Malaysia: End hypocrisy and uphold the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

11 June 2021

In response to an anti-Rohingya poster shared by the Immigration Department of Malaysia on 11 June 2021 (It has now been removed), Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia said:

“It is despicable to say to a community of people who have undergone ethnic cleansing, who have endured unimaginable brutality for generations that they are not only unwanted in our country, but that we will use brute force against them. It is also particularly grotesque coming from leaders who will crow to the international community about their concern for Palestinians one week, then in the next breath threaten violence against others who are traumatised and displaced. How does the Malaysian government justify that hypocrisy?”

“Rohingya refugees, and other migrants and asylum seekers have shared about the increased xenophobia and racism they’ve had to endure in the past year. They’ve talked about the serious impact on their mental health, about receiving threats to their lives. There has been a rise in suicides among migrants and asylum seekers. Make no mistake, “strategic communications” and policies like these foster a climate of hatred, violence and xenophobia – they harm lives, they punish people for trying to survive, they justify discrimination. People will come because they want to survive. We can choose to spend so much money and resources on acts of violence and hatred, or we can create a response of care and protection.”

“The Malaysian government must explain why, especially in the time of a global pandemic, they have chosen to attack people in need. Refugees and migrants deserve to have their humanity upheld; Malaysians deserve a government that respects the rights and dignity of all.”

In a post shared by the Immigration Department on Facebook and Twitter on 11 June 2021, around 5 PM, with captions in Malay that reads: “migran etnik Rohingya kedatangan anda tidak diundang”. In English: “ethnic Rohingya migrants, your arrival is not welcomed”. (The poster has since been removed)