“Aspects From UNHCR-Malaysia Meeting With Refugees Representatives”

 UNHCR_Malaysia’s head of representative Mr.Allan Vernan had held a meeting with refugees representatives in Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maha Raja Lela, Kuala Lumur, on 13 Feb 2009. The meeting was started at 2:30 pm and ended at 4:30. There,The Sail researcher Theng’s interview with Mr.Habib, member of Rohingya Human Rights (MERHROM) ,
as follows;

Q    : Are Rohingyas migrants in Burma?
Ans : Arakan was separated region before Burmese emperor.  Even though Burma rulers denied to recognize Rohingyas as its ethnic, they are genuine ethnic from Arakan according to deep rooted in Arakan region since 7th Century AD.

Mostly violation faced by minorities, increased after the state religion recognized as Buddhism in 1960 and changed Rakhine state from Arakan Division in 1974 in order to install Rakhines’ independence.

Rohingyas’ genuine criteria in Burma, made them to host into neighbor foreign lands, where could be denied to practice International Customary Laws, or letting to become international concerns. Unfortunately, humanly confidential approaches is lacked and allegation as illegal migrants, were occurred.


Q   : How do you aspect on numbers of global concern refugees? Are you agree with UNHCR’s basic options for refugees as (1)repatriation, (2)local integration and (3)relocation to a few numbers but may take time?
Ans : I agreed with the numbers but the plights of Rohingya refugees is different compare to others. Since one and two options failed, the third option of relocation to signatory country must be met for Rohingya refugees. The time Rohingya refugees have spent more than decade. And require to access equal numbers in how a few, how many.


Q    : How many refugees in Malaysia had been resettled and registered with UNHCR in 2008?
Ans  : According to the thesis of our head of representative Mr. Allan Vernan, about 6,000 were resettled and about 17,000 were registered in 2008. But, the numbers of Rohingyas, is less than 100 in each process.


Q    : Is it true that you are holding another demonstration to UNHCR on 25th Feb 2009?
Ans  : Let me clarify that I am not holding that and it is by the supports of area based community heads. And it is a submission of memorandum due to lack of effective response and initiative reaction, but not demonstration.
But now, we have received a positive initiative by Mr. Allan. Therefore, needs more perspective dialogues in holding of trust building, but require to have initiative practices on daily or monthly basis.

Q    : How do you aspect on the release of UNHCR card holder refugees in the recent raid by Rela in Selayang?

Ans  : I had been experienced in ten years basis, therefore, I would like to say that it is the best practice in respecting refugees’ plight. But, installation of a proper legislation for refugees’ protection is important rather than releasing, arrests, detentions, deportation. As how long the country can allow by hosting illegals when there is no legislation for protection of refugees. The release of refugee detainees from the various detention centers and to stop deportation act, are more important in proactive.
Relating to this, the statement made by Secretary of Foreign Minister of Malaysia in Geneva UPR, was more close to have prosecution of refugees by adding crime act.


Q    : How do you think if Malaysia is going to sign in Refugees Conventions?
Ans  : It is depend by host government. Whereas, the reflection of benefits from CRC and CEDAW which signed in 1995 would be practiced first in deed.


Q    : Is it true that the rights of foreign workers is equal as local ?
Ans  : Pl, it is not concern to me.


Q    : Can you explain about medication and the goal of education for refugee children?
Ans  : UNHCR has well steps for medical treatment and basic education. Generally, refugee receives UNHCR’s letter to access medication, but refugee patient faces to settled medical fees, and delay to complete the course for demanding balance bill first.
For education of refugee children, running formal classes or sectors by UNHCR itself would be gained more benefits for both.


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