Monthly Archives: August 2009

Facts Implication of Inhumane Exercises in UNHCR-Malaysia


This report sent by Rohingya community in Malaysia. And pointing that ‘thanks for The Sail’s providing space for our reports’…………….

Saturday morning Aug 22, 2009, two Rohingya refugees were choked and suddenly laid down to the ground during their gathering for new data collection system in UNHCR. And both were lifted to Hospital by ambulance.

The accidents were happened from gathering of thousand of undocumented Rohingya refugees at outside of UNHCR as only Saturday morning is opened for them.  Most of them were marched before mid night and early dawn as their approaches to fulfill with certainty of registration.

 

New registration of Rohingya refugees is closed since early 2006, whilst the agency has continued mobile registration for non-Rohingyas under corporation of various communities. After flooded pressures from communities, following internationally related to new boat people, and Geneva consultation workshop, UNHCR itself had step finally to register Rohingya refugees. Likewise, ironic in UNHCR exercises 200 per daily registration and issuing registration letter for other VIP groups in St.Joseph Church, Sentul-KL, is started before two months from data collection of 20 undocumented Rohingya refugees per day on Saturday only but issuing nothing. However, why UNHCR collected data again is proving how the agency’s collaboration by denying over submission lists of data collection.

undocumented Rohingya refugees await  early dawn

undocumented Rohingya refugees waiting in early dawn at out side of St.Joseph Church, Sentul, KL

 

As per our studied, the agency has partially dealing only with its partner like the Rohingya Information Centre (RIC), a part splited group. But, the agency highlighted to support people as people supported refugees committee. Although the RIC’s occasionally corruptions proved in time of during Imm-13 process and new registration under ‘Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia’ (ABIM), UNHCR occasionally allowed again to RIC to pass daily 20 undocumented Rohingya refugees to UNHCR, regardless of argument  to open gate system new registration.

Usually, after 3 days of RIC’s corporation with UNHCR from 30th July 2009, filed with several cases of corruptions, the agency discontinued with the RIC. Rights based community and other groups had criticized over UNHCR’s staffs involving or UNHCR’s allowing such activities.

It caused UNHCR move open gate system registration in the same Church but started only data collection with limitation as 100 persons per day, since 11th Aug 2009. Because of unavoidable outbreaks occurred there on 13rd Aug 2009, stopped again there and moved finally to UNHCR. According to office policy, it was continued up to 29th Aug 2009.

 

The process of data collection and analysis may be following to one of a 10 point plan of action. However, it is remained as unworkable as the 10 point action was revised since Jan 2007 and again discussed in Geneva consultation workshop in the end of July 2009. Therefore, no identity is issued to them. Those results, at least ten were arrested during their way of back from UNHCR on 15 Aug 2009. Again, about 10 persons on 22 Aug 2009 and 20 persons on 23 Aug 2009, were arrested by Rela. But, no referral letter or intervention was made in remanded days. They would be linked to languish in punishment as they did not receive any kind of documentation issued by UNHCR.

photo of how they were...

photo of how they were...

 

 

some are waiting from outside

some are waiting from outside

 We are very confused to accept UNHCR’s way of practicing discrimination, therefore, let us focus about recent arrival of Rohingya boat people refugees in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Their arrival in those regions was reached to eight months but none of them received any documentation from their agency UNHCR. Why and what happen to UNHCR? If the process is not so quick, how non-Rohingya refugees were getting resettle in signatory countries within less than 9 months duration.

 

We Rohingya community hope to use Your liberty through advocacy and intervention to reinstall equal sharing and equal treatment as international agency UNHCR and its current policies might not be violates its instruments.

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Fighting Stops as Kokang Surrender Arms to Chinese


irrawaddy news, 29th Aug 2009

Fighting near the Sino-Burmese border came to an abrupt halt today after about 700 Kokang troops handed over their weapons to Chinese officials following days of clashes that sent thousands fleeing across the border.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese military analyst who is close to the Kokang, told The Irrawaddy on Saturday that at least 700 soldiers from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), an ethnic-Kokang militia, crossed the border into China today and surrendered their arms to local officials.

Kokang troops at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the MNDAA.

He added that troops from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), a much larger force allied to the Kokang, have been repositioned to Wa-controlled territory.

The Irrawaddy was unable to verify this information with other independent sources.

