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
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
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
Tel: +60 3 8880 1000
Fax: +60 3 8880 1200