CHRO

Reign of Terror

This document details human rights violations committed by SAC actors during August and September, 2021. Attacks on the civilian population and civilian infrastructure initiated by the State Administration Council (SAC) junta have become increasingly relentless in western Burma/Myanmar since August 2021. Junta soldiers operating in Chin State and parts of Sagaing and Magwe Regions, under the Northwestern Regional Military Command based in Monywa, have conducted a campaign of unlawful killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and deliberate targeting of civilian and religious infrastructure.

Reign of Terror

Human Rights Briefing August September

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Reign of Terror ReportCHRO

6 April 2007: CHRO joins the Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus for Democracy in Burma in their call for the Malaysian government to take immediate action in the case of Dally Sui and to protect all Burmese children living in Malaysia. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia has a responsibility to uphold and ensure the rights of all children, including refugee and undocumented children, are protected.

 

THE CASE OF DALLY SUI

 

Dally Sui is seven year old Chin girl who was abducted on 20 March. Her body was later found with her hands severed at the wrist on 27 March. Dally Sui and her family fled Burma, and had been living in Malaysia as refugees since 2002. She went missing the day before she and her family were scheduled to leave Malaysia to be resettled to the United States.

 

After becoming aware that Dally Sui had disappeared, her parents immediately filed a missing persons report with the police. As the hours turned into days and the search for Dally Sui spread throughout the Chin community in Kuala Lumpur, the police did little to help. Despite repeated requests for their involvement, the authorities failed to take exert the effort even to simply speak to the distraught parents or interview the neighbors In the end, Dally Sui was found dead with her body dumped in some undergrowth just 4 kilometers from her parent’s house. Her hands remain unaccounted for and her killer has still not been identified by the authorities. Her parent’s must now face leaving for the United States without receiving answers about the death of their little girl.

 

REFUGEE CHILDREN IN MALAYSIA

 

The case of Dally Sui reflects a larger problem for the Chin population living in Malaysia – the lack of adequate protection for the most vulnerable members of their community. Not only are refugee and undocumented migrant children unprotected by Malaysian authorities, but they are also at constant risk of being arrested, detained, and deported at the hands of the Malaysian authorities.

 

Currently there are over 500 Chin children living in Malaysia. Like Dally Sui, most are afraid or prohibited by their parents from leaving their family’s homes for fear that they will be arrested. Refugees and undocumented children are not allowed to attend school in Malaysia. As a result, many Chin children spend their days indoors unable to experience childhood in a safe and supportive environment.

 

ARREST AND DETENTION OF CHILDREN IN MALAYSIA

 

Despite their obligations to refrain from arbitrarily depriving a child of his or her liberty under Article 37(b) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Malaysian authorities are constantly responsible for the unwarranted arrest and detention of children. Currently there are about 20 Chin children, as young as less than a month old, detained in Malaysian detention facilities.

 

On the very day that Dally Sui went missing, immigration officers raided the home of Uk Nawl and Biak Thluai and took into custody their two children Ngun Za Tial (age 12) and Bawi Lian Thang (age 10). Both parents are UNHCR recognized refugees and their children were scheduled to be interviewed for resettlement to the United States on the following morning. They are still being detained at Semenyih camp. The youngest child has reportedly fallen sick.

 

Even more disconcerting is the recent spate of arrests of newborn babies. One month ago, the Malaysian authorities arrested and detained several newborn refugee babies when their parent’s attempted to register the child’s birth with the immigration office. Despite the fact that in each case at least one birth parent had received UNHCR refugee recognition, the Malaysian authorities took into their custody a two week old baby on 21 February, a one day old baby on 6 March, and another newborn baby on 7 March. These actions jeopardize the right of a child to be registered at birth as accorded by Article 7 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

 

ARREST AND DETENTION OF PREGNANT WOMEN AND NURSING MOTHERS

 

Correlated to the obligation to adequately protect children, the Malaysian government also has a corresponding duty to protect pregnant women and new mothers not only under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but also under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which Malaysia is also a signatory to. Malaysia, however, has consistently failed to uphold their commitments under international law.

 

As recently as yesterday, with the Chin community still in mourning over the loss of Dally Sui, RELA officers raided the Pudu market in downtown Kuala Lumpur and arrested two nursing mothers, separating them from their newborn babies. The mothers, Bawi Sung, whose baby is 3 months old, and Hniang Zitial, whose baby is 1 month old, are both UNHCR recognized refugees. After repeated cries for mercy, both mothers were later released late in the evening.

