A Chin refugee, Mr. Van Peng Lian, last Monday hung himself using an electric wire due to depression, reportedly resulting from facing difficulties in getting registered as a recognised refugee from Burma after going through a series of detentions and deportation in Malaysia and Thailand.
The 23-year-old was arrested last May in their rented house with 15 other Chins in a night raid by Malaysian RELA after coming to Malaysia as an unrecognised refugee since February 2008. Mr. Lian, along with other Chins, was deported to the Thai-Malaysian border after being detained at different locations including 5 days at KLIA Immigration camp, 3 months at Kajang Jail and 3 weeks at Semanyih Immigration Camp.
A Physics graduate from Kalay College, together with other Chin refugees, managed to get back to Malaysia after spending 3 nights reportedly under the agents’ control on the Thai-Malaysian border. He was said to have given once an anti-depression counselling at ACTS clinic in Malaysia.
He took his own life about a month after he got back to Malaysia from Thailand.
Van Peng Lian of Cin village, Hakha township, said he got deeply devastated and feeling despondent as he could not get registered with UNHCR even though he was a refugee from Burma, according to his friends. UNHCR did not make any visits to him during his four-month detention at Kajang Jail, sources claimed.
He is survived by his only sister Esther in Malaysia who is said to be ‘lonely and grief-stricken’.
In Malaysia, there have been four suicides committed by the Chin refugees only in 2008 due to depression after the UNHCR closed its refugee registration.
Van Biak Thang
05 November, 2008