Asia Pacific February Roundup

This is a compilation of the tweets by the Europe Regional Coordinator of the International Detention Coalition. For live updates, follow @IDCAsiaPacific


 

Malaysia: Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim says Malaysia will not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention, claiming fears that it will encourage foreign workers to enter Malaysia as asylum seekers and refugees.

Under Malaysian law, all refugees are treated as undocumented, illegal migrants. The lack of a national system of protection provision, is perhaps linked to these recent reports from Rohingya refugees that traffickers in Malaysia abuse and kill.

Burma: At least 21 people have died and 26 others are missing after a ferry sank off the coast of western Burma. IDC member The Arakan Project, estimated in October that 100,000 Rohingya have fled by boat since 2012, often aiming for Thailand and Malaysia.

Thailand: Bangkok’s hidden urban refugees stuck in limbo, living without legal status in Thailand and in fear of arrest, detention and perpetual poverty. Often entering the country on tourist visas, and facing arrest once these expire, the biggest and fastest-growing asylum seeking population is from Pakistan, experts say, while other big groups come from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Somalia and Syria.

thailand

Australia: UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mendez responds to criticism from Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s claims that “Australians are sick of being lectured to by the United Nations”. The report found that various aspects of Australia’s asylum seeker policies violate the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, with a particular focus on the conditions of indefinite mandatory detention on Manus Island.

The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomed the tabling in Parliament of  its report The Forgotten Children, the Report of the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014.  The report calls for the release of children in detention on the mainland and the offshore detention center on Nauru, after examining hundreds of cases of assaults against children, including over 30 incidents of sexual assault.