FORCED RETURN OF 11 UIGHURS: IT IS ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT

PRESS RELEASE – 24 AUGUST 2011

FORCED RETURN OF 11 UIGHURS: IT IS ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT

SUARAM strongly condemns the deportation of 11 Chinese citizens of Uighur ethnicity by the Malaysian government on August 18 and views it as another international embarrassment for Malaysia.

“It is a blatant violation of international law and/or international customary law against refoulement (forced return)”. It is also an international embarrassment for Malaysian government to deport vulnerable individuals or a group of people to the country where they may face dangers and risks.

SUARAM is also urged the Malaysian government to publicly clarify the return of these 11 Uighurs and to be answerable and responsible to the question of why the Malaysian government had not given access for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to determine and verify the status of these vulnerable individuals. The government should firstly ensure the safety of these people before returning them back to their country or at least to give access to UNHCR to make verification for asylum claim.

Apart from that, SUARAM strongly urges the Malaysian government to immediately ensure that another five ethnic Uighurs among 16 arrested in raids on August 6 are not forcibly returned to China.

Arbitrary detention, repression and torture against Muslim ethnic minorities including the Uighurs by the Chinese government are well-documented. Handing over (the return) this vulnerable ethnic minority group may lead to grave risk of torture and repression in China.

As a member for United Nations for Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Once again, SUARAM reminds the Malaysia government to not show a bad example of treatment of asylum seekers and refugees to other countries in the region and to immediately halt any plans or actions that can bring a shame to this nation.

SUARAM also urges the Malaysian government to ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in order to protect and promote the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia.

Released by,
Andika Ab. Wahab
Refugee Coordinator
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
[email protected]
0163723699

DENIAL OF FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION A STEP BACKWARD TO DEMOCRACY

PRESS STATEMENT: 17 AUGUST 2011
DENIAL OF FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION A STEP BACKWARD TO DEMOCRACY
                                                                                                         
SUARAM is of the views that the decision of the High Court to reject Human Rights Party (HRP) right to be registered as a Political party is a step backward to democracy and freedom of association in Malaysia. The decision demonstrates another failure to recognise the fundamental human rights principle enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Justice Datuk Rohana Yusuf on 16 August 2011 in her judgment said that the court was set to hear the  application but it had to dismiss it because it was rendered academic following the ROS ruling.  Furthermore she also ruled that the applicant has to pay RM 2,500 in costs to the three respondents following the ruling in chambers. Suaram express concern over the rejection of the application as the court failed to rectify the redress seeks by the applicants following a decision made by the ROS. Suaram is alarmed to view that the judiciary is becoming the mouth piece of the political masters and of its vindictive nature of punishing the applicants with the cost ruling on a public interest matter.
In an August 4 letter the ROS stipulated its grounds for rejection: HRP was not properly organised and did not have a constitution compliant to ROS requirements.  The party was formed on 2009 and sent their application to the ROS on November 25, 2010 to register HRP as political party.  Suaram is of the view that the reason given is purely technical and it should be the responsibility of the Registrar to assist and cure the technical requirement. Suaram views that the duties of a civil service is to assist the public on their rights and application and not to merely implement the political decision of the ruling party.
SUARAM is deeply disappointed with the judgment as the court should allow the hearing to be proceed and the applicants be heard in an open court. The move by the Judge has set a bad precedent to the judiciary system in Malaysia.
The court verdict also demonstrated that, although the right of association is guaranteed in the Malaysian constitution, the stated rights remain subjected to political decision and scrutiny of the ruling party hence the enjoyment of this fundamental rights that is core to a democratic nation remain unachieved.
We view the High Court decision a step backward to democracy and freedom of association in Malaysia. The court held on to a feeble reason to deny a political party the right to represent the people in a democratic system.
The citizens of Malaysia have a right for an open electoral competition to allow for political participation in decision-making processes.
We call on the government to immediately allow for the registration of the HRP as political party in Malaysia and respect and uphold the spirit of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and Article 2 & 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Released By,
Nalini.E
Program Manager
SUARAM

Deportation of Imran Khan: Another Mistake by the Malaysian Government

Press Statement: 17 August 2011
 
Deportation of Imran Khan: Another Mistake by the Malaysian Government


The deportation of human rights lawyer Imran Khan, a lawyer well-known for cases involving racism, was deported back to London on 13 August after being detained by Immigration for more than 12 hours. This would be the second deportation by the Malaysian government in less than a month.
SUARAM condemn and view the government’s decision to deport Imran Khan is a totally arbitrary act by the Home Ministry and a gross abuse of executive power of the Najib administration. We believe this is politically motivated and the government again made mistake by deporting back another human rights lawyer who came to Malaysia to visit their clients.
Earlier on July 22, French Lawyer William Bourdon was deported to France from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Mr. Bourdon represents SUARAM in an on-going case before French courts against French naval arms producer DCNS over financial irregularities in a Scorpene submarine deal that allegedly involved millions of ringgit in kickbacks.
The British lawyer Imran Khan, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the 12 August for a fact-finding mission on the marginalisation of Indian Malaysians and the fact-finding mission is one of many efforts by Hindraf to gather evidence as it picks up from its similar suit in 2007 which was stalled when top Hindraf leaders were detained under the Internal Security Act following the landmark Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur. He was deported back to on the 13 August around 2am.
No reasons were given to Imran Khan for his sudden detention and subsequent deportation, as immigration officers stepped into the aircraft to detain him minutes after the plane landed in KLIA. We learnt that, the decision to bar him came from the topmost office of Special Branch in Bukit Aman and the Home Ministry.  Such an action by the Malaysian authorities and the behavior of our immigration officials has surely damaged beyond repair all attempts by the Tourism Ministry to sell Malaysia abroad.
The government must explain its shameful action in detaining and deporting Imran Khan to the Malaysian public.  It is clear that their failure in fighting racism and racial discrimination is replaced by their tendency to fight human rights defenders.
SUARAM while condemning the Immigration practices, we call upon the Malaysian government and international civil society to eliminate the series of violations and harassment’s practiced against human rights defenders by governmental bureaus, particularly security service.
Finally, we call upon the government of Malaysia to apologies to Imran Khan and allow him come back to Malaysia to meet his clients and perform his duty as a lawyer as clearly stated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Released by,
Nalini.E
Program Manager
SUARAM

SUARAM Welcomes Extension of Temporary Injunction, Next Decision should Uphold the Refugee Convention

(REVISED) PRESS STATEMENT: 8 AUGUST 2011

SUARAM Welcomes Extension of Temporary Injunction, Next Decision should Uphold the Refugee Convention

SUARAM welcomes the extension of the Australian High Court’s temporary injunction of the deportation of 16 asylum seekers under the controversial asylum swap deal between the Australian and Malaysian governments.

On 7th August, an Australian refugee lawyer, David Manne had launched proceedings in the High Court in Melbourne and succeeded to temporarily stop and prevent the deportation of the asylum-seekers which comprises accompanied and unaccompanied minors.

The first temporary high court’s injunction will only be in force until 4.15pm (AEST), on 8th August, pending the hearing of another application in High Court in Canberra at 2.15pm (AEST). Today’s hearing in High Court in Canberra had decided to extend asylum swap injunction until there is a full hearing later this month.

SUARAM is in full support of the legal challenge made by the Australian lawyers. We hope that the Australian High Court will uphold the 1951 Refugee Convention in their decision making process in the next full hearing later this month.

SUARAM believes that asylum-seekers arriving in Australia have the right to seek asylum and claim refugee protection. As a state party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Australia is showing a bad example in their treatment of asylum seekers by sending them to Malaysia and to other states in the region that have not ratified the Refugee Convention.

At the same time, we believe that the choice of Malaysia which is expected to be a country for off-shore processing is also an erroneous decision made by the Australian government. Australia has disregarded Malaysia’s record of poor treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, and her status as a non-state party to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

SUARAM also believes that the suicide attempts and hunger strikes launched by the asylum seekers at Christmas Island last week had demonstrated the inhumane and vigorous elements enshrined within the asylum swap arrangement.

Once again, SUARAM strongly condemns the arrangement as it is a clear violation and denial of the rights of asylum-seekers to seek asylum in Australia and to obtain refugee protection. The argument that the deal would reduce the people smuggling and human trafficking business model is an unjustified security concern.

We are of the view that these transnational crimes relating to migration such as human trafficking and smuggling must not be treated merely as a crime but must also include and consider the human rights of the individuals involved. States must also take into consideration that refugees fleeing harm and persecution sometimes use whatever means they deem necessary to seek protection. There is no compromise for human rights and all crime prevention plans undertaken must be consistent and in line with human rights principles.

