Monthly Archives: October 2011

Burmese Army resorts to chemical weapons warfare against Kachin rebels


30 Oct 2011, source from http://www.dictatorwatch.org/CWUsebyBA.pdf

see at : Burmese Army resorts to chemical weapons warfare against Kachin rebels

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“Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act- Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers”


Media Statement – 28/10/2011 ( by 107 Groups)

We, the undersigned 107 organizations, groups and networks are disturbed that the Malaysian government has proceeded to table, and get it passed speedily on 6/10/2011 at the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representative) the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011 despite protests from workers, trade unions and civil society. The proposed changes to the Employment Act would be most detrimental to worker rights, trade unions and the existing just direct 2-party employment relationship between worker and end-user (the principal). Malaysia’s action goes contrary to justice. In many countries employers have been wrongly trying to avoid/disguise employment relationships by way of contracts/agreements and triangular relationships, and Malaysia rather than fighting against this negative trend is now trying to legalize it, hence showing itself to be anti-worker anti-unions.

We note also that the amendments would result in discrimination at the workplace, as many workers at a factory, plantation or any workplace would end up being no longer employees of the owner-operator of the said workplace, also referred to as the principal or end-user, but would remain employees of the supplier of workers, known as ‘contractor for labour’. Workers doing the same work at the factory, would be treated differently in terms of wages, work benefits and even rights by reason of the fact that their employers are different. This will also go against the Malaysian Federal Constitution that guarantees equality of persons. We advocate that all workers working at a factory or workplace are entitled to be treated equally in terms of wages, work benefits, rights, union rights, reliance on collective agreements and other entitlements.

The proposed amendment would also destroy direct employment relationships between owner-operator of workplaces, being the principal, and the workers that work there producing the product or providing the services from which these principals derive their profits. A just employment relationship dictates that all workers should be employees of the owner-operator employer not some other third party labour supplier, whether they be known as ‘contractor for labour’, outsourcing agent or by any other name. The relationship must be a direct relationship, to the exclusion of all third parties, between the employer who needs workers to do the work to produce the goods of their business for profits, and the workers directly who provide the necessary labour as required in exchange for fair wages and other benefits. The availability of short-term employment contracts is another reason why there is no need to legalize triangular or other employment relationships in Malaysia through the creation of the ‘contractor for labour’.

To fight for decent wages and rights, and to be able to negotiate and get better working conditions and other work benefits, workers at a workplace would generally come together collectively or as a union to be able to negotiate from a stronger position with employers, and this would result in agreements or ‘collective agreements’ between employers and workers (or their unions). If the amendments proposed become law, then many workers at the factory would effectively lose their rights to be able to form or be members of the trade union at the workplace, or the right to directly and effectively negotiate with the principal who effectively controls the work place, working conditions and benefits.

If the proposed amendment becomes law, effectively it will also weaken existing workers and unions, by reducing their negotiating power for now when a strike or a protest in called, there will be other workers of other third party employers who will continue to work normally thus making worker struggle for better rights almost impossible. This proposed amendment is a ‘union busting’ exercises and allows employers to utilize ‘divide and rule’ tactics to counter legitimate demands of their workers and avoid employer obligations and responsibilities. Another unjustifiable proposed changed is the delay of payment of overtime and work on rest days by a month.

With regard to sexual harassment, the new provision provides only for inquiry by employer even when the alleged perpetrator is a member of the management, a partner, shareholder and/or director of the employer’s business, and provides no clear right of appeal to the Labour Courts or the High Court. Note that other worker rights violations are currently all dealt with by the definitely more independent Labour Department or Industrial Relations Department. Remedy for the victim of sexual harassment is also absent, save maybe the right to resign without the need to give the required notice when the perpetrator is a sole proprietor.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), which represents over 800,000 workers of member unions, who is also is the accepted workers representative in Malaysia, picketed calling for the withdrawal of the amendments on 3/10/2011, and apparently despite the Minister assuring them that the amendment will only be tabled at the end of the month, was suddenly rushed and passed at the Lower House of Malaysia’s Parliament on 6/10/2011.

Malaysia has the Private Employment Agencies Act 1971, whereby these agencies rightfully get workers for employers, who then pay them a fee for the service, and once workers are received by the employer, these workers immediately become employees of the said employer. The amendments will creates a new kind of labour supply companies who will continue as employers of the workers even after they start working at the workplace of the principal, and this is unacceptable. All companies in the business of finding workers for companies that need workers to produce their products or for their business must be private employment agencies, and must never assume or retain the role of employers.

