Ratify the Refugee Convention immediately

Media statement by DAP International Secretary and MP for Bukit Bendera Liew Chin Tong on 1st September 2011 in George Town, Penang
Ratify the Refugee Convention immediately

Ratify the Refugee Convention immediately

I welcome the decision by the Australian High Court on 31st August 2011 that ruled the Australia-Malaysia refugee swap illegal, on the grounds that Malaysia provides no legal guarantees to protect the rights of asylum seekers.

The Arrangement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Malaysia on Transfer and Resettlement is akin to two sovereign governments engaging in trading humans for money.

The Australian High Court’s ruling not only put a stop to such an international charade but also highlighted the Malaysian government’s failure to be a signatory to the Refugee Convention, which has been ratified by 147 countries around the world.

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is the key legal document in defining who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligations of states towards refugees. The 1967 Protocol removed geographical and temporal restrictions from the Convention.

The following statistics are reported by The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (http://www.unhcr.org/3b73b0d63.html) :

(a) Total number of States Parties to the 1951 Convention: 144
(b) Total number of States Parties to the 1967 Protocol: 145
(c) States Parties to both the Convention and Protocol: 142
(d) States Parties to one or both of these instruments: 147

To qualify as a responsible member of the international community guided by ethics and priciples, Malaysia should not pursue the Refugee swap deal any further and should ratify the Refugee Convention immediately.

The Sun
Free Malaysia Today

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