 

Pregnant women are also frequently caught up in the RELA raids and forced to deliver their babies in squalid detention facilities. One Chin woman described to CHRO how she was six and a half months pregnant when she was arrested by RELA officers in Kuala Lumpur on 5 October 2006. During the arrest and her time in detention, she was kicked, hit on the forehead with a baton, repeatedly forced to strip naked and sit with her legs spread, had her nipples pinched by guards, endured constant verbal abuse, and was provided with inadequate sustenance. She later gave birth in detention on 20 December while chained to a bed. She was eventually released on 21 January 2007 after intervention from the UNHCR.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The abuses described above have gone on for too long. It is time for the Malaysian government to live up to its commitments under international law and provide adequate protection to all the children living within its borders. CHRO calls on the Malaysian government to:

 

· Conduct a proper investigation into the disappearance and death of seven year old Dally Sui and to ensure such acts of violence are not committed with impunity.

 

· Respect and uphold its international legal obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

 

· Stop the arrest and detention of refugee children and their mothers.

 

· Immediately and unconditionally release refugee children and their parents in government custody.

 

· Cooperate with and recognize the powers of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in protecting the inherent rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

 

CALL FOR ACTION

 

To join Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus for Democracy in Burma and CHRO in their call for the protection of refugee and undocumented children in Malaysia, please write or contact the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry at:

Ministry of Home Affairs

Royal Malaysian Police

Cawangan Perhubungan Awam

Polis Diraja Malaysia

Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman

50560 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: (60) 3-2262 6310; Fax: (60) 3-2272-2710;

 

Website: http://www.rmp.gov.my

Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Contact Information: For more information about the situation of refugee and undocumented children and mothers in Malaysia, please contact Salai Ling, CHRO Malaysia Project Coordinator, e-mail: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Amy Alexander, CHRO Legal Consultant, Tel: +66.85.23.02.609, email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

20 April 2007: CHRO welcomes Malaysia’s recent statements indicating a refusal to defend Burma in future engagements on the international stage. To further this objective, CHRO calls on Malaysia to protect and respect the rights of the thousands of Burmese refugees living within its borders.

 

On 19 April 2007, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, told reporters that Malaysia along with other ASEAN members agreed not to shield Burma from attacks “if it was bombarded at any international forum.” Justifying this position, Shabery recognized the continued illegitimacy of Burma’s military rulers indicating that Burma failed to show any progress towards reform.

 

Despite Malaysia’s hard foreign policy stance on Burma’s military regime, Malaysia’s domestic policy fails to recognize or provide any sort of protection to the very people who have suffered under Burma’s rule- the Burmese refugee community. Tens of thousands of Burmese refugees and asylum seekers, including some 23,000 from Burma’s Chinland, have found themselves in Malaysia after being forced from their homes at the hands of Burma’s military regime.

 

Although a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and a sitting member of the UN Human Rights Council, the Malaysia government has consistently refused to protect refugees and asylum seekers living within their borders. Rather, the Burmese communities in Malaysia have been the regular target of security abuses, immigration raids and round-ups, increasing violent crimes committed in impunity, and abuses against the most vulnerable members of their community, including women and children.

 

Immigration raids targeting Burmese communities occur on an almost weekly basis in Malaysia, typically conducted by the highly controversial, untrained and often abusive Peoples’ Volunteer Corp., also known as RELA. Malaysian immigration detention facilities currently hold about 2,000 Burmese asylum seekers and refugees, about half of which are Chins. Of particular concern to CHRO are the continuing arrests of pregnant women and minors. At this time, CHRO is aware of five pregnant Chin women who were recently arrested, two of whom were forced to give birth in detention. All five are remain in detention despite their vulnerable states. According to CHRO’s sources, there are also about 20 Chin children, some as young as less than a month old, detained in Malaysian detention facilities.

 

For Malaysia to make good on its foreign policy initiatives towards Burma, Malaysia should first look at domestically and make good on its promise to respect the basic human rights of refugees and asylum seekers who are the victims of Burma’s military regime.

 

Contact Information: For more information, please contact Salai Ling, CHRO Malaysia Project Coordinator, e-mail: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Amy Alexander, CHRO Legal Consultant, Tel: +66.85.23.02.609, email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

 

By: Amy Alexander

 

25 June 2007

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Over 200 asylum-seekers and UNHCR-recognized refugees from Burma have been rounded up and taken into custody after early morning immigration raids today conducted by Malaysia’s controversial People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) in Kuala Lumpur neighborhoods.

