Why deport refugees?
Last updated on 13 February 2018 – 07:17pm
NON-REFOULEMENT is a binding principle of international law which prohibits countries from expelling or returning a person to a place where his life may be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion.
This principle binds all countries. In March 2015, a minister declared in Parliament that the government readily complies with this principle. The minister repeated this assurance in December 2017.
Malaysia recently deported 11 Uighur to China. The repressive action against the Uighur who are a Muslim minority group is well-documented. Human Rights Watch had reported on the disappearance of a group of 20 Uighur in China, after Cambodia deported them.
Also, the deportation of Turkish academic Dr Ismet Özcelik and two others in May 2017. This was despite reports of him being recognised as a refugee.
Turkey claimed that Özcelik was affiliated with the Gülen movement, which was said to be behind an attempted coup in Turkey. Persons affiliated with the movement were purged, arrested and detained.
Has Malaysia complied with the principle of non-refoulement. Would this be a good time to reflect on how official statements have measured up to legally binding principles?