Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Malaysia: UNHCR deeply concerned by continued arrests of Acehnese

Briefing notes

Malaysia: UNHCR deeply concerned by continued arrests of Acehnese

26 August 2003

UNHCR is deeply concerned by continued arrests by Malaysian police of Indonesian Acehnese asylum seekers outside our office in Kuala Lumpur, which effectively prevents them from exercising their right to seek protection and asylum. Today, another 40 asylum seekers were detained by Malaysian police in front of UNHCR Kuala Lumpur office as they tried to approach UNHCR. Last week, 400 were arrested in similar circumstances.

We have gained access to those detained, and we are currently registering them. We have now established a permanent monitoring team at the Langkap immigration detention centre in Perak where the Acehnese are being held.

We welcome the Malaysian government's decision to allow us to access, but we continue to be deeply concerned by the continuing arrests. We are urging the Malaysian authorities to grant temporary protection to all Acehnese civilians fleeing the conflict, including those detained last week.

The Malaysian government's actions undermine the right to seek asylum as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNHCR calls upon the government to allow all asylum seekers safe access to the UNHCR compound and stands ready to work with the Malaysian authorities to ensure asylum seekers and refugees are differentiated from illegal migrants and dealt with in accordance with international principles.