 

The raids began around 1:30 am and took place in KL’s urban neighborhoods of Jalan Imbi and Sempaing, where a large number of asylum seekers and refugees from Burma’s Chin State reside. Approximately 217 were arrested and reportedly taken to Lenggeng detention camp located two hours outside of KL. This is the second large-scale raid in this area of KL since the beginning of the year.

 

Among those arrested are many UNHCR-recognized refugees, including several who are scheduled to be resettled to a third country within the next couple weeks and months. The Coordinator for the Chin Refugee Center (CRC), a community-based organization working to provide assistance to the Chin population living in Malaysia, was one of those arrested during the raid. He and his family are scheduled for resettlement to the United States in September. The Coordinator was eventually released after intervention by UNHCR and human rights organizations.

 

This raid is just one of a series of raids that have been conducted since the Government of Malaysia launched operations targeting undocumented migrants in March 2005. Despite criticism by human rights groups, conditions have only gotten worse for undocumented migrants as harassment, arrests, and deportations increased during the last year. Those arrested for immigration offenses are increasingly charged with canings, a serious penalty that leaves deep, permanent scarring. Conditions inside Malaysia’s detention facilities meanwhile remain deplorable, with detainees being given inadequate food, clothing, and accommodations, in addition to being subjected to verbal and physical abuse by the guards.

 

RELA, the untrained task force largely responsible for conducting immigration raids, has been the focus of consistent complaints for human rights violations and abuse of power. RELA has been responsible for deliberate property damage, extortion, harassment, indiscriminate and unlawful arrests, and physical assaults resulting in serious injuries and even death. Increasingly, there are calls for an end to RELA’s activities, with the Malaysia-based human rights group SUARAM issuing two separate complaints to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) within the last year and the Malaysian Bar calling for RELA’s immediate disbandment in March. Within this last month, RELA succumbed to pressure by numerous human rights groups to do away with the bounty system, which provided RELA agents with 80RM (US$25) for each arrest and led to increased abuses among the untrained volunteers.

 

Meanwhile the Malaysian Government has refused to address these issues. Rather, in February of this year, Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad reportedly criticized the UNHCR for getting in the way of the operations of agencies such as RELA and the Immigration Department. The Minister further indicated that Malaysia “accepts UNHCR’s presence, but not their powers.” At the beginning of this month, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid further reiterated that Malaysia will not recognize refugees.

 

Hundreds of thousands of Chins have been forced to leave their homes in Burma to escape severe ethnic and religious persecution committed by the military regime of Burma. They arrive in Malaysia in search of some sense of security. Currently, there are over 23,000 Chin asylum seekers and refugees living in Malaysia. Instead of finding safety, the Chin people are the constant target of harassment, arrest, detention, and deportation by the Malaysian authorities. In addition, they are unable to work, receive an education, access healthcare services, or find acceptable living accommodations. With the UNHCR registration process closed since July 2005, obtaining refugee status or any protective documents from the UNHCR is difficult. As a result, life for the Chins in Malaysia is full of abuses and uncertainties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 26, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: CHRO has recently been informed that just two days after Malaysia’s RELA forces rounded up and detained more than 200 refugees and asylum seekers from the Jalan Imbi neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian immigration authorities conducted a second raid, this time in Kuala Lumpur’s Lok Yew neighborhood. This second raid resulted in 42 more refugees and asylum seekers being sent to the already overflowing Lenggeng immigration detention facility.

 

Whereas most of the Chins detained during the June 25th raid are UNHCR recognized refugees awaiting resettlement to third countries, a majority of those detained during the June 27th raid are women and young children. From these two incidents alone, over 36 children, two pregnant women, and 19 UNHCR-recognized refugees who are within months of being resettled to third countries are now in Malaysian immigration detention facilities facing an uncertain future.