The sudden end to the fighting came a day after Kokang and UWSA troops ambushed a convoy of Burmese army vehicles in Kokang territory. According to unconfirmed reports, more than a dozen Burmese soldiers were killed in the attack.

On Thursday, a 20-year ceasefire between the Burmese army and the armed ethnic groups broke down after government forces moved to occupy Kokang territory. Since then, the Burmese army has sent reinforcements into the area from Light Infantry Divisions 33 and 99.

The crisis began on Monday, when tens of thousands of refugees, including Chinese businessmen, started flooding across the border into China from Laogai, a town in Kokang territory. Cross-border trade in Laogai has since come to a standstill and trading at other border checkpoints has decreased, say sources in the area.

The rapidly deteriorating situation caused consternation in Beijing, which has long had close relations with both sides in the conflict. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China hoped the Burmese junta would deal with the situation properly and ensure stability along the border and protect Chinese citizens in Burma.

“China is following the situation closely and has expressed concern to Myanmar [Burma],” said Jiang.

Some observers said that junta head Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s decision to send troops into Kokang territory despite China’s concerns showed his determination to demonstrate that he will not be constrained by Beijing.

“The Burmese junta doesn’t care what anybody thinks, so I don’t think the generals are thinking about China’s response,” said Chan Tun, a former Burmese ambassador to China.

But while Naypyidaw showed little concern about the consequences of renewed fighting in the area, Beijing couldn’t ignore the worsening situation, as Chinese living near the border expressed outrage at the Burmese military’s actions.
 
“I feel upset with the Burmese government. The Kokang people have Chinese blood. And in China, many people are so angry that they are urging the Chinese government to send troops to help the Kokang,” said a Chinese journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Although Beijing appears to have defused the potentially explosive situation for the time being, it remains to be seen if fighting will resume between the Burmese and the Wa, who command a much larger military force than the Kokang.

The current conflict stems from the refusal of ethnic ceasefire groups, including Kokang, Wa, Kachin and Shan militias, to transform themselves into border security forces under Burmese military command.

The 20,000-strong UWSA presents the greatest obstacle to Burmese ambitions to pacify the country’s borders after six decades of civil conflict. Although they were among the first ethnic groups to sign a ceasefire agreement with the current regime in 1989, they have also been the most resistant to any effort to weaken their hold over their territory.

In Rangoon, news of the clashes in the country’s north has revived memories of the insurgencies that wracked the region for decades.

“People here are talking about it at teashops. They are saying that this is the return of civil war,” said an editor of a private weekly journal in Rangoon.

Meanwhile, Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), called for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict in northern Burma.

“We want the junta to resolve the issue in a peaceful way with ethnic groups,” NLD spokesman Han Thar Myint told The Irrawaddy on Saturday. “The cause of the conflict is the Burmese regime’s failure to resolve problems in the country politically.”

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10,000 More Kokang Refugees Flee into China

28th Aug 2009, irrawaddy news,

Another wave of 10,000 Kokang civilians fled into China on Thursday and Friday due to continued clashes between the Burmese army and ethnic militias in the Kokang region of northeastern Burma, said sources on the Sino-Burmese border.

Kokang refugees cross the Chinese border into Nansan in Zhenkang County in Yunnan Province, China, on August 25. (Photo: Reuters)

Some 4,000 of the displaced villagers have not yet received food or shelter due to logistics, a relief worker in the area who requested anonymity told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

He said the newly arrived Kokang refugees are being divided into two shelters—one in Zheng Kang County and one in Gengma County where Chinese authorities are already providing humanitarian assistance to the more than 10,000 Kokangs who arrived within the last week.

He pointed out that many of the refugees are not sheltering in the camps because they can stay with their relatives on the Chinese side of the border.

Meanwhile, electricity and lines of communication have been cut in and around the Kokang capital, Laogai, said the relief worker. 

Saeng Juen, one of the editors of the Thailand-based Shan Herald Agency for News, said at least 30,000 fled into China on Thursday. The Irrawaddy could not independently confirm this report, however.  

A girl carries a baby on her back at a temporary housing area at Nansan after fleeing from the conflict in Kokang region. (Photo: Reuters)

A humanitarian NGO working in the region reported on Friday that refugees are still crossing the border into Yunnan Province and clashes between the Burmese army and the Kokang militia and its allies are ongoing.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese analyst on the Sino-Burmese border, said that major clashes have been reported in Chinshwehaw, a Kokang town south of Laogai, at about 11 a.m. On Friday.

