Tuesday, December 12, 2006

For the release of 16 asylum-seeking Myanmar

The Star
Saturday December 9, 2006

Detainees can go if they have homes

PUTRAJAYA: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and other
NGOs seeking the release of 16 asylum-seeking Myanmar
women and children from detention centres should
ensure the have a place to stay before they can be

Immigration Department director-general Datuk Wahid Md
Don said the department was willing to release the
women and children if claims of their status were

But there must be an assurance that those released
have a place to go to, he said.

“If they have no place to go, they will end up on the
streets again and our enforcement officers will
re-arrest them,” he said.

Wahid said his enforcement officers had no alternative
but to arrest everyone in a group if they were
suspected of being illegal immigrants.

“We do not want to arrest asylum seekers, but if they
are in a group where an operation is conducted on
illegal workers, we cannot release only the women
until we are sure who they are,” he told reporters.

Denying that the asylum seekers were placed in
prisons, Wahid said it was true that some detention
centres were getting full and there was a need for at
least another two in the Klang Valley to accommodate
the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.

He said some seeking refugee status were not genuine
cases, and that the status of the Myanmar women,
children and pregnant women was being investigated.


The Star,
Friday November 24, 2006

Home Ministry to investigate claims asylum-seekers not
treated properly


KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Affairs Ministry will
investigate allegations that asylum-seeking children,
mothers and pregnant women were living in poor
conditions at detention centres and prisons

Deputy Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said he also was not
aware of them being treated badly by authorities in
the centres, adding that the matter would have to be

He said foreign detainees who have no proper documents
to prove they were refugees would be considered
illegal immigrants and detained at the centres until
investigation of their case was completed.

Tan also said that they would have to be recognised by
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) as refugees before they could be accorded
rights as asylum seekers.

“Illegal immigrants are normally well taken care of
until their case has been investigated.

“If there are claims of otherwise, we need to
investigate first,” he told reporters after opening
the National Registration Department’s Quality Day on

Tan was commenting on five non-governmental
organisations’ allegations that the centres were
overcrowded, unhygienic and lacked medical facilities,
and inmates were subjected to abuse by the guards.

They presented a memorandum to the Immigration
Department on Thursday.

The NGOs, namely Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM),
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Tenaganita, National
Human Rights Society (HAKAM), and Amnesty
International Malaysia (AIM) pressed for the release
of the children, mothers and pregnant women, the
majority of whom were from Myanmar.

(The 16 pregnant women and children refugees were released on or about the 12/12/06)

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