 

CHRO is concerned for the safety and security of all those who are detained in Malaysia. CHRO is particularly concerned for the two nine-month pregnant women, Tuan Zi (Chin Refugee Center File No. 354-05C08617) and Fam Tang (UNHCR File No. 03/MLS/08317), and the children who remain in detention despite their vulnerable positions, including:

 

Ngun Tha Lian, age 1 (File No. 05/MLS/05505)

Tial Tim Rem, age 3 (File No. 05/MLS/05505)

Van Lian Bawi, age 3 (File No. 354-05C08617)

Siang Hlei Sung, age 4 (File No. 354-06C03661)

Jumania Sung Tin Par, age 6 (File No. 354-06C03661)

Ngun Za Hlei, age 7 (File No. 05/MLS/05505)

Cem Cem, age 7 (File No. 05/MLS/05503)

Tha Chin Iang, age 10 (File No. 354-06C03661)

Solomon, age 12 (File No. 05/00579)

Cung Uk Thawng, age 12 (File No. 04/07211)

Sui cin, age 13 (File No. 354-06C03661)

Philip, age 14 (File No. 05/00579)

Conditions inside Malaysia’s immigration detention facilities rise to the level of torture, with prisoners being given inadequate food, clothing, and accommodations, in addition to being subjected to verbal and physical abuse by the guards. Those arrested for immigration offenses are increasingly charged with canings, a serious penalty that leaves deep, permanent scarring. This situation is of serious concern for anyone in detention; however, for the numerous women and children, particularly pregnant women and very young children, the situation is critical.

 

The raids conducted by immigration enforcement agents during this past June are just two of a series of raids that have been conducted on an almost weekly basis since the Government of Malaysia launched operations targeting undocumented migrants in March 2005. For members of the Chin community, frequent raids and security abuses is an exhausting but unavoidable reality of daily existence in Malaysia. As expressed by Nani, a Chin refugee and volunteer with the Chin Refugee Center in Kuala Lumpur, “I’m really tired of this situation but [we] have to face whatever comes.”

 

CALL TO ACTION

 

By continuing to conduct immigration raids that target the refugee community and results in the detention, abuse, and deportation of large numbers of particularly vulnerable persons, Malaysia is in violation of basic human rights standards. Malaysia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as a sitting member of the UN Human Rights Council, however, women and children in Malaysia, including pregnant woman and very young children, continue to be exposed to and unprotected from security abuses, hostile immigration raids, and increasingly violent crimes committed with impunity.

 

Under international human rights law, these violations should not have to be a part of daily existence for asylum seekers and refugees living in Malaysia. CHRO calls on the Malaysian government to:

 

· Discontinue immigration raids and RELA operations that target members of the refugee and asylum seeking community.

 

· Immediately and unconditionally release all refugees and asylum seekers currently in immigration custody, particularly women and children.

 

· Cooperate with and work in conjunction with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to protect the inherent rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

 

· Respect and uphold its international legal obligations to protect and promote the human rights of all people living within its borders.

 

CHRO also calls on the international community to join our efforts. Please write to or contact the following Malaysian officials in support of our demands:

 

Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi

Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security

Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia

Perdana Putra Building

Federal Government Administrative Centre

62502 Putra Jaya

Selangor, Malaysia

Tel : + 60 3 8888 6000

Fax : + 60 3 8888 3444

 

 

 

Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad

 

Minister of Home Affairs

 

Level 12, Block D1, Parcel D

 

Federal Government Administrative Centre

 

62546 Putra Jaya

 

Selangor, Malaysia

 

Tel: +60 3 8886 8000

Fax: +60 3 8889 1613

 

 

 

Tuan HJ. Wahid Bin MD Don

 

Director-General of Immigration Department

 

Director General Office

 

Immigration Department of Malaysia

 

Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2

 

Federal Government Administration Centre

 

62550 Putrajaya

 

Selangor, Malaysia

 

Tel: +60 3 8880 1000

Fax: +60 3 8880 1200

 

 

 

 

By: Amy Alexander

 

31 July 2007

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: About 60 refugees and asylum seekers from Burma’s Chin State are now behind bars in Malaysia awaiting an uncertain future after immigration raids yesterday in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Lokeyew neighborhood. About 20 women and children and 25 UNHCR-recognized refugees are among those rounded up during the raid.

 

Almost half of those arrested yesterday morning are recognized refugees with valid UNHCR documents. Many are in the final stages of a long process to be resettled to a third country, with some scheduled to depart within the next couple weeks. Instead of boarding an airplane to begin a new life abroad, they now face the possibility of being loaded onto a lorry bound for the Thai border.

 

The raid began in the early hours of the morning yesterday in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Lokeyew neighborhood, where a large number of refugees and asylum seekers from Burma’s Chin State reside. This neighborhood was targeted just one month ago in a similarly-styled raid, which resulted in the arrest and detention of mostly women and young children.

