UNHCR to Record Chin Asylum Seekers ahead of Major Crackdown in Malaysia
08 April 2012: The UNHCR is to collect a name list of asylum seekers from Burma stranded in Malaysia starting tomorrow ahead of a major crackdown expected to take place on 10 April 2012.
The new move to record details of Chin asylum seekers across Malaysia is aimed at protecting them in the event of possible arrest and detention by Malayisan authorities when they clamp down on undocumented workers in the country.
A newsletter by the Chin Refugee Committee (CRC) said the UNHCR will start recording details of Chin asylum seekers, not those who have been registered as refugees, adding: “This is not a registration to get a UNHCR card. We should not confuse it with getting registered as a refugee by the UNHCR.”
The programme called ‘Bio-Data Collecting Exercise’ will be conducted in partnership and collaboration with members of COBEM (Coalition Of Burma Ethnics, Malaysia) under the UNHCR’s supervision from 10 April till 31 May 2012.
CRC, a COBEM member, also informed the Chin asylum seekers of the need to give their names and details to its community-based delegates, adding: “We will not accept any individual names given directly to us as we have our delegates across the Chin communities in Malaysia.”
Formed in 2007 to response to the needs of the ethnic refugees and migrant communities from Burma living in Malaysia, COBEM is comprised of seven members including Kachin refugee committee (KRC), Organization of Karenni Development (OKD), Malaysia Karen Organization (MKO), Chin refugee committee (CRC) together with Alliance for Chin refugees(ACR), Mon refugee Organization (MRO), Arakan Refugee Relief Committee (ARRC), and Shan refugee Organization (SRO).
There are about 86,000 refugees coming from Burma out of an estimated total of 95,000 in Malaysia, of which over 45,000 are of Chin ethnicity.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang