Monday, December 17, 2007

Myanmar Refugees Face Wretched Existence In Malaysia

---- Living in miserable camps not far from the glittering Petronas Twin Towers, Myanmar refugees in Malaysia are some of the most wretched of the hundreds of thousands who have fled their homeland. "We are living here like prisoners, we cannot go out anywhere because we are frightened," says 35-year-old James Munerlian, a Christian pastor from Myanmar's Chin state who fled persecution by the military regime.

---- They escaped Myanmar on foot in the hope of finding a better life, but instead are exploited by unscrupulous employers and harassed by Malaysia's controversial volunteer security corps which hunts down illegal migrants.

---- "Malaysia has become one of the worst places for Burmese asylum seekers because of the way the government and its enforcers have brutalised and abused refugees," says Debbie Stothard from human rights group Altsean Burma. "Large groups of refugees are in hiding around the country and they are penniless and desperate," she adds, using Myanmar's former name.

---- Chin Refugee Centre coordinator Paul Lian says most Myanmar refugees in Malaysia work illegally on building sites or plantations and face beatings, extortion and exploitation from employers.

"The groups are in very bad shape as they have no money, no food and fear for their safety," he says, adding that as they have no rights they are either not paid at all or given a pittance.

---- Another camp dweller, 43-year-old Peter Thant Tum who has been on the run for the past three years, just wants a chance at leading a normal life.

"If the Malaysia government has consideration, please give us legal documents and allow us to work, to earn money and eat, our lives will be more happy," he says.

---- Crackdowns on illegal migrants are carried out by the volunteer RELA corps, a notorious uniformed brigade accused of rampant human rights abuses.

"We don't have any security, our brothers they go to the market but then the RELA men, they stop us and they demand money," Thant Tum says.

"They don't want to arrest us because they know they will have to feed us and take care of us so they only demand money from us and beat us very badly."

Read the full report from AFP HERE.
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Anonymous SM said...

Yes, it's a sad state of matters. I'm sorry for them & I understand that they are trying to get away from an hostile, corrupted & ruthless regime. But, if it's so bad here then why don't they go somewhere else?
They come in illegaly & expect to be given jobs & a good living? Sorry, it's not that easy.
Maybe some of these Western Countries can take them? I don't think soooooo...

8:11 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you just a sense of apathy and total disregard for human dignity that seems to the signature of the current Malaysian government.

8:49 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it RELA has rights to checks out the immigrants.

But 1 thought refugees aren't suppose to work. They are suppose to be protected at specific location and transported to other country who would want to accept them as their citizen.

Thot it would be something like the Vietnamess those days.


4:56 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...


Don't let your "bleeding heart" make you blind.
Yes, they are here & we have to try to give them lodging, protection & feed them. However, we don't have to give them jobs also.
Don't critize the Governemnt for the sake of critizing the Government.
Noone wants these illegial refugees! And in the mean time, we not only get those from Myanmar, but from Indonesia, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh...where does it end?
These refugees come in illegially & they get jobs illegially with crooked employers. Of course they aren't supposed to work. But that's why they come work..but illegially.
You are mixing up Illegial Refugees with those seeking "assylum" from their oppressive regimes.

5:22 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Human Rights said...

If Malaysians themselves get treated badly with gross violation of their human rights, what do u expect for these people.

Sorry, this is a wrong place for u guys. Try another country. Tata, Bye Bye!!!!

1:12 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Tedev said...

One morality that the Burmese so-called refugees must learn: NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR HOMELAND cuz you wouldn't know your fate at your new found-land.

11:58 AM GMT+8  

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