Immigration Department Violating Child’s Rights to Education

For Immediate Release
10 January 2017

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is appalled by the news of Darshana in Seremban [1] and call for immediate action to remedy the situation. It was reported that Darshana despite being of schooling age was not permitted to attend school due to a new policy by the Immigration Department that forbids non-citizen from attending public schools.

It is shocking that every year, the Immigration Department of Malaysia is seemingly granted with broader arbitrary power to restrict the exercise of human rights in Malaysia. On top of the gross violation of human rights that is constantly reported from Immigration Detention Centre; the arbitrary barring of internationally recognized human rights defenders; and the act of preventing Malaysian human rights defenders from leaving the country; the Immigration Department has reached a new height in its power if it is allowed to influence and alter education policy.

On 6th January, the Education Minister, Mahdzir Khalid was reported to have said that stateless children are to be allowed to attend public school even if their application for citizenship under process [2]. It is shocking that a mere enforcement agency was able to overrule a policy made by the Ministry of Education on the issue of access to school and education.

|Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia have obligations protect and promote the right of the child irrespective of their status and origin. There is absolutely no excuse for a child born in the country and raised and cared for by Malaysian parents to be denied equal opportunity solely based on the failure of the Malaysian government in addressing the issue of statelessness in the country.

The Ministry of Home Affair must answer for the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Immigration Department. How did the Home Ministry achieve its supposed success in meeting the key performance index in 2017 when an enforcement agency under its care could act in such a manner? How can an enforcement agency under its purview unilaterally overwrite and undermine the policy of another ministry?

SUARAM strongly condemn the human rights violations committed against Darshana and her parents and call for the revocation of the Immigration Department policy which deprive hundreds if not thousands of children from receiving education due to their statelessness. The minimum level promised by the Education Minister is barely tenable as it is and any act of depriving a child of primary education must be condemned without exception.

In Solidarity Sevan Doraisamy Executive Director SUARAM

[1] https://www.thestar.com.my/story/?hl=Adopted-girl-cant-go-to-school&sec=news&id=%7B019F15FE-55E1-4362-BAF8-E9805EB1E8EE%7D

[2] https://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/01/202346/stateless-children-should-not-be-denied-education-education-minister

Joint Statement: Malaysia: Cease Arbitrary Detention and Deportation of Human Rights Defenders

We the undersigned civil society strongly condemn the detention and subsequent deportation of Adilur Rahman Khan on 20 July 2017 and express our grave concerns on the growing trend in Malaysia where local activists are not allowed to leave the country while activists from other countries are not allowed to enter into Malaysia.

Adilur Rahman Khan, an advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Secretary of Odhikar arrived in Malaysia from Dhaka, Bangladesh at 4.50AM (+8GMT) on 20th July 2017 to attend the Second General Assembly Meeting of the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN). Upon arrival, he was refused entry and shown a piece of paper with two words meaning ‘suspect’ written in Malay. Till this day, the reason for denying his entry and his detention is still not explained by the Government of Malaysia.

During his detention by the Immigration Department of Malaysia, his phone and laptop was taken by the immigration officers and he was not allowed access to any lawyers. A lawyer also had difficulties reaching him as the immigration officers repeatedly failed to provide an answer as to the reason of his detention and refused to identify the officer-in-charge of Adilur’s detention. The lawyer’s attempt to visit him directly at Kuala Lumpur International Airport was further blocked through bureaucratic procedures wherein the lawyer was informed that no access would be given to Adilur without the lawyer having obtained permission from the immigration officers, who were refusing to respond.

Subsequent pressure by the lawyer resulted in an answer by an immigration officer that the detention was due to an order by the Royal Malaysian Police. The contact number of the investigating officer from Bukit Aman was handed to the lawyer. The contact number proved to be useless as the investigating officer refused all communications and actively rejected phone calls from activists and lawyers alike throughout the day. Communication with Adilur was only re-established following a visit by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) later in the evening.

The Government of Malaysia has obligations and has made commitments to respect and protect human rights defenders and their work. These are reflected in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,[1] which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1998 by consensus, including of Malaysia. They are reflected as well as for instance the most recent UN General Assembly Resolution on Human Rights Defenders adopted in 2015,[2] for which the Government of Malaysia specifically voted in favour. Malaysia is also presenting itself as a candidate for election as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, a process which the UN General Assembly has prescribed should take into account the country’s record on human rights.[3]

The treatment of human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan is, in the light of these obligations and commitments, wholly unacceptable. The Government of Malaysia must immediately give a detailed explanation for the circumstances of this case, apologize, and provide evidence it has taken measures to ensure that he and other human rights defenders are not subjected to such treatment again in future.