As such, SUARAM urge the Australian and Malaysian governments to abandon the asylum swap deal and urge both governments to ensure that future bilateral or regional cooperation deals relating to human trafficking and smuggling includes the highest respect for human rights of the trafficked and smuggled persons.

Released by,

Andika Ab. Wahab
Refugee Coordinator
SUARAM
0163723699

SUMMARY OF HABEAS CORPUS PROCEEDINGS OF EO6: UNIFIED PUBLIC PRESSURE RELEASED EO6

5TH AUGUST 2011
SUMMARY OF HABEAS CORPUS PROCEEDINGS OF EO6: UNIFIED PUBLIC PRESSURE RELEASED EO6
 
1.      Case: Habeas Corpus hearing of Six EO detainees
 
a.       Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj  (Sungai Siput MP and PSM Central committee member)
b.      M Sarasvathy (PSM deputy chairman)
c.       Choo Chon Kai (Central committee member)
d.      M Sukumaran  (Central committee member)
e.       R Saratbabu (Youth chief)
f.       A Letchumanan (Sungai Siput branch secretary)
2.      Respondent:
a.       Government of Malaysia
b.      Inspector General of Police (IGP) and
c.       Home Minister
3.      Judge at the High Court: Justice Su Geok Yiam
 
4.      Applicants (EO6) represented by:
a.       Haji Sulaiman Abdullah
b.      Edmund Bon Tai Soon
c.       Yudistra Darma Dorai
d.      Maha Balakrishnan
e.       James Khong
5.      Watching brief by Roger Chan (KL Bar)

Summary
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) held an observation brief today at the habeas corpus hearing of 6 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)  members who had been detained under the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) on 2 July 2011. The Ordinance allows the Home Minister to detain persons without trial for up to two years which may be renewed indefinitely.
Today, the 6 former detainees withdrew their action against the government, Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) upon being served with the affidavits in reply and because they had already been released. This withdrawal was done without concession or admission of the contents of the affidavits in reply and the allegations made against them. The EO6 will be pursuing further legal action for their wrongful arrest and detention, and they reserved their rights to do so in Court today.
The 6 had been released on 29 July 2011 unconditionally but were then charged on 3 August at the Butterworth Sessions Court for possession of subversive documents under the Section 43 and 48(1) of the Societies Act as well as Section 29(1) of the Internal Security Act together. 24 other PSM members who were also arrested on June 25 in the run-up to the July 9 BERSIH rally had earlier been charged for the same offenses.
The Respondents’ counsel submitted that the detainees were no longer in police custody and therefore the habeas corpus applications to examine their detentions have become academic.
The Applicants’ counsel submitted that the Respondents were to file their affidavits in reply to justify the detention but failed to do so. The Respondents’ counsel informed the Court that they had filed 19 affidavits in reply on 29 July but did not serve them.
Unlawful Detention

Lead counsel for the Applicants, Haji Sulaiman Abdullah Said that after looking at the affidavits, the Applicants maintain that they have done nothing against the law and it was because of unified public pressure that forced the authorities to release the detainees.
 Judge and the Judiciary: In Favour of Human Rights Violators?

SUARAM’s observation finds that the learned High Court Judge Justice Su Geok Yiam had been found wanting in upholding the international human right norm to a speedy hearing in this case dealing with the liberty of 6 Malaysians.
On 6 July 2011, the 6 filed a writ of habeas corpus to challenge their detention.
Initially, the High Court scheduled the hearing on 12 August 2011. The solicitors for the EO6 succeeded, despite much resistance from the Respondents, in their request to bring forward the hearing and the Court fixed 22 July 2011.
On the day of the hearing, the Respondents sought an adjournment of the habeas corpus hearing for 3 weeks. After lengthy arguments, the Court agreed to postpone the case to 5 August even as the Applicants’ counsel agreed to withdraw the affidavits filed which needed to be replied to by the Respondents.
SUARAM is of the views that the decision to postpone the hearing on 22 July sets a bad precedent as it in effect continued the purported legitimisation of the EO6’s detention for up to one month. International human rights law clearly requires that on an urgent matter such as a habeas corpus application, the detainee is entitled to a speedy hearing and disposal of the matter.
Abolish the EO, ISA and DDA!

The absence of judicial checks and balances in Malaysia’s preventive detention law has exacerbated police abuse of power. SUARAM reiterates its demand that the Government abolish all preventive detention laws and free all detainees held under the same or to accord them a fair trial. SUARAM stands strongly against any law that provides for detention without trial.
Released by,
Nalini.E
Program Manager
SUARAM