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SUARAM: GOVT’S MOVE TO ACCEPT CONSENT RULING MARKS A POSITIVE STEP TOWARDS UPHOLDING NON-REFOULEMENT

The consent judgement recorded yesterday before the Kuala Lumpur High Court in MA Quayum’s habeas corpus application was a hopeful ray of light amidst Malaysia’s longstanding notorious track record of arresting, arbitrarily detaining and deporting refugees and asylum seekers.  


Recognising the high risk to physical safety that Quayum and his family continues to experience since 2008 due to state persecution, the Malaysian government has not only commendably upheld the inalienable right to life under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, but also demonstrated itself to be capable of operationalising the principle of non-refoulement.


Following from this positive precedent, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) urges the MADANI government to concretise efforts in strengthening transnational responsibility in human rights protection, especially in view of our nation’s current membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the upcoming chairpersonship in ASEAN next year. On this note, we call for the following: 

  • Full acceptance and implementation of recommendations received during the 4th Universal Periodic Review on having a comprehensive legal and policy framework that will recognise and protect refugees and asylum seekers, as well as provide them with basic rights to work, education and healthcare.  

  • Issuance of official confirmation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to visit immigration detention centres and monitor conditions of detained refugees and asylum seekers.

  • Consistent observance of the international principle of non-refoulement. Aside from refugees and asylum seekers, this principle should also be applied to protect human rights defenders who seek refuge in Malaysia due to life-threatening state reprisals.


A media statement by lawyers Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Kee Shu Min and Lee Yee Woei on behalf of MA Quayum can be found here: https://www.amerbon.com/blawg/mediastatement-on-m-a-quayums-case


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