 

The raid was conducted by Malaysia’s controversial RELA or the People’s Volunteer Corps, an untrained, volunteer civilian unit endowed with considerable enforcement powers. This year RELA has come under increasing criticism for its member’s reckless conduct and abusive actions during raids, not only by international human rights groups but also by organization’s within Malaysia’s civil society. In March, the Malaysian Bar joined the Malaysia-based human rights group SUARAM in calling for RELA’s immediate disbandment following repeated complaints of torture and other human rights violations.

 

Despite continued condemnation by members of the international community and human rights organizations, yesterday’s raid is one of a mounting number of recently conducted raids targeting the refugee and undocumented migrant community in Malaysia. Since the beginning of this year, several hundreds of refugees and undocumented migrants have been caught up in similar immigration raids.

 

Malaysia refuses to recognize or give any protections to refugees or asylum seekers living within its borders. Rather, Malaysia has been conducting operations to target undocumented migrants as well as refugees and asylum seekers since March 2005. In February of this year, Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad reaffirmed the government’s intolerance for the refugee population by criticizing the UNHCR for getting in the way of the operations of agencies such as RELA and the Immigration Department. The Minister further indicated that Malaysia “accepts UNHCR’s presence, but not their powers.”

 

Hundreds of thousands of Chins have been forced to leave their homes in Burma to escape severe ethnic and religious persecution committed by the military regime of Burma. They arrive in Malaysia in search of some sense of security. Currently, there are over 23,000 Chin asylum seekers and refugees living in Malaysia. Instead of finding safety, the Chin people are the constant target of harassment, arrest, detention, and deportation by the Malaysian authorities. In addition, they are unable to work, receive an education, access healthcare services, or find acceptable living accommodations. With the UNHCR registration process closed since July 2005, obtaining refugee status or any protective documents from the UNHCR is difficult. As a result, life for the Chins in Malaysia is full of abuses and uncertainties

 

 

 

 

9 November 2007

 

Kelantan State, Malaysia: CHRO recently received information that eight Chin women and 13 Chin children have been arrested and detained by immigration authorities in Malaysia’s Kelantan State on 29 October 2007. At least five of the children are under the age of 4.The arrests took place shortly after the van the women and children were riding in was involved in a serious traffic accident. They are currently being held in Tanah Merah Immigration Detention Camp near Pasir Mas.

 

This most recent arrest occurred on 29 October 2007 as the Chin women and children were traveling through Kelantan State heading to join their families in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia’s capital city. On the journey to KL the van, in which the Chin women and children were passengers, ran off the road and slammed into a large tree. Five of the passengers were seriously injured in the accident, including four minors. Meanwhile, the driver of the van fled the scene of the accident.

 

Following the accident, the immigration authorities arrived and immediately took into custody all 21 Chin passengers for failing to have proper immigration documents. In fact, the women and children were traveling to KL to join family members, who are recognized refugees expecting to be resettled to a third country. Although United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been informed of the situation, they have indicated that they cannot intervene on behalf of the arrested women and children because they are not yet formally registered with the UN.

 

Commenting on the predicament, a representative of the Chin Refugee Center, a community-based organization in KL, said, “Now we have to try to do whatever we can do for our community members since the UN will not get involved. We must find a way to protect our women and children. Immigration detention is no place for a child.”

 

Currently all 21 women and children are being held in Tanah Merah Immigration Detention Camp located in Pasir Mas in Kelantan. Three of the passengers who were injured in the accident were taken to the hospital for treatment. One girl, age 13, suffered a broken thigh while her mother had to have glass shards removed from her head. After their release from the hospital, they were returned to immigration custody.

 

LACK OF PROTECTION FOR CHIN WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN MALAYSIA

 

CHRO is concerned by Malaysia’s consistent disregard for the rights and protections of Chin women and children living in Malaysia. Currently there are about 70 Chin women and children being held in immigration detention facilities throughout Malaysia. Pregnant women and very young children are not immune and many young mothers have been forced to give birth and nurse their newborns while under immigration custody. Chin women and children in Malaysia, including those with UNHCR documents, are at constant risk of being arrested, detained, and deported at the hands of the Malaysian authorities.

