Warning of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Malaysia

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 9:25 am

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, who came to Malaysia to directly observe the degradation of human rights and human trafficking, including Bangladesh, focused on foreign workers, highlighted the important link between human rights and business.

Volker Turk warned Malaysia that not prioritizing human rights in business could hamper Malaysia’s efforts to attract foreign investment in the future.

Turk said he included business and human rights issues in discussions with the Malaysian government. Business and human rights issues were part of our discussions. Because we know that when human rights are not practiced in business, it will harm (foreign investment) in the future.

Turk said these things in a press conference in Putrajaya on Tuesday. Turk’s comments came in response to a question about whether exploiting migrant workers would undermine Malaysia’s efforts to attract foreign investment.

The United Nations has previously expressed its concern to Malaysia due to the high number of cases of crimes and human trafficking related to the employment of foreign workers in Malaysia and said that companies employing foreign workers are being brought to Malaysia under false pretenses. Recent attention has also been drawn to the plight of Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia, who came with hopes of employment through the labor migration process but find themselves in dire situations.

Turk said he has noticed more openness when discussing immigration-related issues than 20 years ago.

Turk believes that Malaysia is aware of the problems and wants to deal with them.

Turk said, “I have talked to several people and learned that there are harsh conditions for prisoners and they are mistreated which is alarming.” These matters need to be investigated.

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