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 +188.8.131.5271.
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;