AB. Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Pejabat Perdana Menteri
Jalan Datuk Onn, 50502
Dear Dr. Mahathir:
We are writing to express our deep concern about the recent violence at Sungei Besi Camp. Reportedly, the Malaysian police has shot dead a 34 year-old Vietnamese asylum seeker and caused six other casualties. We strongly condemn such use of deadly force against innocent people whose only crime is to flee from mistreatment in their native country and seek refuge in your country.
In a statement to the press on January 22, you decried resettlement countries for having "promised to take [asylum seekers] off our hands but now they have refused. " You added, "If they have the right to refuse, we also have the right to refuse". However, the US Government since May has started a serious effort to address the problem through a program that would resettle those qualifying for resettlement in the United States according to US refugee criteria. The obstacle has been Malaysia's objection to such a program
Malaysia's increasingly eminent political and economic position on the world scene calls for a more generous and tolerant policy towards refugees and asylum seekers. We urge your government to refrain from drastic measures and further use of force. An early and yet humane conclusion to the Comprehensive Plan of Action is possible. If your government participates in the efforts initiated by the US State Department and Congress to formulate a fair, humane and honorable alternative to forced repatriation.
We are confident that if Malaysia allows the United State to resettle all asylum seekers eligible for its program, the camp would be cleared within a few month.
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