Chin Activists Met Malaysian Cabinet Minister
By Salai Elaisa Vahnie – 31 March 2007: A team of Chin activists on Wednesday met with Tan Sri Bernard, a senior cabinet Minister at his office in the Malaysian administrative capital of Putrajaya. The advocacy team held a historic meeting with the Minister of Prime Minister’s Office as they try to highlight the plight of Chin refugees in and to update on political situations in Burma .
Representatives of Chin Human Rights Organization accompanied by Malaysia-based Chin Refugee Committee made appeals, on behalf of Chin and other ethnic refugee communities, to show sympathy to those coming to escape political turmoil in Burma .
“The Minister was receptive and was convinced that those from Burma are here due to intolerable conditions and political repression at home,” says Victor Biak Lian. “He assured us he will bring the issue to the Cabinet meeting on Thursday,” he says.
The team members included Victor Biak Lian (CHRO), Salai Za Uk Ling (CHRO) and Philemon Sang of Chin Refugee Committee. The historic meeting took place as Chins and other Burmese refugees in brace for worsening security problems as the Malaysian government launches a full-scale crackdown on “illegal immigrants” in the country.
“The meeting couldn’t have come at a better timing because security condition for refugees is probably at its worst now,” says Salai Za Uk Ling of CHRO who is also serving as Refugee Desk Coordinator for Malaysian human rights organization SUARAM.
In an unrelated incident, a dead body of a 7 old Chin refugee girl Delly who went missing from her parent’s home on 20th March was found by police. Her decomposed body was found under a bush with both hands severed from the wrists. The girl went missing one day before she and her family were to depart for the on a resettlement program.
“This tragedy underlies the kind of security problems being encountered by the Chin communities in on daily basis. Just in the last couple of weeks, several members of the Chin community have been assaulted and robbed by local thugs,” says Salai Za Uk Ling.