800 Australian asylum seeker brought into Malaysia to be detained in Semenyih – Is this legal?


2 June 2011, source from charles hector blog

So, it seems that the 800 asylum seekers from Australia, sent possibly forcibly and without the expressed consent of the said 800, will be placed in Malaysia’s Semenyih Detention Centre. There is already a problem of overcrowding, etc at these detention centers. Recently, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had much to state about these centres – see About Migrants in Malaysia – UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention -8/2/2011. Selected quotes from the report is as follows:- 

“…the Working Group was seriously concerned by the administrative detention regime applied to asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants in an irregular situation…”

“…no special legislation relating to refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia, since they are not recognized as such under domestic law; indeed, current legislative framework does not even recognize the terms “refugees” and “asylum-seekers”….”

“…The Government should not use immigration detention for asylum-seekers, refugees and vulnerable groups of migrants, …”

“…that at least six asylum-seekers and migrants had died of leptospirosis, an infectious disease, in immigration detention camps. In 2009, 14 detainees died in immigration detention centres. …”

“…Most prisons visited were found to meet international standards and regulations on conditions. This finding does not, however, apply to immigration detention centres….”

“…The regime applied to migrants in an irregular situation, refugees and asylum seekers is not seen to be in line with international human rights law...”    

Let us also not forget the fact is that 29,759 migrants ‘caned’ in Malaysia between 2005-2010 (9/3/2011) and this information was based on answers given in Parliament.

In a response to a parliamentary question on 9 March, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein disclosed that Malaysia had caned 29,759 foreigners between 2005 and 2010 for immigration offences alone.

I wonder also the legality of detaining the said 800 from Australia. What Malaysian law did they violate – for certainly their coming into the country is with the blessing and consent of the Malaysian government – so, you cannot even justify detaining them in Malaysian Detention Centres for Undocumented Migrants. This 800 would not have broken any Malaysian law – you cannot just go to another country, pick up people and bring them to Malaysia and then  detain them for being ‘illegal’ migrants… at these Immigration Detention Centres.  I believe that there is no law that will make this exercise legal…

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