 

Under Article 27(b) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Malaysia is a signatory, Malaysia is responsible for protecting children from being arbitrarily deprived of his/her liberty. Malaysia has also agreed to abide by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. By continuing to arrest and detain Chin women and children, Malaysia has failed to uphold their commitments under international law.

 

CALL TO ACTION

 

CHRO calls on the Malaysian government to respect and uphold its international legal obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Please join CHRO in their demands to the Malaysian government to:

 

· Respect and protect the rights of Chin women and children living within Malaysia’s borders;

 

· Stop the arrest and detention of Chin women and children; and

 

· Immediately and unconditionally release all Chin women and children currently being held in its immigration detention facilities, including the 21 most recent arrestees being held in Kelantan;

 

Please direct your communications and concerns to:

Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad

Minister of Home Affairs

Level 12, Block D1, Parcel D,

Federal Government Administrative Centre,

62546 Putrajaya

Tel: +60.38.886.8000

Fax: +60.38.889.1613

 

Tuan HJ. Wahid Bin MD Don, Director-General of Immigration Department

Director General Office

Immigration Department of Malaysia ,

Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2,

Federal Government Administration Centre,

62550 Putrajaya,

Tel: +60 3 8880 1000

Fax: +60 3 8880 1200

 

Encik Che Baharom Bin Hamzah

 

Director of State Immigration

 

Kelantan State

 

Malaysia

 

Tel: +60.9.744.1644

 

Fax: +60.9.744.0200

 

 

 

Malik Zaliman Bin Deraman

 

State Immigration Enforcement Officer

 

Kelantan State

 

Malaysia

 

Tel: ( 609 ) 7475735

 

Fax: ( 609 ) 7434608

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 November 2007

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: As another child goes missing in Malaysia, CHRO renews its calls for the Malaysian government to protect all refugee and undocumented children. Biak Cin Thang, a 15-year old Chin boy, is the second Chin child to go missing since 20 March when Dally Sui disappeared and was later found dead in some undergrowth near her family’s home in Cheras. The Chin community in Kuala Lumpur continues to search and pray for Biak Cin Thang, hoping that he will be found unharmed.

 

On 7 November, 15-year old Biak Cin Thang went missing and remains unaccounted for. Biak Cin Thang was last seen leaving his family’s flat on Jalan Water Grenier off Jalan Imbi on Wednesday, 7 November around 4:00 pm. He never returned. His family filed a missing persons report with the district police that evening when he did not come home. They also contacted all their friends and relatives living in Malaysia. However, no one has any information as to Biak Cin Thang’s whereabouts.

 

The Chin Refugee Center (CRC), an organization working for the Chin community in Malaysia, is doing all it can to find any information that may lead to the safe return of Biak Cin Thang to his family. CRC has asked that anyone with any information as to the whereabouts of Biak Cin Thang to please contact their office immediately. CRC can be reached at +60.32.144.7271.

 

Biak Cin Thang came to Malaysia along with his younger brother under the care of his aunt, Nu Nu Sung. All three have been granted UNHCR refugee status and are awaiting resettlement to a third country. Nu Nu Sung brought the two young boys to Malaysia after their father was killed on the Indo-Burma border while serving in the Chin National Front (CNF). When Biak Cin Thang was very young, he came down with a serious case of malaria, which affected his cognitive abilities. According to those who know him, Biak Cin Thang rarely talks and tends to avoid strangers, making his disappearance even more disconcerting.

 

Biak Cin Thang’s disappearance is a sad reminder for the Chin community of the loss of Dally Sui who disappeared under similar conditions about 8 months ago. In the case of Dally Sui, she went missing around 7:00 pm from her family’s flat in the Cheras neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur. Like Biak Cin Thang, Dally’s family was living in Malaysia as UNHCR recognized refugees. She went missing the day before she and her family were scheduled to leave Malaysia to be resettled to the United States. Her body was found one week after her disappearance with her hands severed at the wrist, evidence of a brutal end to a young life. Her killer was never found.

 

UNDOCUMENTED AND REFUGEE CHILDREN REMAIN VULNERABLE IN MALAYSIA

 

After the disappearance and tragic death of Dally Sui, CHRO issued a call to action demanding that the Malaysia government protect all children living within its borders. Now, with the recent disappearance of Biak Cin Thang, CHRO renews this call.

 

As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia has a responsibility to uphold and ensure the rights of all children, including refugee and undocumented children, are protected. The case of Dally Sui and Biak Cin Thang reflects the lack of adequate protection for the most vulnerable members of the community.

