April 11, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Voicing for the Protection of Refugees
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) is shocked and deeply disappointed by news that Mr. Peter Hee Mang, a Burmese Chin refugee, has been held in deportation center in Malacca, Malaysia, for his peaceful demonstration of showing off a T-shirt depicting Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of pro-democracy in Burma, at the celebration of Myanma’s Armed Forces Day at Kualalumpur Burmese Embassy. The JAC strongly urges the Government of Malaysia not to send him back, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kualalumpur to give him legal status as Burma military junta is still harmful for him and to open access for other Chin refugees to the UNHCR person of concern status.
Reuters news in Kualalumpur on April 3 quoted Shinji Kubo, protection officer of the UNHCR, as saying “Peter Hee Mang had been moved to a detention camp where illegal immigrants ere usually held before deportation’. AFP on April 5 quoted Nasri Mokhtar, head of Malacca detention, as saying there is no request from UN officials to meet me and Peter Hee Mang and the deportation will be done”.
The JAC welcomed the Malaysian Rights group, Burma Solidarity Group, Altsean-Burma and other human rights activists’ call for the UNHCR in Kualalumpur to grant political asylum to Peter Hee Mang.
As a result of ethnic cleansing launched by the military junta in areas inhabited by the ethnic minority, many ethnic Chins from western Burma have been forced to flee to many counties. So far UNHCR in India, USA, Australia, Thailand, recognized them as refugees.
The last event of Chin refugees’ deportation from Mizoram State of India to Burmese military junta last August was a good example. The information we received reveals many deportees being taken by the Burmese army to hard labor camps and many awarded lengthy imprisonment. This shows that as long as the current military regime exists in Burma, the ethnic cleansing policy will exist and there is no guarantee of safety for those who are forcibly returned to the country. “If Mr. Peter H. Mang were deported to Burma, I am sure that he would face lifelong imprisonment” said Mr. Mang Lian, a lawyer and a candidate in 1990 general election who recently fled in to India.
Chin National League for Democracy (Exile)
Chin Human Rights Organization
Chin Students Union
Chin National Council
Chin Refugee Committee
Chin Women Organization