Malaysia has now deported more than 1,000 Myanmar citizens amidst unrest following the coup, defying a court order.
Malaysia’s Immigration Department defied the High Court’s order putting on hold the deportation, until it heard a case for judicial review by rights groups scheduled on Wednesday morning.
Before the ruling was given, the Immigration Department sent 1,086 Burmese back on three Myanmar navy ships.
Malaysian Immigration Department Director General Khairul Dzaimee Daud said that no member of the Rohingya ethnic group were among the deportees and that those deported have agreed to return to Myanmar voluntarily, in a statement.
Rights organizations have criticized the move saying it could put the lives of the deportees in danger.
Amnesty International Malaysia’s Executive Director, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv said, “The Malaysian government’s decision to deport people in defiance of an order from the High Court today was inhumane and devastating.”
The organization said that the government’s move came as a “shock” as it went ahead with the deportation.
“The authorities’ earlier claims that there were no asylum seekers in the group was patently false. Now there are still huge, deeply concerning question marks over the status of those sent back today.”
Amnesty said that Wednesday’s hearing, which will still push through must shed light on the sudden move “undertaken in secrecy,” demanding authorities must allow United Nations access to those being deported.
“Refugees and asylum seekers looking for safety must be allowed to seek protection in a country like Malaysia. We cannot continue to deny the basic humanity of those who have sought work or safety on our shores,” Amnesty added.