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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Don't disavow refugees, Council of Churches tells Putrajaya

 


The Council of Churches said Putrajaya should not participate in the disavowing of refugees.

This was amid the government’s plan to deport 1,200 Myanmar refugees in coordination with the Myanmar military which had launched a coup in their home country.

Council of Churches general secretary Hermen Shastri noted that among those who will be deported include refugees and asylum seekers.

“In this time of political insecurity in Myanmar, sending these Myanmar nationals back is to send them to an uncertain fate.

“The system of checks and balances, transparency and accountability have all but disappeared, and the fate of these people to be repatriated from our shores is to send them into a hostile and very dangerous situation.

“We, therefore, call on the government to not participate in the disavowing of refugees as it is an act contrary to international law and norms,” he said in a statement.

He also urged the government to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) full access to detention centres to identify refugees and asylum seekers.

“Until such time when law and order are restored in Myanmar, and a democratically elected government is firmly in place, chosen by the popular vote of its citizens, we should not cast the lives of these 1,200 detained Myanmar nationals into an undesired and dangerous territory,” he added.

Hermen emphasised the teaching of mercy and compassion in the Christian faith.

“Since this is the season of Lent and we are called to spiritual introspection and to engage in acts of charity, what better way to affirm it than to uphold the principle of the sanctity of life and the dignity of all persons, created, loved and endowed with rights by God.

“Not a single asylum seeker, refugee and anyone else whose life is under threat should be forced to return to Myanmar or any other country where they may face persecution and even death in a situation of conflict,” he said. - Mkini

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