Malaysia Deports over 40 Chin Asylum Seekers
By Salai Za Uk Ling – 6 April 2007 – Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia on Tuesday deported over 40 Chins along with many more refugees from Burma to the border of Thailand. Two deportees, both under 18, who managed to sneak back in on Wednesday said there were two loads of bus containing about 90 people deported from Semenyih camp. They said the majority of those deported to the Thai-Malaysia border consisted of Chins. Four Kachins were among the deportees. The rest are Burmans and Rohingyas as welll as other ethnic nationalities whom they couldn’t identify.
“The majority of people being detained at Semenyih camp are Chins and more people may be deported soon as the center is extremely overcrowded” said Kip Hlei Thang, one of the two deportees interviewed by Chinland Guardian this morning. Semenyih detention camp, located about one hour from Kuala Lumpur, is one of the most overcrowded detention facilities in Malaysia where conditions are reported to be harsh.
“Around 300 to 400 inmates are housed in a room of about 50 by 25 feet. We had to literally sleep right next to each other on the floor without any blankets or bedding,” said another deportee Than Bil.
The two deportees said that there are around 20 Chins who were recently whipped after being convicted of illegal entry to Malaysia. “We saw about 20 fellow Chins in our cell who were freshly whipped. They were in so much pain and unable to sleep on their backs and literally crying from pain,” they said. The two were arrested at Malaysian administrative capital of Putrajaya on March 4 while returning from their worksite.
In a separate incident, Chan Nawn (23) recently arrived back in Kuala Lumpur after having served as a slave laborer on a fishing boat for more than three years in Thailand. He was arrested in 2004 in Malaysia and deported to the Thai border where he was sold to Thai fishermen. “I tried working as a construction worker here in Malaysia for a week after I came back, but I couldn’t tolerate the itchiness of my skins when I sweat. I developed a skin rash from being splashed by sea waters while being on the fishing boat,” Chan Nawn explained.
According to Kuala Lumpur-based Chin Refugee Committee, there may be as many more than 800 Chin refugees being detained at various detention centers across Malaysia. The Committee has report the arrest of over 400 Chin refugees since the beginning of 2007.