A total of 21 Bangladeshi Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), who work on migration and development, expressed deep concern over harassment of journalists and migrants’ by Malaysian government following a documentary broadcast by Al Jazeera on mistreatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.
“Summoning the journalists and the reported manhunt for the Bangladeshi migrant worker interviewed by Al Jazeera for the documentary, is a blatant attempt to muzzle the freedom of press and human rights abuse by the Malaysian authorities,” said a joint statement by 21 CSOs.
The CSOs called on the Malaysian government not to harass journalists and expatriates, and instead investigate and take action against those who have been treating the migrants unjustly.
They also urged the Bangladesh High Commission of Malaysia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) in Dhaka and international organizations to take necessary actions in this regard.
The investigative documentary titled ‘Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown’ was broadcasted on July 3 2020 as part of Al Jazeera’s “101 East” documentary strand.
It shows that the Malaysian government is discriminating against migrants during the epidemic through the Movement Control Order (MCO).
The CSOs noted with deep concern that six media workers of Al Jazeera were called to Malaysia Central Police Headquarters on July 10 for questioning.
They are also being investigated for alleged defamation and sedition by Malaysian police, said the statement by CSOs.
The Immigration Department of Malaysia has issued a search warrant for the young Bangladeshi migrant Raihan Kabir (25) who were interviewed in the documentary.
The CSOs said “We want to make it clear that giving an interview to the media is not a crime and Raihan Kabir did not commit any crime.”
“He is staying there legally, although the Malaysian authority has launched a manhunt as if he is a big criminal. We’ve learned that several Bangladeshis are also being harassed during this unethical manhunt” they added.
The CSOs statement also said that “We’re concerned about the safety of this young Bangladeshi migrant.”
The Bangladeshi CSOs thanked human rights organizations in Malaysia who stood by the expatriates and urged the lawyers, journalists and human rights activists there to keep an eye on the issue.
They also called on the Malaysian government and law enforcement agencies to investigate the harassment of the expatriate workers in Malaysia which has been shown in the Report.
CSOs urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Bangladesh High Commission of Malaysia to take appropriate measures to protect the rights and dignity of expatriates including the security Raihan Kabir and other Bangladeshi migrants.
The joint statement was made by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), WARBE Development Foundation, Brac, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP), Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendro (BNSK), IID Migration Policy Unit, Human Rights Support Society (HRSS), Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA), BASUG, INAFI Bangladesh, Karmojibi Nari, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS), Devcom, IMA, Awaj Foundation, Rights Jessore, BILS, Bastob, Film for Peace Foundation, and Migration News.
Source: United News of Bangladesh