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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Amnesty International slams ‘hateful’ anti-Rohingya poster

FMT
FMT Reporters
June 11, 2021
The immigration department poster shared on social media, which Amnesty International has described as ‘despicable’.

PETALING JAYA: A rights group has slammed the immigration department over an anti-Rohingya poster it shared on its Twitter account, saying it could foster “hatred, violence and xenophobia”.

In a hard-hitting statement, Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) said it was “despicable” to say that a community that had undergone ethnic cleansing and endured unimaginable brutality was not only unwelcomed but also threatened with brute force.

It also said it was “particularly grotesque” that such a stance came from leaders who could crow to the international community about their concern for Palestinians one week, then threaten violence against those who are traumatised and displaced.

“How does the Malaysian government justify that hypocrisy?” asked AIM.

A poster shared on the department’s social media account featured gun-toting enforcement officers from the police, armed forces and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

It also included a phrase that read: “Migran Etnik Rohingya Kedatangan Anda Tidak Diundang” (Rohingya Migrants You Are Not Wanted).

A tweet also said that masterminds of syndicates would be hunted down to curb cross-border crimes.

AIM said Rohingya refugees and other migrants and asylum seekers had shared about the increasing xenophobia and racism they have had to endure in the past year.

It said they also talked about the serious impact on their mental health, adding that there had been a rise in suicides among migrants and asylum seekers.

“Make no mistake, ‘strategic communications’ and policies like these foster a climate of hatred, violence and xenophobia – they harm lives, they punish people for trying to survive, they justify discrimination.”

The Malaysian government, AIM said, must explain why, especially during a pandemic, it had chosen to attack people in need.

“Refugees and migrants deserve to have their humanity upheld; Malaysians deserve a government that respects the rights and dignity of all.”

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