Push to free Rohingya minors held at camp
PETALING JAYA: A five-year-old girl is among 56 Rohingya who have been languishing in the Belantik Immigration Depot for more than half a year now.
Their lawyer is trying to get the girl and six other kids, the eldest aged 14, released through an application that will be heard in the Alor Setar High Court today.
The kids have been in detention at the Belantik Immigration Depot since they arrived in the waters off Langkawi on April 3.
The 56 Rohingya were in a boat from Rakhine in Myanmar that was intercepted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
The 19 men, 17 women and 20 children on the boat were then handed over to the Immigration Department.
Attempts to gain access to the seven minors by UNHCR, lawyers and family members were not successful when a habeas corpus application was filed on Sept 10, said lawyer Collin Andrew.
The application seeks an order from the court to release the minors who are seeking asylum or in the alternative, for them to be placed at a shelter instead of the punitive indefinite immigration detention.
Andrew said they could only act for the seven minors as only their family members could be located.
The respondents in the case are the commandant of the Belantik Immigration Depot, the director of the Kedah Immigration Department, the Director General of the Immigration Department and the Home Ministry.
The Bar Council, Suhakam and Asylum Access are holding a watching brief in the case.