Chin Refugees Arrested in Malaysian Crackdowns
21 November 2011: At least ten Chin refugees including women have been detained following a series of government-planned crackdowns on ‘undocumented’ foreign workers in Malaysia since last month.
The Chin refugees were arrested in different locations including Seremban, Ipoh, and Kepong of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, with only two being registered as refugees with the UNHCR, according to the Voice of Chin Refugees.
Six of them from Seremban City are known to have been sent to Lenggeng Immigration detention centre while a Chin man from Ipoh City is detained in Lengkap Immigration detention centre and other threes being put to a lockup in Serihatamas Jalan Duta Desa Immigration complex.
It is believed that Malaysian authorities will be in liaison with the UNHCR Office in Kuala Lumpur to see if the Chin detainees, among many, are refugees.
A member of the Chin Refugee Committee was quoted as saying that the detainees without the UNHCR registration card could face months of detention.
“With the immigration crackdown beginning, the Chin community fears for the displacement of thousands of family members still waiting in queue for registration from the office of the UNHCR.”
There are more than ten thousand Chin refugees, who have not been registered with the UNHCR, according to ACR (Alliance of Chin Refugees) and CRC (Chin Refugee Committee).
According to a report earlier this month, the Malaysian government had arrested nearly 200 undocumented workers and 5 employers in three states across the country since 20 October.
The Malaysian government made an official announcement in October that it plans to deploy hundreds of thousands of enforcement officers and volunteers in an attempt to sweep out ‘undocumented’ foreign workers.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang