Human Rights Group Denounces Detention of Babies and Vulnerable Refugees in Malaysia
12 March 2007- In response to the recent arrests and detentions of newborn babies and their refugee parents by the Malaysian authorities, Malaysia-based human rights group, SUARAM, issued a statement criticizing the government’s action and urging the government to recognize the rights of refugees.
In the 9 March press statement entitled, “Broken Promises: Respect Rights of Vulnerable, Release Baby Detainees, SUARAM called on the Malaysian government to respect their international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women and to “immediately and unconditionally release all children and parents.”
SUARAM issued the statement after three new-born babies and their families within a three week period were arrested when they attempted to register the births with the immigration office in Malaysia. The arrests occurred despite the fact that in each instance at least one parent has been recognized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or registered with the office as Persons of Concerns (PoC).
These particularly callous arrests came on the heels of recent statements by high-level government officials indicating that the Malaysian government will not recognize refugees or the powers of the Office of the UNHCR in Malaysia. SUARAM highlighted such statements as a reflection of “Malaysia’s total disregard for fundamental human rights…” and urged the government to “cooperate and work together with the Office of the UNHCR in protecting refugees.”
To the press release issued by SUARAM, please visit www.suaram.net.
By Amy Alexander