EU expresses ‘deep regrets’ over deportation of Myanmar nationals
Published on: Thursday, February 25, 2021
By: Reuters
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The European Union says it had urged Malaysia to drop the deportation plan. (Reuters pic)
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KUALA LUMPUR: The European Union today joined the US in expressing concern over Malaysia’s deportation of Myanmar nationals in defiance of a court order halting the plan.

Malaysia sent 1,086 Myanmar nationals back on three navy ships sent by Myanmar on Tuesday, a move rights groups said could endanger the deportees’ lives.

The activists had said asylum seekers were among those who were set to be deported, including from the Chin, Kachin and people who came to Malaysia fleeing conflict and persecution at home.

Malaysia said it did not send back asylum seekers or Rohingya refugees.

The EU said it “deeply regretted” Malaysian authorities’ move to proceed with the deportation despite the court order and was also concerned by the use of naval vessels.

“We would have expected the Malaysian authorities to respect the decision of the Malaysian court, and we stress the importance of respect for international law and the principle of non-refoulement,” an EU spokesman told Reuters.

The bloc said it had earlier urged Malaysia to drop the plan.

The US called on countries in the region to hold off on any repatriations in light of the Feb 1 military coup in Myanmar, State Department spokesman Ned Price said yesterday.

The US and other Western missions had been trying to dissuade Malaysia from proceeding with the deportation and urged the government to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) to interview the detainees.

They also say Malaysia is legitimising the Myanmar military government by cooperating with the junta, sources have said.

Some opposition Malaysian MPs said the government’s defiance of the court order could amount to contempt of court.

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