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UNHCR-registered refugees and asylum seekers are now fearful that Malaysia's 6P amnesty programme will see them deported to their home country.


PETALING JAYA: The government’s 6P amnesty programme has drawn more flak following Tuesday’s fiasco where thousands of refugees and asylum seekers were turned away from registering by an ill-prepared Immigration Department at Putrajaya.

The refugee cardholders under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) amnesty programme were asked to register themselves alongside the illegal workers at the 11th hour by the home ministry.

About 10,000 UNHCR cardholders had turned up in Putrajaya but were turned away as the Immigration Department said that it could only process 2,500 applications a day.

Tenaganita, an NGO concerned with migrant worker, women and refugee issues yesterday criticised the “inefficient and unplanned process of the amnesty programme”.

Its executive director, Irene Fernandez, chastised the home ministry for its “uncertainties” concerning the 6P programme.

The six Ps refer to the Malay words for “registration, legalisation, amnesty, supervision, enforcement, and deportation”.

Fernandez claimed the whole amnesty programme was “riddled with questions”.

“The programme was originally intended for undocumented workers. The home ministry then suddenly decided that it would also be for documented workers without any clear explanation.

“Now, overnight refugees are told that they had to get registered without a clear deadline,” she said in a statement.

Fernandez also said that the ministry’s demand that refugees and asylum seekers must register themselves under the programme had created “a host of uncertainties and fears” among this group who are categorically different from migrant workers.

Violation of convention



She also said that those who managed to register themselves on Tuesday had received slips called “Illegal Immigrants Registration Slip” which had a statement “Tujuan: Pulang Ke Negara Asal” (Purpose: Return to Home Country).

She said this slip had sparked fear among the UNHCR-registered refugees that many of them would be deported to their home countries despite being UNHCR cardholders.

She added that this “return slip” was clearly violated the 1951 Refugee Convention which states that no contracting states “shall expel or return a refugee” to where his life or freedom is threatened.

Malaysia, however, is not a signatory to the convention.

She said that it was also worrying that UNHCR Malaysia itself seemed unware of this “return slip”.

When Tenaganita sought clarification yesterday, UNHCR said it was still trying to verify.

Fernandez said deportation should not be applied to refugees under the 6P programme.

She also cast doubt over the 20,000 to 30,000 people who are awaiting registration from UNHCR.

“Will this 6P exercise exacerbate their vulnerabilities and increase their risk to deportation and consequent persecution?” she asked.

She said the home ministry’s responses to the amnesty programme reflected “arrogance of power and not good governance”.

She called for the registration exercise to be discontinued.

Ref : FreeMalaysiaToday

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