A Malaysian court, on Tuesday, ruled that authorities cannot send 114 migrants back to Myanmar until a judicial review of earlier deportation is completed.
The request for review was filed by Amnesty International, Malaysia and Asylum Access Malaysia, who welcomed the decision.
“The group of migrants may include asylum-seekers, refugees and children who are in need of international protection,’’ the two organisations said.
A larger group of 1,086 migrants was deported on three Myanmar navy ships on Feb. 23, in defiance of a stay ordered by the court.
The court has now granted leave to proceed with the request for judicial review of those deportations.
The Malaysian government said the migrants, who were held in immigration detention centres, had entered the country illegally and returned voluntarily to Myanmar.
The United Nations refugee agency has been denied access to detention centres since August 2019.
It said in February it believed that some of those deported could have been refugees and asylum seekers.
Amnesty International and Asylum Access Malaysia said the deportations were “inhumane’’ and put the migrants at risk of mistreatment in Myanmar, where the military seized power in an early February coup.
The Malaysian government said it has ensured that none of the deportees was Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority that the UN has said were subjected to genocide in Myanmar.
At least 100,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Malaysia, which is also a favoured destination for economic migrants from countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines. (dpa/NAN)