In response to the sweeping detainment of migrants and refugees that happened last week in Malaysia, an online protest has flooded social media platforms especially Twitter with the hashtag #MigranJugaManusia which translates to “Migrants are also human”.
The protest highlighted the mass arrest of migrants and refugees at Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur on Labour Day with the organisers stating on social media that, “These arrests are unwarranted and the assumption that migrants are more prone to disease is illogical and dehumanising… Lack of access to detainees and information about arrest has been a chronic issue in Malaysia.” The social media post also said that migrants and refugees have rights, dignity and must be protected too. Read the post’s full text here.
As for the demands, #MigranJugaManusia raised up three points:
Many Malaysians took to their social media platforms to raise awareness with this issue, some even shared placards they made at home, here are a few:
Among the many great lies we told ourselves is our immunity and the immunity of this country iss built through singular, individual merits. To deny migrant rights is to deny the foundations of Msia, our identity and ancestry. #MigranJugaManusia pic.twitter.com/DQCygaw4Kh
— Veshalini Naidu (@VeshaNaidu) May 3, 2020
“Human rights are not reserved for citizens: they benefit everyone who is on a State’s territory or within its jurisdiction, without discrimination, whatever their administrative status and circumstances.” #MigranJugaManusia #MigranJugaManusia pic.twitter.com/rPhytxS17j
— sarah (@sunflwrsarah) May 3, 2020
— ✧ roxiechong ✧ (@roxiechong) May 3, 2020
Migrants leave their families in search of a better life.
It doesn’t matter where they come from, Everyone deserves to be treated as a human being.
— Amir Khaled (@A_Khaled_7) May 3, 2020
The question of whether to treat a group with dignity should not be conditional on their contributions to the economy.
— Faris 🌹 #MigranJugaManusia (@faristheahmad) May 3, 2020
Besides that, the Women’s March Malaysia 2020 Organising Committee’s press release expressed their solidarity with the movement and stating that, “The enforcement of the MCO which should serve as a mechanism to protect the public has altered since its initial phase into a form of violence that continues to expand… It is clear that the National Security Council (NSC) has turned its back on its promise”.
The promise in question was referring to NSC giving assurance that the safety of any migrants or refugees who exhibit Covid-19 symptoms will not be compromised if they come forward for testing and treatment.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) said more than 700 migrants, including children, were taken into custody last Friday, as reported by Al-Jazeera.
“Malaysian government does a U-turn on its earlier pledge not to arrest and detain undocumented migrants. Children as young as one year old have also been detained,” Lilianne Fan, chairman of the Rohingya Working Group at APRRN, said in a statement.
Breaking: Following the appalling statement released by MOHA #Malaysia on #Rohingya #refugees, massive crackdowns of migrants are reported by communities this afternoon. https://t.co/SN1iU22gCF pic.twitter.com/eY6rFB2Ha7
— APRRN (@APRRN_) May 1, 2020
There has been growing public anger in the recent week over the presence of migrant foreigners, with some in Malaysia accusing them of spreading the coronavirus and being a burden on government resources. A quick scroll on Twitter or Facebook and will reveal many xenophobic comments that are against the Rohingyas seeking asylum from systematic genocide.
Fortunately, many have shown out in the protest, proving once again that Malaysians do have a heart. Despite Malaysia not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Malaysia has had a long history of sheltering those in need of protection. So why stop now?
For more news, click here.