Thursday, February 12, 2009

UN slams Malaysia for lack of access to education for migrant children,....

Malaysia, embarrassingly, has been taken to task at the UN Human Rights Council for its actions that fails to '...distinguishes asylum seekers from irregular migrants....'.

Some, like the peoples of Burma, have fled to Malaysia seeking safety from persecution by their country of origins but alas Malaysia sometimes treat them not as asylum seekers or refugees - but lump them into one group called 'undocumented migrants' (or illegal migrants)...and this is very wrong.

The UN Human Rights Council also talked about the lack of access to education for children of refugees, asylum seekers ...and migrants.

With regard to children, their legal status must never be a bar that will prevent them education, healthcare and other social services. Remember, Malaysia is bound by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and simple human decency,
States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.
But alas, Malaysia had a reservation with regards to education - hopefully, no more

Article 28

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;

(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;

(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;

(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;

(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.

Most likely, our local media may not be highlighting what happened at the UN with regard to Malaysia's failures - and as such, I just share an AFP report I came across...

Malaysia was taken to task by some Western countries on Wednesday over its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, during a United Nations review of its human rights record.

Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands were among the nations that expressed "concerns" surrounding refugees and asylum-seekers held in detention in Malaysia, as they called on Kuala Lumpur to develop legislation that distinguishes asylum seekers from irregular migrants.

"We note serious problems faced by refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Malaysia... that is linked to a lack of clarity on their status in the country," Belgium's representative told the UN Human Rights Council during a universal periodic review session.

Under universal periodic review, all 192 member states of the United Nations have their human rights record vetted by the council once every four years.

The session is based on three reports, one submitted by the country under review, and two summaries compiled by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

The high commissioner's report noted the lack of national legislation on refugees as well as absence of laws on the rights of migrant workers.

In addition, it said, "many asylum seeking and refugee children, among them Muslim children from a nearby country, including the Rohingya refugee children who had lived in Malaysia since 1990s, lacked access to formal education."

The secretary general of Malaysia's foreign ministry Rastam Mohd Isa said in his opening remarks that Malaysia prosecutes only refugees who have committed crimes.

Foreign workers are accorded the same rights as local workers, and the rights of illegal immigrants are protected, he added.

Human rights groups have accused Malaysia of mistreating millions of foreign workers who live there, as well as asylum-seekers, including thousands from nearby Myanmar, which is under military rule.

Human Rights Watch had singled out a government-backed volunteer force in Malaysia known as RELA for allegedly beating, threatening and extorting money from migrants and asylum-seekers.

During Wednesday's session, some countries, including Chile and France, encouraged Malaysia to eliminate discrimination due to sexual orientation and to "respect the human rights of all individuals, including homosexuals." - AFP, 12/1/2009 Malaysia under fire at UN over refugees

1 comment:

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...


Getting an education is every human being's basic foundation
Regardless of the person's basic status or original station
Let us not be guilty of this act of educational deprivation
For proper full education gives hope to this world's salvation

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 120209
Thur. 12th Feb. 2009.