 

Currently there are over 500 Chin children living in Malaysia. For many refugee children living in Malaysia, most of their days are spent indoors, afraid or prohibited by their parents from leaving their family’s homes. Not only are refugee children vulnerable to abduction and general societal crimes, but they are also at risk of arrest, detention, and deportation by the Malaysian authorities. Despite their obligations to refrain from arbitrarily depriving a child of his or her liberty under Article 37(b) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Malaysian authorities are constantly responsible for the unwarranted arrest and detention of children. Refugees and undocumented children are also not allowed to attend school in Malaysia. The Malaysia government must do more to protect and promote the rights of children.

 

CALL TO ACTION

 

It is time for the Malaysian government to live up to its commitments under international law and provide adequate protection to all the children living within its borders. CHRO calls on the Malaysian government to:

 

· Conduct a proper investigation into the disappearance of Biak Cin Thang and to ensure such acts of violence are not committed with impunity.

 

· Respect and uphold its international legal obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

· Stop the arrest and detention of refugee children and their mothers.

 

· Immediately and unconditionally release refugee children and their parents in government custody.

 

To join CHRO in their call for the protection of refugee and undocumented children in Malaysia, please write or contact the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry at:

Ministry of Home Affairs

Royal Malaysian Police

Cawangan Perhubungan Awam

Polis Diraja Malaysia

Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman

50560 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: (60) 3-2262 6310; Fax: (60) 3-2272-2710;

 

Website: http://www.rmp.gov.my

Email: [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

 

5 December 2007

 

Kelantan State, Malaysia: CHRO is deeply concerned for the well-being of one Chin woman and her four young children, who remain detained in Tanah Merah Immigration Detention Camp in Malaysia’s Kelantan State. Tin Thluai and her children, Zung Thluai Men, age 1, Sonia Run Chin Par, age 3, Sui Dawt Par, age 9, and Lal Rin Mawi, age 13, were arrested and taken into immigration custody on 29 October 2007 shortly after being involved in a serious traffic accident that left two of the children with broken legs and the mother with severe head wounds.

 

The Immigration Department in Kelantan State has refused to release the family, denied UNHCR access into the detention facility, and prohibited visitation rights to the husband and father of the family. CHRO condemns these appallingly inhumane actions of the Kelantan Immigration Department and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the family.

 

Tin Thluai

 

Lal Peng, the husband and father of the family, is distraught over the continued detention of his wife and children. “I just want my family to be safe and together again. I was allowed to see my wife and two daughters when they were still in the hospital. My little girl was crying so much she couldn’t stop. Then I was told I had to leave and couldn’t come back or they would arrest me too.”

 

Lal Peng is a UNHCR-recognized refugee awaiting resettlement to the U.S. Despite his UNHCR status, the UNHCR has been unable to intervene in his family’s case. Lal Peng, himself, was only able to visit his family in the detention camp once before being barred from further visits. During that visit, his wife described the difficulty of conditions in the camp, “She told me that they are not given enough food. My wife is still breast-feeding our youngest child. But the others are going hungry. I tried to give them money for food but the guards would not allow it.”

 

Lal Rin Mawi, age 13

 

CHRO first reported this incident on 9 November 2007 when Lal Peng’s family along with 16 other women and children were first arrested and detained in Kelantan State. Sadly, the other 16 women and children were deported earlier this month to the Thailand border. Lal Peng’s family were spared deportation only because the severity of their injuries. Thirteen-year old Lal Rin Mawi has a broken leg and nine-year old Sui Dawt Par is in a partial body cast suffering from an upper leg injury and still cannot stand on her own. Lal Peng’s wife, Tin Thluai, has two sets of stitches in her head and deep cuts on her hand.

 

 

CALL TO ACTION

 

Sui Dawt Par, age 9

 

The callous actions of the Kelantan Immigration Department are not only disconcerting but also in violation of basic human rights, including specific protections for women and children contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Please join CHRO in their demands to the Malaysian government to:

 

· Immediately release Tin Thluai and her children, Zung Thluai Men, age 1, Sonia Run Chin Par, age 3, Sui Dawt Par, age 9, and Lal Rin Mawi, age 13;

 

· Stop further arrests and detention of women and children in Malaysia;

 

· Allow UNHCR access to all potential refugees, particularly vulnerable women and children, under their custody;

 

· Ensure visitation rights for family members of immigration detainees are protected.