He said that Chinese authorities would only allow Kokang-based Chinese nationals to cross into China and that some refugees were stopped at the border crossing.   

The Burmese army seized Laogai on Monday night without a single bullet being fired.

However, on Thursday morning a Burmese police patrol was ambushed by the Kokang army, and several clashes were later reported in and around Laogai between the Burmese army and an alliance of ethnic ceasefire groups: the Kokang militia, known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and its allies the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army—Eastern Shan State (NDAA).

The three insurgent groups are among 17 ethnic armies that have reportedly signed ceasefire agreements with the Burmese junta over the past 20 years.

Rohingya ‘won’t be deported’


MIGRATION, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/22407/rohingya-won-t-be-deported

Rohingya ‘won’t be deported’

Writer: ACHARA ASHAYAGACHAT
Published: 21/08/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

The Immigration Bureau has allowed visitors rare access to Rohingya immigrants transferred from Ranong.

Chalida Thacharoensak, of People’s Empowerment, a human rights group, greets Rohingya immigrants during her visit to a detention centre at the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok yesterday. The migrants have been relocated to the capital from Ranong following the deaths while in custody of two Rohingya people in the southern province. KOSOL NAKACHOL

The department also assured the immigrants they would not be thrown out of Thailand.

Immigration Bureau commissioner Chatchawal Suksomjit yesterday said the Rohingya would not be deported from Thailand, although the solution to the problem of illegal immigration rested with the governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Pol Lt Gen Chatchawal said a committee had been set up to investigate the deaths of two Rohingya during their detention in Ranong.

Doctors previously said they had died of natural causes.

More than 30 Rohingya people stood flabbergasted on the concrete grounds at the detention centre at Suan Phlu yesterday while photographers took their pictures and senior immigration police officers and media tried to talk to them.

Another group of Rohingya sat wearily in a nearby room waiting for a nurse to take care of them.

Chalida Thacharoensak, of the People’s Empowerment group, and activists and Rohingya representatives from the Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand were also given a chance to meet them after they were moved from the southern province on Tuesday.

Vachareeya Thanya-ananphol, a Jesuit Refugee Service nurse who tended to all the immigrants at the centre, said about 10 Rohingya needed food and medicine.

“They feel very tired. Their legs are powerless and they feel itchy,” Ms Vachareeya said.

Deputy Immigration Bureau chief Phitak Jarusombuti said the bureau would not reveal how long the Rohingya would be detained. He said they would get good care.

“The NGOs and the Rohingya from outside will also provide some humanitarian support,” Pol Maj Gen Phitak said.

Seventy-eight Rohingya landed off Thailand’s shores in January.

The centre now has 93 Rohingya, including nine who were arrested in February in Bangkok.

Fighting Breaks Out in Kokang Area, Burma


irrawaddy news, 27th Aug 2009

Several skirmishes broke out between the Burmese army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) on Thursday near the Kokang capital, Laogai, in northeast Shan State, as tension between Naypyidaw and the ethnic Kokang ceasefire group boiled over.

The MNDAA, led by Chairman Peng Jiasheng, was reportedly joined in a counteroffensive against the Burmese army by its military allies, National Democratic Alliance Army, also known as the Mong La group, and the United Wa State Army (UWSA).  

According to sources on the Sino-Burmese border, gunfire was exchanged between the Burmese army and the ethnic ceasefire groups at three different bases near the Kokang stronghold of Laogai for several hours on Thursday.


Enlarge Image
The red circle (see arrow) located southeast of Muse on the Sino-Burmese border is the location of tension between junta and Kokang troops. (Map created by Transnational Institute)

The sources said the Kokang troops and their allies took back one base from the Burmese army. No casualties were reported.

“The clashes occurred between the Burmese troops and the Kokang Battalion 7 near Laogai,” said Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese military analyst based on the Sino-Burmese border.

“As far as I know, the Kokang have taken back one of their bases,” he added.

Also on Thursday, gunfire broke out briefly in Yanlon, a town near Laogai, when a unit of MNDAA soldiers encircled a group of Burmese policemen who exchanged fire before escaping to the Chinese side of the border, according to sources on the Sino-Burmese border.

Aung Kyaw Zaw told The Irrawaddy that the Burmese police officers inadvertently shot at each other as they fled over the border.

Another source said that at least one Burmese police officer had died during the clash. 
 
