The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) urged Malaysia on Tuesday to stop deporting refugees back to Myanmar, saying it had received reports of hundreds of such cases over the past two months.
The deportations, which included former navy officers seeking asylum, expose those sent away to danger and are a violation of the international law on non-refoulement, according to UNHCR, referring to a law that protects refugees or asylum seekers from being deported.
“In the last two months alone, hundreds of Myanmar nationals are reported to have been sent back against their will by the authorities,” UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told a Geneva press briefing.
“People cannot be returned to places where they face threats to their life and liberty and face harm and danger.” UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, said it had received “multiple disturbing reports” of refoulement — the forcible return of refugees and asylum seekers — since April.
The latest incident involving an asylum seeker being sent back to conflict-torn Myanmar occurred on Oct 21, Mantoo added, despite intervention by the UNHCR with authorities.—Agencies