Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pakatan Rakyat states can provide safe haven to Burmese..Acehnese refugees, etc.

No human being is illegal - and our MEDIA and everyone must get this right. As such there can be no "Village of illegals".

To enter a country the law provides a legal means of entry -- and those that sneak-in through some other means have illegally entered the country.

A better term to use, is DOCUMENTED and UNDOCUMENTED... those who have illegally entered the country are the UNDOCUMENTED.

Now before you are allowed to leave a county through the legal doors, you would need a Passport or some other travel documents. To enter another country, like Malaysia, legally, you also need a passport.

Now, some people do not have "passports" - and they would not have been given passports by their home country even if they applied. Such will be the situation of those from Burma. Many from Burma are running away from possible arrest, detention, torture and death... they are refugees....and without this documentation, they also have to sneak into a country like Malaysia.

Let me just share with you something about what happened and is happening in Burma...

On 4 January 1948, the nation got its independence from the British and became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma.

A military coup de tat led by General Ne Win ended Democratic rule in 1962.

In 1988, General Saw Maung staged another coup d'├ętat against the Ne Win government and formed the State Law and Order Restoration Council(SLORC). In 1989, SLORC declared martial law.The military government finalized plans for People's Assembly elections on 31 May1989. SLORC changed the country's official name from the "Union of Burma" to the "Union of Myanmar" in 1989.

In May 1990, the SLORC military-government held free elections for the first time in almost 30 years.

The National League for Democracy(NLD), the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, won 392 out of a total 489 seats, but the election results were annulled by SLORC, which refused to step down.

In 1997, the State Law and Order Restoration Council was renamed the State Peace and Development Council(SPDC). Since 1992, General Than Shwe has led the SLORC and now the SPDC.

Now many of them Burmese who are here "illegally" are those that are trying to escape persecution and even death. They may be members of the Opposition parties, student groups, and others who have been 'blacklisted ' by the current Burmese 'government'. There are also the tribals - the Shan, the Chin, the Rohingya, the Kachins, etc that are also targets and some of these communities are also in a struggle for independence. Of course, the government of Burma is not going to issue passports to these people - who are also not fool enough to go and apply for one passport.

As part of that repression, the government of Burma also do not recognize some of these peoples as their citizens. With regard to some of the tribes, they too would not like to be identified as being Burmese citizens - as they are in a struggle for independence. Now, these would be them stateless persons.

Of course in Malaysia, we also have a lot of documented Burmese migrant workers as well - and for them, their problems are the same as the other migrant workers.

The number of Burmese undocumented persons in the country is said to be about 150,000. According to a report on April 2008, the United Nations High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR) has only managed to register 39,000 Refugees, out of which 25,000 are Burmese.[Reuters, 21/4/2008:- Myanmar detainees riot, set fire at Malaysian Camp"]

Until the UNHCR can get to them, many will have to just hide and hope that they will not be picked up by the Malaysian authorities and classified as just "undocumented migrants" - when they should actually be accorded refugee status.

It is very EVIL to raid their homes, arrest-detain them like these. Our authorities knows the situation of these Burmese. From the surveilance had been done for the past 2 years...., was it not obvious that these were not just "undocumented migrants"?

We have seen the BN government's position and behaviour about these Burmese migrants - and today, there are 5 States under the Pakatan Rakyat government. Maybe there should be a clear policy about this --

* Provide a safe haven for all Burmese undocumented migrants in the Pakatan Rakyat States (that means these migrants will not be subjected to any form of harassment, arrest, detention, deportation, etc by the Police, the Immigration, the RELA, etc whilst they are in the said States.) The State would also assist the UNHCR and/or other relevant bodies process and recognize these persons as Refugees.

* The Pakatan Rakyat states can also create the right of access to education to all persons in their State. Steps could also be made to ensure that children of undocumented migrants (not just the Burmese) have the opportunity to have access to pre-school, school education..

* The Pakatan Rakyat states can also create access to health care - without documentation, it is very difficult to get access to healthcare even in the government hospitals and clinics. In fact, that "high fee" that is being charged currently at all government healthcare facilities should be done away with..

Well, maybe not the Pakatan Rakyat states but also the BN states and the Federal Government can all be more HUMAN in our response to these LEGAL HUMAN BEINGS..

Sunday June 15, 2008 (Star Online)

Village of illegals exposed

By STEVEN DANIEL

KUALA LUMPUR: A community of illegal immigrants living in a forest near Taman Desa, Kepong, was uncovered by Immigration officers who arrested 48 people, mostly from Myanmar.

There were eight women among them aged between 20 and 37 years. City Immigration Department director Mohd Khamdee Khuzaini Tukiman said they were detained yesterday morning after two years of surveillance.

He said 66 people from four departments, including the Immigration Department, Rela, Civil Defence Force (JPA3) and National Registration Department took part in the operations.

In the 11.30am raid, the enforcement officers posed as construction engineers who trekked 15 minutes into the jungle before reaching the village.

Some of the immigrants were cooking and did not realise the impending raid.

But once they realised what was happening, most of them gave up without a struggle, though a few dashed into the nearby forests to avoid capture.

“They built make-shift shacks to live in, two kitchens to cook their meals and even a place of worship. A large water tank was also found nearby,” Mohd Khamdee said.

He said the village, believed to have been set up a year ago, housed immigrants who worked in nearby factories.

“We also received information from the public that on Saturdays up to 150 Myanmar nationals from nearby areas who would meet in the village to party,” Mohd Khamdee added.

Several objects, which could have been used as weapons, were also seized in the raid.

He said all of them had no documentation and would be sent to the Semenyih detention depot while waiting to be charged with violating Section 6 (3) of the Immigration Act.

He advised locals not to employ and protect illegal immigrants and urged them to call the respective state immigration departments if they had any information on illegal immigrants in their areas.

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