“At least seven policemen fled into China. They were later sent back to the Burmese side by Chinese police,” he said. 

The skirmish came after about 1,000 soldiers of the Burmese armed forces, or Tatmadaw, seized the Kokang stronghold of Laogai without a shot being fired on Monday night.

Recent tensions had escalated leading up to the fall of Laogai with a drugs raid on the house of Peng Jiasheng, and a military build-up by the Burmese army in the area.

In recent weeks, an estimated 10,000 Kokang civilians have fled to the Chinese side of the border where they are being temporarily sheltered by Chinese authorities. 

MNDAA Chairman Peng Jiasheng, who abandoned his house in Laogai before the Burmese army entered the town, reportedly fled with his troops to the base of his closest ally, the UWSA, from where he released a statement on Thursday urging the Burmese regime to withdraw all its troops from Laogai and seek a peaceful solution to the conflict, said Aung Kyaw Zaw.

But tensions still remain high between the Burmese junta and the ethnic ceasefire groups in northeastern Burma as the Tatmadaw steps up its military maneuvers in the region, he said.

Analysts have said that after if they successfully oust the MNDAA from its stronghold, the Burmese regional military commanders will likely turn their focus to the other ceasefire groups.

“After the Burmese regime has control of the Kokang situation, it will make a move on the Mong La group,” said Saeng Juen, one of the editors of the Thailand-based Shan Herald Agency for News.
 
Instead of armed attacks though, the Burmese regime will likely explore alternative methods to break down the ceasefire groups, including the strongest insurgent army, the UWSA, said Saeng Juen.

About 700 Chinese troops have been deployed along the Sino-Burmese border for security reasons, he added.  

After the fall of Laogai, several defecting MNDAA leaders were appointed by the Burmese regime as the new Kokang leaders.

However, in his statement, Peng Jiasheng rejected the formation of a new Kokang leadership, saying the new leaders did not represent the Kokang people, said Aung Kyaw Zaw. 

Meanwhile, the Burmese authorities have released an arrest warrant for Peng Jiasheng and the commanders loyal to him. 

The MNDAA signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese military government in 1989.

Malaysian Arrested for Smuggling Burmese


Irrawaddy news, 21st Aug 2009,

KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian man faces up to 35 years in prison for smuggling 12 people from Myanmar, amid a crackdown on human trafficking by Malaysia after it was labeled one of the world’s worst offenders in a US report.

Sahaidi Salleh, a jobless man, pleaded guilty to trafficking nine adults and three children from Burma, said Mohamad Zaidi Che Morad, an immigration official in northern Kelantan state.

Sahaidi’s two sons, age 19 and 21, and their maid pleaded not guilty and are expected to face trial, he said.

Trafficking in children carries a minimum jail term of three years and maximum term of 20 years. Smuggling adults is punishable by up to 15 years in jail. It is up to the judge whether the sentences are run concurrently or not.

Sahaidi was jailed pending sentencing on September 15, Mohamad Zaidi said. The three others were also detained after failing to post bail of 11,000 ringgit ($3,100) each, he said.

The Burmese nationals were smuggled into the country across a river from neighboring Thailand, Mohamad Zaidi said.

The group, including five ethnic Rohingyas and two ethnic Chin, were seized from Sahaidi’s house in Kelantan on Aug. 9 and are now staying in a shelter. They will not be charged with entering Malaysia illegally because they are considered victims of human trafficking, Mohamad Zaidi said. The youngest child is 2.

Mohamad Zaidi said investigations revealed they paid up to 2,000 ringgit ($570) each for the journey from Burma to Malaysia. Saihaidi received up to 500 ringgit ($141) per person, he said.

“We’re still trying to investigate. It’s a wide connection … it’s transnational,” Mohamad Zaidi said, adding it was difficult to go after human traffickers in Thailand and Burma. He said the network also involved express bus operators in Malaysia who ferry the illegal migrants.

The United States is reviewing Malaysia’s efforts to fight human trafficking until October after giving it a low ranking in this year’s “Trafficking in Persons Report.”

Activists estimate that hundreds of thousands of people from Burma live illegally in Malaysia in addition to 140,000 legal Burmese migrant workers. The United Nations refugee agency recognizes 43,500 as refugees. Many are Chin and Rohingya, who face discrimination at home because of their ethnicity and religion.