We also call for the Government of Malaysia to:

1) Reveal the reasons for interference with human rights defenders seeking to enter into Malaysia, including for purposes of attending international meetings for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms;[4]

2) Ensure that no human rights defenders are prevented from entering or exiting Malaysia by reason of having been named or included in any list on the basis of their activities promoting or protecting human rights, whether named or listed by a foreign government or the authorities of Malaysia;

3) Enact domestic legislation to incorporate the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders into the national laws of Malaysia, to ensure the future protection of human rights defenders and their work, having regard for instance to the Model Law developed by a wide range of global stakeholders and leading experts and jurists in 2016.[5]

For further information, please contact Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) at [email protected] or +603 7954 5724.

Human Rights Defenders barred from entering Malaysia:

  1. Joshua Wong, Hong Kong

Deported 26 May 2015 – talk on democracy

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32882510

  1. Leung Kwok-Hung, Hong Kong

Deported 29 May 2015 – talk on democracy

https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN0OE0PL20150529

  1. Mugiyanto Sipin, Indonesia

Deported 7 January 2016 – to attend Bersih programme https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/325816

  1. Han Hui Hui, Singapore

Deported 18 June 2017 – to attend Youth Study Tour

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/han-hui-hui-prevented-entering-malaysia-and-deported

  1. Adilur Rahman Khan

Deported on 20 July 2017 – to attend ADPAN General Meeting

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysia-detains-prominent-bangladeshi-rights-activist-adilur-rahman-khan

NOTES:

Odhikar statement on Adilur’s detention: http://odhikar.org/detention-of-adilur-rahman-khan-at-klia-malaysia/

Endorsed by:

Malaysian NGO

  1. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  2. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
  3. Community Development Centre (CDC)
  4. Pusat KOMAS
  5. Aliran
  6. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
  7. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
  8. BERSIH 2.0
  9. North South Initiative (NSI)
  10. ENGAGE

International NGO

  1. Article 19
  2. Front Line Defenders
  3. Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IMPARSIAL)
  4. Indonesian Legal Roundtable (ILR)
  5. Institute Democracy (ID-Indonesia)
  6. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
  7. Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
  8. People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), India
  9. Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Nepal
  10. South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM), India
  11. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India
  12. Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI), India
  13. Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), South Korea
  14. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), South Korea
  15. Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP), Timor-Leste
  16. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre, Sri Lanka
  17. Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), the Maldives
  18. Bytes for All, Pakistan (B4A), Pakistan
  19. Association for Law, Human Rights and Justice (HAK Association), Timor Leste
  20. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), Indonesia
  21. Think Centre, Singapore

[1]                  General Assembly Resolution 53/144 (1998), “Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”

[2]                  General Assembly Resolution 70/161 (2015), “Human rights defenders in the context of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”

[3]                  General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (2006), “Human Rights Council” paragraph 8.

[4]                  See particularly article 5 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

[5]    International Service for Human Rights, “Model Law for the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders”, https://www.ishr.ch/sites/default/files/documents/model_law_full_digital_updated_15june2016.pdf .

Unlawful Detention through Abusive ‘Procedures’ by Prison & Immigration

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the unlawful detention of Ms. Quek Chin Fern and Ms. Cheryl Lim in Kluang Prison, Johor.

The two were arrested on 19th June 2017 for allegation of shoplifting. They subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day of imprisonment under Section 380 of the Penal Code on 22nd June 2017 (with sentence to start at 12AM, 22nd June 2017). Despite being sentenced to 1 day of imprisonment, they were not released at the designated time and were brought to Kluang Prison to ‘serve’ their sentence.

Family member who contacted the prison officials were informed that the two cannot be released as their passport were not with them at the prison. Additional queries directed to the prison officials were returned with information that the Immigration Department of Malaysia has issued orders for the two to be detained. Prison officials also claim that in these situations the procedures outlines that prisoners are only to be transfer to immigration detention on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There is no legitimate ground for these individuals to be subjected to additional detention by the prison department and immigration department. Their detention can only be described as an underhanded method utilized by the Prison Departmen to illegally detained individuals beyond the ambit of the law. The illegal detention of Ms Quek and Ms Cheryl for the past 5 days represents a direct violation of Article 5(1)1 of the Federal Constitution and a violation of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights2.

