Malaysia Deports 80 Asylum Seekers
By Salai Za Uk Ling – December 28, 2006 – Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian authorities yesterday deported 80 asylum seekers who had been held in immigration detention since early October. The deportation is part of an ongoing effort by the government to rid “illegal aliens” of its soil.
The majority of deportees are ethnic Chins who came to Malaysia at various points in the last years to seek protection from UNHCR. They were taken from Semenyih detention center and transported in trucks and dumped them across Malaysia-Thia border.
A few of them managed to sneak back in overnight and arrived in Kuala Lumpur this morning. But for many, there is no guarantee they will not be re-arrested and detained again before they could approach UNHCR for registration of their asylum cases.
However, recognition by the UN refugee agency doesn’t necessarily guarantee against arrest and detention since Malaysian authorities have recently started arresting refugees under UNHCR protection.
Amidst rumors that immigration authorities will conduct another round-up before the New Year, deportees who managed to re-enter Malaysia this morning can only hope they will not be re-arrested. “The detention conditions were terrible. We were subjected to regular verbal abuse and poor nutrition. I can’t be back in there again,” says a former woman detainee who spent nearly three months in different detention centers.
The Chin Refugee Center is now assisting them with their immediate needs as well as facilitating the process of registration with UNHCR.
For more information please contact Chinland Guardian at +60-17374-5546