Secret Norwegian Letter Blasts UN Chief


irrawaddy news, 20th Aug 2009

OSLO — Norway’s ambassador to the United Nations has accused Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a confidential letter of weak leadership, lack of charisma and angry outbursts, the Oslo newspaper Aftenposten newspaper reported.

The newspaper on Wednesday published what it said was a letter to Norway’s foreign ministry from Mona Juul.

“At a time when the UN and multilateral solutions to global crises are more needed than ever, Ban and the UN are notable by their absence,” the letter read.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offer flowers to the memorial altar for the former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung at a hospital on August 18, in Seoul, South Korea. Kim Dae-jung, a lifelong campaigner for democracy and inter-Korean peace, died at Seoul’s Severance Hospital Tuesday after a long battle with pneumonia and related complications, hospital officials and aides said. He was 85. (Photo: Getty Images)

Juul and her husband Terje Roed-Larsen—now a UN special envoy—had key roles in secretly brokering the now-failed 1993 Oslo peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Juul wrote that Ban showed “weak handling” of international challenges. She said he was a “passive observer” to Burma’s arrest of opposition leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and she blasted his slow reaction to the civil war in Sri Lanka.

Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marte Lerberg Kopstad refused comment on the authenticity of the letter. She referred reporters to Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere’s comment to Aftenposten that he had noted the matter, and that he saw Ban as “hard working” and a “good listener.”

Juul’s Norwegian-language letter was published halfway through Ban’s term as UN secretary-general. He is due on an official visit to Norway starting August 31.

She continued: “In other crisis areas, such as Darfur, Somalia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and not in the least the Congo, the secretary-general seems irresolute.”

“Ban routinely has angry outbursts that even levelheaded and experienced co-workers have trouble dealing with,” the letter said. Juul added that the mood among Ban’s staff is “very tense.”

A spokeswoman for Ban, Marie Okabe, said at UN headquarters in New York that his office would have no comment on the newspaper’s report Wednesday. She said Ban’s office was aware of the report but had not yet confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Okabe noted, however, that “preparations are still ongoing” for Ban’s trip to Norway’s Arctic polar ice rim between August 31 and September 2, which has not yet been formally announced.

Asked by reporters whether Ban’s trip might be canceled or affected in any way because of the letter’s criticisms, Okabe declined to speculate but did not rule anything out.

The trip to various scientific research stations and retreating glaciers is intended to draw attention to the earth’s warming as the UN prepares for a climate summit in September and tries to build momentum for a new global climate treaty in Copenhagen in December.

South Korean Ban became UN leader in January 2007. Roed-Larsen is his special envoy for implementation of a 2004 Security Council resolution on Syria and Lebanon.

Associated Press Writer John Heilprin at the United Nations contributed to this report.

Burmese Women Shot in the South, Thailand


irrawaddy news, 19th Aug 2009

A Burmese woman worker was killed and three women wounded in a shooting by unidentified assailants in Pattani Province in southern Thailand on Tuesday, according to local sources.
 
Moe Kyaw Thu, a 28-year-old Burmese worker in Pattani said the four women were shot at a construction site at noon.

The woman who died was shot in the heart. The three wounded were taken to Pattani Hospital, said the source. The four victims were from Tavoy in Tenasserim Division in southern Burma.

 “We are very afraid of working here,” Tun Shwe, a Burmese worker, said. “We have to be careful wherever we go because bombings are frequent.

“For the moment I feel safe enough because I am working at the construction site of the Thai military compound,” he said.

Htoo Chit, an executive director of Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development Committee (Burma) based in Phang Nga Province of southern Thailand, said migrants can easily apply for permits to work in Pattani Province, because there is a strong demand for migrant workers and the authorities don’t ask too many questions.

According to local sources, an estimated 30,000 Burmese migrants work in Pattani. Many work on construction sites and rubber plantations. A construction site worker can earn about 200 baht a day.

“It is difficult to find jobs in other places, so migrants are going to Pattani to work even though they know it is risky,” said Htoo Chit.

An ethnic Mon who works at a rubber plantation in Pattani said: “We can save a lot of money if we work here because plantation owners pay us more than in other places.

“We have to be wary of everyone,” he said. “Sometimes the police come and ask for money, and we have to pay them. Sometime road gangs come and we have to pay them too. Then there are the ordinary thieves who come to steal from us as well.”

Thai security officials said that at least three Burmese migrant workers were killed at construction sites in Thailand’s south before the latest shooting.

