home country’s 2021 military coup, despite strong objections from the United States and rights groups.
A court later granted a stay of deportation for 114 Myanmar nationals pending a judicial review. The government filed an application in May to lift the stay.
“This court decision demonstrates how despite international outcry, calls to halt the forcible return of people from Myanmar continue to be ignored,” a joint statement from Amnesty International and Asylum Access Malaysia said.
“Despite today’s lifting of the stay of deportation, we strongly urge the government to reconsider its plan.”
The statement added that Malaysia’s new government “should end its dishonest approach of criticizing the Myanmar military authorities while continuing to quietly subject people to refoulement.”
It is not known when the 114 people will be sent back to Myanmar, and immigration officials declined comment.
Malaysia does not formally recognize refugees, treating them as undocumented migrants.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military coup last year, with swathes of the southeast Asian nation engulfed by fighting.
More than 2,300 people have been killed in the military’s crackdown on dissent, which rights groups say includes razing villages, mass extrajudicial killings and air strikes on civilians.
The junta blames anti-coup fighters for the deaths of almost 3,900 civilians.
In October, Human Rights Watch said Malaysia, since April, had returned over 2,000 Myanmar nationals to the country, including military defectors.
UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, also said it had received “multiple disturbing reports” of refoulement — the forcible return of refugees and asylum seekers — since April.
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