 

Your letters can make a difference. Please show your opposition to the abusive actions of the Malaysian Immigration Department. Be a voice for all refugees living in Malaysia. Direct your communications and concerns to:

 

Datuk Radzi Sheikh Ahmad

Minister of Home Affairs

Level 12, Block D1, Parcel D,

Federal Government Administrative Centre,

62546 Putrajaya

Tel: +60.38.886.8000

Fax: +60.38.889.1613

 

Tuan HJ. Wahid Bin MD Don, Director-General of Immigration Department

Director General Office

Immigration Department of Malaysia ,

Level 1-7 (Podium) Block 2G-4, Precint 2,

Federal Government Administration Centre,

62550 Putrajaya,

Tel: +60 3 8880 1000

Fax: +60 3 8880 1200′

 

Encik Che Baharom Bin Hamzah

 

Director of State Immigration

 

Kelantan State

 

Malaysia

 

Tel: +60.9.744.1644

 

Fax: +60.9.744.0200

 

 

 

Datuk Ishak Bin Haji Mohamed

 

Immigration Enforcement Director

 

Immigration Department of Malaysia

 

Tingkat 4, Blok 2G4, Precinct 2

 

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan

 

62550 Putra Jaya

 

Malaysia

 

Tel: +603.8880.1297

 

Fax: +603.8880.1310

 

E-mail: [email protected]

 

 

 

Chin Human Rights Organization

2930 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 200-36, Berkeley, California, US 94705

Tel: +1.510.332.0983

www.chro.org

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Amy Alexander

Regional Advocacy and Campaigns Officer

[email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel: +66.85.23.02.609

 

RELA BURNS DOWN REFUGEE SHELTERS IN MALAYSIA

 

25 January 2008

 

Putra Jaya, Malaysia: At least 75 Zomi refugees and asylum seekers originally from Chin State, Burma are now homeless and distraught after government-authorized forces in Malaysia burned down their jungle shelters earlier this week in Putra Jaya. This is the latest of many well-documented acts of abuse committed by the authorities against the refugee community in Malaysia.

 

The raid began around 7 am on 20 January when more than 30 RELA members violently stormed the make-shift campsite and burned it to the ground. The material possessions of the camp residents- plastic sheeting for shelter, pots and pans for cooking, donated articles of clothing and food rations, and Christian Bibles- were reduced to ashes. For a community already living on the margins of survival, the consequences are devastating.

 

“Nothing is left for any of them. Nobody knows what they should do, where they should go for shelter, how they can overcome this…They are left with nothing,” reported one Zomi Chin leader who recently visited the residents and their burned out campsite.

 

For years, the refugees and asylum seekers from Burma have taken shelter in the jungles surrounding Kuala Lumpur to escape the harassment and abuse by RELA security forces. Night-time neighborhood raids occur regularly in Kuala Lumpur’s urban areas. Although in hiding, the communities living in the jungle are not immune to such abuses. Over the course of four years, the camp in Putra Jaya had been raided three times by RELA.

 

According to the camp leader, “None of the raids in the past compare to this. We are empty-handed now. We lost everything- no cooking pots, no food, no clothes, no hope.”

 

The raid was conducted by Malaysia’s controversial RELA or the People’s Volunteer Corps, an untrained, volunteer civilian unit with security enforcement powers. RELA has come under increasing criticism by members of the international community and human rights organizations for reckless conduct and abusive actions during raids. Despite such criticism, RELA is slated to take over all of Malaysia’s immigration facilities during this next year. The transition of authority has already started in some facilities, raising concerns among the refugee community who fear the takeover will lead to increased abuses with greater impunity.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes in Chin State, Burma to escape severe ethnic and religious persecution committed by the military regime of Burma. They arrive in Malaysia in search of some sense of security. Currently, there are over 23,000 asylum seekers and refugees from Burma’s Chin State living in Malaysia. Instead of finding safety, they are the constant target of harassment, arrest, detention, and deportation by the Malaysian authorities. In addition, they are unable to work, receive an education, access healthcare services, or find acceptable living accommodations. With the UNHCR general registration process closed since July 2005, obtaining refugee status or any protective documents from the UNHCR is difficult. As a result, life for the refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia is full of abuses and uncertainties.

 

For more information, please visit Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) on the web at www.chro.org or contact Amy Alexander at [email protected] e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or +66.85.230.2609.

 

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To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles