The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said while Malaysia has provided refuge to the Rohingya community which is being persecuted in their home country of Myanmar, they must also abide by the laws of this country.
"The instincts of compassion and hospitality of Malaysia to provide refuge to Rohingya refugees who have suffered violence, hardship, threats to life and displacement must also mean that refugees in Malaysia respect and adhere to the laws of Malaysia," said Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail in a statement today.
Commenting on the protest organised by the Rohingya community on Wednesday, Razali said the right to peaceful assembly is protected but not for violent protesters.
"Suhakam clarifies that every human being wherever they are has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly on the basis of Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
"This right is constitutionally guaranteed for Malaysians in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. However violent protesters lose their protection under the right to peaceful assembly, and the police shall act against those breaking the law," he said.
According to Bernama, 44 Rohingya protesters were arrested in front of the Tabung Haji headquarters on Wednesday after allegedly creating "provocation".
Over 1,000 protesters had planned to march from the Tabung Haji headquarters along Jalan Tun Razak to the Myanmar embassy on Jalan Ampang Hilir to protest renewed violence against their community in Myanmar.
Razali said Malaysia had an obligation to protect the premises of diplomatic missions from intrusion, damage or impairment to its dignity.
Yesterday, Singapore's Channel News Asia quoted Razali as saying that the Rohingya community "shouldn't have stretched" the sympathy for them through a street protest.
"I wish they would make representation to the government in an orderly fashion. I do not think taking to the streets in a foreign country is the way out," he was quoted as saying.