UN refugee agency hails release of babies from Malaysian detention
The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed Malaysia’s release from detention of six babies from Myanmar who had been arrested with their relatives and held for up to four weeks for not having valid immigration documents.
The babies, all aged between 30 and 40 days, were released, along with their mothers, into the custody of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday, the agency said in a statement. In total, 25 people were released.
Volker Türk, UNHCR representative in Malaysia, thanked the country’s authorities for “this humanitarian act of releasing these babies and their parents” from detention.
“Refugees are a group of people with special protection needs and UNHCR provides this for them,” he said. “We are happy that they have been released back into our care. Our immediate concern now is for the health and welfare of the newborn babies and their mothers.”
About 43,000 persons of concern were registered with UNHCR in Malaysia as of January, including about 27,000 from ethnic minorities in Myanmar.