(KUALA LUMPUR, August 10, 2022)—On August 10, 2022, Fortify Rights discovered the online publication of the long-awaited 2019 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) report on the discovery of human trafficking death camps and graves at Wang Kelian, Perlis State, Malaysia in 2015. Fortify Rights previously advocated for the Malaysian government to publish the RCI report following the conclusion of the commission’s investigation. Although the chair of the RCI claimed the report was “a state secret,” the report quietly appeared on the Ministry of Home Affairs website.
A Bahasa Malaysia version of the report remains on the Ministry of Home Affairs website. An English-language version of the report was available briefly but was removed from the website in early September. The report finds that Malaysia officials could have prevented the torture and death of Rohingya and Bangladeshi trafficking victims and that official negligence hindered the detection and proper investigation of a human trafficking syndicate responsible for atrocity crimes against Rohingya and others. Fortify Rights’s work was cited five times in the RCI report.
Following the discovery of the RCI report, Fortify Rights published a news release advocating for Malaysian authorities to prosecute officials involved in trafficking Rohingya refugees to “death camps” in Wang Kelian, including those who were criminally negligent in the police investigation. In 2019, Fortify Rights and the Malaysian Commission for Human Rights (SUHAKAM) published a report documenting mass atrocity crimes and grave human rights violations against Rohingya trafficked from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Malaysia from 2012 to 2015. Fortify Rights and SUHAKAM uncovered imprisonment, torture, extortion, death by deprivation, rape, and killings on land and at sea. The Fortify Rights and SUHAKAM report also found that Malaysian authorities obstructed justice by destroying evidence and delaying the exhumation of victims’ bodies – all facts backed up by the RCI report’s findings.