Save the Children statement on the detention and mistreatment of Rohingya refugee children in Malaysia
After reports in the media about the concerning situation of refugee Rohingya children in Malaysia, Shaheen Chughtai, Asia Regional Advocacy Director, Save the Children, said:
“The detention of Rohingya refugee children in Malaysia is deeply concerning. Rohingya children have faced rights abuses and discrimination in Rakhine State, extreme violence when they fled their country and they face difficult circumstances and uncertainty in the camps of Cox’s Bazar. Now, as children and their families seek out a better future free from fear and harm, they find themselves being treated like criminals.
“Children travelling by boat are likely to have witnessed and experienced extremely distressing situations that no child should see, potentially at the hands of traffickers. Children rescued from boats off the coast of Bangladesh have told us of seeing family members thrown overboard, being beaten and going without adequate food and water for weeks, if not months, at a time. It is horrific that refugee children could now reportedly also face jail terms in Malaysia when their only “crime” is to flee persecution.
“All refugee children have the right to be safe, educated, healthy and be sheltered, yet they are currently denied these rights. The detention of Rohingya refugee children constitutes a further denial of their rights and a violation of international law. We urge the government of Malaysia to seek immediate alternatives to the detention of Rohingya children and to stop treating refugees like criminals.”
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