One Burmese worker was shot and killed on the road by suspected Islamist militants in Pattani in July. Pattani police believe the incident was related to the southern violence.

More than 3,700 people have been killed in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani since unrest erupted in January 2004.

Rebels have targeted both Buddhists and Muslims, with victims ranging from security forces to civilians such as teachers and plantation workers.

The region was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until predominantly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

 

Rohingya Teenagers Die in Thai Detention Camp


irrawaddy news, 18th Aug 2009,

Two young Rohingya migrants have died in the past three months in a detention camp in southern Thailand, the Bangkok English-language daily newspaper, The Nation, reported on Tuesday.

13 other inmates are in poor health, The Nation reported.

The Ranong camp, near Thailand’s southern border with Burma, is holding 55 Rohingya illegal migrants who were arrested on the Thai coast in January after they fled in open boats from Burma. Thai authorities allowed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to visit the camp in January and February but have not granted access since then.

Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh. (Photo: Reuters)

The two dead migrants were aged 19 and 15. An immigration officer, Pol Lt Col Nattarit Pinpak, told The Nation that they had refused food or drink for several days. They were depressed and homesick, the police officer said.

UNHCR regional spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that requests for access to the camp had not been granted.

“We have asked the Thai government many times for access there. We told the Thai government that we are ready to help them [the detained migrants]. We want to know what their protection needs are. But we are not getting access.”

Twenty nine Rohingyas who were also arrested in January were deported to Bangladesh after their documents showed they were Bangladesh citizens.

Despite extensive discussions with Thai immigration officials, Burma has refused to take back the remaining Rohingyas, saying they are not Burmese citizens.

Hundreds of Rohingyas, Muslim victims of discrimination and human rights abuses in Burma’s Arakan State, have been fleeing in open boats, hoping to reach Malaysia. Unknown numbers have drowned on the open sea, and international rights groups have accused the Thai navy of turning back boats that tried to land in Thailand. The Thai government has denied the charges.

Finardo Cabilao, Social Welfare Attache to Malaysia Found Dead — His Killing May be Linked to His Work Against Trafficking of Pinays, Say NGOs


Finardo Cabilao, Social Welfare Attache to Malaysia Found Dead — His Killing May be Linked to His Work Against Trafficking of Pinays, Say NGOs

9 August 2009
The killing of Finardo Cabilao, social welfare officer attached to the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is now being investigated by Malaysian police.
There are several sources of this news report but the article by Andrew Sagayam  of Sun Star entitled Philippine embassy employee found sprawled in a pool of blood appears to provide more details.
According to the Sun Star report, Cabilao “was believed to have been repeatedly assaulted and beaten with blunt objects by more than one attacker.”
Another Sun Star report says local NGOs suspect that Cabilao’s murder “could be linked to his work in assisting Filipino women who had been kept at various nightspots against their will.”

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PHOTO UPDATE
The group picture below is from the Philippine Embassy website in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A Hero’s Burial for Director Finardo G. Cabilao

Yesterday, August 18, 2009, the Philippines laid to rest Finardo G. Cabilao, an authentic Filipino hero, champion of trafficked Filipinas in Malaysia and faithful defender of our country’s honor.  His burial took place at around 3pm at the Manila Memorial Park.  

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Filipino Welfare Officer in Malaysia Found Dead

August 7, 2009 by DFA-PISU , http://dfa.gov.ph/?p=7547

PR-602-09, 7 August 2009 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the death of Finardo G. Cabilao, social welfare officer based in Malaysia since 2008.

The Embassy stated that Mr. Cabilao failed to report to work for two straight days, prompting Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Victoriano Lecaros to dispatch today the Embassy’s administrative officer to his residence and check on his condition.

The administrative officer and other staff members found Mr. Cabilao dead in his apartment.

Embassy officials immediately reported the incident to the DFA, the local police authorities, and the Malaysian Foreign Ministry.

Malaysian police authorities are now investigating the incident.

The DFA has informed the deceased officer’s mother unit, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which in turn notified Mr. Cabilao’s family of his death.

The Philippine Embassy, DFA, DSWD and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will extend full assistance to the family.

Following the incident, Ambassador Lecaros has instructed Embassy staff members to take security and safety measures. END

Burmese Migrants Stuck in Malaysia Detention Camps


17th Aug 2009, irrawaddy news

SEPANG, Malaysia — A growing number of immigrants from Burma are ending up stuck, often for months, in crowded detention centers in Malaysia designed to hold people for only a few weeks.