In addition to their illegal detention, SUARAM was informed by the family of Ms. Quek that she suffers from a dislocated shoulder since the time of her arrest and have not been provided any medical attention. The failure to provide adequate medical attention is a violation of Rule 273 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

SUARAM reiterate our condemnation of the detention of Ms. Quek and Ms. Cheryl and call for their immediate release!

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

1 No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law

2 Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person

3 ‘All prisons must ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases…’

Malaysia: Singaporean activist deported, barred from workshop

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

and its member organization in Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

 Joint press release

Malaysia: Singaporean activist deported, barred from workshop

 

Kuala Lumpur, Paris, 23 June 2017: The Malaysian government must immediately lift the travel ban imposed on Singaporean activist Han Hui Hui, FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) urged today.

FIDH and SUARAM condemn the Malaysian authorities’ decision to deport Ms. Han back to Singapore and prevent her from participating in a human rights workshop in Kuala Lumpur.

“Malaysian authorities treated Ms. Han as if she were a dangerous criminal. The travel ban imposed on Ms. Han limits her rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and must be lifted immediately,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

On 18 June 2017, Immigration Department officers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport prevented Ms. Han from clearing immigration and detained her for several hours. During the detention, plainclothes officers informed Ms. Han that she was blacklisted from entering Malaysia.

When a lawyer provided by SUARAM asked the immigration officers to provide the legal basis on which they relied to ban Ms. Han from entering Malaysia, the officers said the ban was issued under Article 8(3)K of the 1959/63 Immigration Act. The provision states that immigration authorities are authorized to bar any person who is deemed by the Home Affairs Minister to be “an undesirable immigrant” from entering the country.

Ms. Han had been invited to attend the Regional Youth Exchange Program organized by SUARAM from 19 to 23 June in Kuala Lumpur.

At 7:40pm, Ms. Han agreed to be deported back to Singapore. She boarded a flight back to the city-state at 9:45pm. During her five most recent visits to Malaysia, from April 2015 to the latest on 12 May 2017, Ms. Han did not encounter any problems entering the country.

“It is a sad state of affairs when the Malaysian government declares an activist persona non grata and prevents her from attending a human rights workshop. Ms. Han must be removed from the blacklist immediately and allowed to engage in peaceful human rights activities that are beneficial to Malaysians,” said SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy.

In Singapore, Ms. Han has actively campaigned to promote government transparency and accountability, and for the respect of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. On 22 February 2017, Ms. Han was imprisoned for several hours in the Singapore State Courts lock-up on charges of causing a public nuisance under Article 290 of the Singaporean Criminal Code over a peaceful demonstration she had organized in September 2014.

Press contacts:

FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)

FIDH: Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English) – Tel: +33143551412 (Paris)

SUARAM: Mr. Sevan Doraisamy (English, Malay) – Tel: +60169708370 (Kuala Lumpur)

Resume water supply at Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre

(Press Statement: 14 June 2010 )

SUARAM has been informed that detainees at Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre have been on a hunger strike since evening of Saturday, 12 June, as a protest against the lack of water supply in the detention centre. The hunger strike started when immigration officers denied the detainees drinking water when asked by the detainees. There has been no water supply at the detention centre for the past 5 days.

According to our source, there are an estimated 1,500 detainees at Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre. The estimated 500 Burmese asylum seekers in the detention centre will continue the hunger strike until they are given access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

SUARAM has previously expressed our deep concern with regards to the deplorable conditions of Immigration Detention Centres. This is not the first time that we have received complaints that water supply to detention centres is irregular and inadequate. Denying the detainees access to drinking water is an outrageous violation of a basic human right. Even persons in detention have fundamental right to adequate standard of living, which includes adequate and constant supply of water for consumption and maintenance of personal hygiene, as enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Detainees at immigration detention centres often fall ill due to the poor conditions that often cause malnourishment and poor immune system amongst detainees. The non-supply of water, coupled with the deplorable conditions of the detention centres could potentially cause the increase the risk of illnesses amongst the individuals.

SUARAM demands that the Government immediately restores water supply to Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre and to ensure that water supply to all detention centres are regular, adequate and clean. The Government must ensure that conditions in all detention centres comply with minimum international standards for places of detention.

SUARAM urges the Immigration Department to immediately provide the asylum seekers access to UNHCR and to allow the UNHCR to process their asylum claims. Upon verification of their asylum claims, the Government must immediately release the asylum seekers in to UNHCR’s official care.

Released by,
Temme Lee
Coordinator
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)