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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Suhakam: Turkish asylum seeker's rights violated via deportation


The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has expressed its concern over the recent deportation of a family of asylum seekers from Turkey despite the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) classifying them as "person(s) of concern" who are at risk of harm should they be forcibly returned to their country.
In a statement today, Suhakam called it a violation of the principle of non-refoulement, or the practice of not forcing refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country in which they are liable to be subjected to persecution.
"In Section 8 of Malaysia's Extradition Act 1992, there are prohibitions against extradition in certain circumstances, which includes that the warrant for his return has been made with the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions," read the statement.

"Those seeking asylum, particularly those who come to Malaysia where refugee status is not recognised, have limited available protection space. Asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons in Malaysia live in a state of vulnerability, which is exacerbated by the introduction of increasingly restrictive policies that continue to narrow access to asylum."
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said yesterday that the police had reason to detain and deport Turkish teacher Arif Komis and his family.
Arif Komis (centre) and family
The Turkish government claimed that Arif held a senior position in terrorist group Fetullah Terrorist Organization (Feto).
Feto and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen were said to have orchestrated the coup against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
Suhakam repeated its call for the Malaysian government to ratify the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
"This is not only to articulate minimum standards and regulations related to the status, treatment and determination of refugees so that they are able to live and work in Malaysia without persecution, but also to commit to the principle of non-refoulement provided by Article 33(1) of said convention," it said.
The group added that "while Malaysia deliberates ratification of the Refugee Convention, natural justice demands for a political response that would ensure adherence to the principle of non-refoulement".
"Suhakam hopes that the government will live up to the peoples’ hope for a nation that is compassionate and justice-based," it said. - Mkini

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