Almost 2,800 Burmese were detained at camps in July, more than double the 1,200 in January, partly because of a crackdown on human trafficking, a step-up in raids and a slow economy that leaves the migrants without jobs. People from Burma, a desperately poor country with a military junta, are now the biggest group among the 7,000 foreigners at detention centers in Malaysia.

Burmese detainees hold up their documents through a fence at the Lenggeng Immigration Center on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: AP)

At a center near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, some 120 men sat in neat rows on the floor. Many had their legs drawn to their chests, and all were barefoot. There was not enough space and not enough bedding.

“There is no soap for taking a shower, nothing. They don’t give us anything,” said Kyaw Zin Lin, 23, who said he fled to avoid being drafted into the Burma army. “Every day we eat the food just to survive. … They treat us like animals.”

“It’s very difficult to stay here,” said Aung Kuh The, a pale 26-year-old. “We have got a lot of problems. Some people, you know, we want to see the doctor but we don’t have the chance.”

One reason for the rise in detainees is a crackdown on trafficking. A report published in April by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations cited firsthand accounts of Burmese who said immigration officers turned them over to traffickers.

That practice has all but stopped, Burmese community leaders in Malaysia say.

Now, though, the Burmese are trapped in detention. The Burmese embassy often takes six months to register its citizens for deportation and charges them 620 ringgit ($180), much more than neighboring Indonesia. By contrast, detainees from other countries are typically deported within a week.

Calls to the Burmese embassy were repeatedly put on hold and then unanswered.

About half the Burmese—those fleeing persecution—may qualify for UN refugee status, but that process takes up to four months. The others are economic migrants. Some 140,000 Burmese work in Malaysia, but foreign workers who are laid off lose the right to stay.

Some Burmese have spent more than six months in crowded, dirty detention centers. One man, whose brother was in detention for four months, said he would rather be sold to traffickers from whom he could buy his freedom.

“I prefer to be trafficked,” said the man, who would only be identified by his nickname, Ryan, to protect his relatives in Burma. “I don’t mind paying 2,000 ringgit ($570).”

Five of Malaysia’s 13 detention centers are overcrowded; four of the five have large Burmese populations, according to the immigration department. Journalists from The Associated Press accompanied the human rights group Amnesty International on a rare visit recently to three detention centers just south of Kuala Lumpur, the country’s biggest city.

At the Lenggeng Detention Depot, 1,400 people are crammed into dormitories meant for 1,200. Of them about 300 are from Burma.

Hundreds of men jostle each other for room in the bare dormitories. One sleeps on a stone ledge in a bathroom. Each dormitory is fenced by wire mesh and barbed wire, giving detainees just a few meters (feet) of space for walking.

“The detention centers we saw fell short of international standards in many respects, as the immigration authorities themselves acknowledge,” said Michael Bochenek of Amnesty International. “It’s a facility of such size that infectious diseases are communicated readily.”

Saw Pho Tun, a refugee community leader, said some immigration officers have singled out Burmese detainees for rough treatment, beating them and not allowing them medical assistance. Immigration officials deny beating detainees and say everyone has access to medical care.

On July 1, detainees at another center flung their food trays and damaged some of the mesh fence.

Immigration officials blamed the riot on frustration about having to stay so long, but detainees say they rioted because they were afraid of abuse. 

Most of the blocks have now been shut for repairs, so more than 1,000 detainees—including 700 from Burma—were transferred to other already crowded centers.

In this photo taken Thursday, July 23, 2009, an immigration officer unlocks handcuffs from detainees at the Lenggeng Immigration center on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo:AP)

Abdul Rahman Othman, the director general of the Immigration Department, said he was taking steps to prevent his officers from being “entangled” in trafficking syndicates. He said officers would be rotated to different posts every three years and have a buddy system to supervise each other.

“Ninety-nine percent of us in immigration are good people,” he said, denying the problem is widespread.

Police arrested five officers on trafficking allegations last month. They say their investigations revealed immigration officials took Burmese immigrants to the Thai border and sold them for up to 600 ringgit ($170) to traffickers. The traffickers then told the migrants to pay 2,000 ringgit ($570) for their freedom, or they would be forced to work in the fishing industry, police said.

Burmese community leaders said women who failed to pay were sold into prostitution.

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