55 Chin Refugees in Custody, 1 Missing in Malaysia
03 April 2012: About 55 Chin refugees including children and women arrested in two different locations after crossing the Thai-Malaysian border are still being held in detention centres in Malaysia.
The Malaysian police took into custody around 15 refugees fleeing from Chin State, Burma in Jitra town of Malaysia’s Kedah State bordering with Thailand on 24 March while another group of 37 Chin refugees were arrested separately in Alor Star, the capital of Kedah on 24 February 2012.
Ten children with three mothers are kept in a local childcare centre and the rest are put in jail in Alor Star, according to the Chin Refugee Committee (CRC), a community-based body that provides social services and works to protect Chin refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.
CRC member Patrick Sang Bawi Hnin told Chinland Guardian: “As of today, we have only got information about 20 out of 37 arrestees. Out of 20, four children are in childcare centre and sixteen are in Alor Star’s jail. We are really working hard on this issue.”
“CRC members just got back from a trip to Alor Star yesterday and we learned that it is beyond what we can do. So, we try to keep in touch with the UNHCR for help to get them released.”
Meanwhile, a UN-registered Chin refugee Pu Sui Peng, 43, has been missing since 8 March 2012 while going home at night from visiting friends at his previous flat in Pudu block of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“CRC tries to make awareness about Mr. Sui Peng as widely as possible and spread messages around among the Chin communities. But we haven’t got any information and responses,” Patrict Sang Bawi Hnin told Chinland Guardian.
Family members and relatives have made an appeal to the different Chin refugee communities for help in finding the Chin father. He is originally from Vomkua village in Thantlang Township, Chin State, who arrived in Malaysia in 2006.
Despite the political reforms in the heartland of Burma under the new government, Chin people, like Burma’s other ethnic nationalities, still face various forms of human rights abuse, compelling them to flee their native homeland.
It is estimated that there are about 100,000 Chin refugees stranded in India and more than 45,000 in Malaysia.
Van Biak Thang