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20 Apr 2024

By OHCHR (Switzerland)

Malaysia: Bangladeshi workers must be protected from exploitation and criminalisation, say UN experts

…UN experts* today expressed dismay about the situation of Bangladeshi migrants in Malaysia, who had travelled there in the hope of employment after engaging in the official labour migration process.

“The situation of Bangladeshi migrants who have lived in Malaysia for several months or longer is unsustainable and undignified,” the experts said. “Malaysia needs to take urgent measures to address the dire humanitarian situation of migrants and protect them from exploitation, criminalisation and other human rights abuses.”

They noted that many migrants find on arrival in Malaysia that they do not have employment as promised and are often forced into overstaying their visas. Consequently, these migrants risk arrest, detention, ill-treatment and deportation, the experts said.

They expressed concern that large sums of money were being generated through the fraudulent recruitment of migrant workers by criminal networks operating between Malaysia and Bangladesh. Migrants were being deceived, recruited by companies that are frequently fake, and obliged to pay exorbitant recruitment fees which pushes them into debt bondage, the experts said…

They urged Malaysia and Bangladesh to investigate and address the situation. “Malaysia must govern labour migration more effectively by adopting adequate safeguards,” the experts said…