As the said Bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and receive royal assent, before it becomes law, we call on the Malaysian government to act in the best interest of workers and their unions and immediately withdraw this unjust proposed amendments to Employment Act 1955.

We call on Malaysia to immediately discontinue its policy of recognizing outsourcing agents, and act immediately against practices of some employers and outsourcing agents that try to avoid/disguise employment relationships to the detriment of workers and unions.

We call on countries and regional bodies, companies, ILO, trade unions and persons to do the needful to ensure that worker and union rights, not just of local but also migrant workers, are protected in Malaysia, and that the employment relationship continue to be between owner-operator end user employers who actually need workers to do work and the workers that work there to the exclusion of any third party labour suppliers or ‘contractors for labour’.

Charles Hector / Pranom Somwong (For and on behalf of the 107 Organisations listed below:-)

Abra Migrant Workers Welfare Association – Hong Kong (AMWWA)

Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society – Hong Kong (ATIS-HK)

ALIRAN, Malaysia

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Malaysia

Asian Migrants Center (AMC), Hong Kong

Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Hong Kong

Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body – Hong Kong (AMCB)

Association for Community Development-ACD, Bangladesh

Association of Concerned Filipinos in Hong Kong (ACFIL-HK)

Association of Indonesia Migrant Workers in Indonesia (ATKI-Indonesia)

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

BAYAN Hong Kong

Building and Wood Worker’s International (BWI) Asia Pacific

Burma Campaign, Malaysia

Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)

Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)

Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW)

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR)

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC)

Coordination of Action Research on Aids and Mobility (CARAM-ASIA)

Committee for Asian Women (CAW)

Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia

Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), Hyderabad, India

Cordillera Alliance Hong Kong (CORALL-HK)

Democratic Party For A New Society (DPNS), Burma

Dignity International, Malaysia

Education and Research Association for Consumers Malaysia (ERA Consumer Malaysia)

Filipino Friends Hong Kong (FFHK)

Filipino Migrants Association – Hong Kong (FMA)

Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union – Hong Kong (FMWU)

Filipino Women Migrant Workers Association – Hong Kong (FILWOM-HK)

Foundation for Women, Thailand

Friends of Bethune House (FBH), Hong Kong

GABRIELA Hong Kong

GABRIELA Philippines

Good Shepherd Sisters, Malaysia

Hyderabad, India

Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), Malaysia

Housing Rights Task Force, Cambodia

Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB)

Human Security Alliance (HSA)

International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF)

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

INFID (International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development )

Institute for National and Democratic Studies (INDIES)

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Indonesia

JERIT, Malaysia

Karmojibi Nari , Bangladesh

Kalyanamitra, Indonesia

Kav La’Oved , Israel

Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center

Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilu (Independent Committee for Election Monitoring), Indonesia

Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Cambodia

LLG Cultural Development Centre, Malaysia

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)

Malaysian Election Observers Network (MEO-Net)

MakeItfair

MAP Foundation, Thailand

Maquila Solidarity Network, Canada

May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, NY-USA

Migrant CARE, Indonesia

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

Migrant Trade Union, Korea (MTU)

Migrante International

National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders, Nepal

Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)

National League For Democracy (Liberated Area )[ NLD(LA)], Malaysia

Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO)

Peduli Buruh Migran, Indonesia

Penang Watch, Malaysia

People’s Green Coalition

Pergerakan Indonesia

Perkumpulan PRAXIS, Indonesia

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (EMPOWER)

Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

Pinatud a Saleng ti Umili (PSU)

Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia

Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

Sedane Labour Resource Center/(Lembaga Informasi Perburuhan Sedane), Indonesia

Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI)

Shan Women Action Network (SWAN), Thailand

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights), Indonesia

SOS(Save Ourselves), Malaysia

Suaram, Malaysia

Tenaganita, Malaysia

Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR)

The Filipino Women’s Organization in Quebec, Canada

The Good Electronics Network

Think Centre (Singapore)

UNIMIG (Union Migrant Indonesia)

United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)

United Pangasinan in Hong Kong (UPHK)

Urban Community Mission (UCM Jakarta), Indonesia

Vietnam Committee on Human Rights

WARBE Development Foundation, Bangladesh

Women Forum for Women, Nepal

Women Legal BUREAU, Philippines

WOREC, Nepal

Workers Assistance Center, Inc (WAC), Philippines

Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)

Yasanti

Yayasan LINTAS NUSA (Batam Indonesia)

M’sia and Myanmar sign exchange detainees deal


source from the Sunday Daily,  18 Oct 2011

Hishammuddin (left) greets U Maung Myint during the latter’s working visit to Malaysia, at the Parliament house today. BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 17, 2011): Malaysia and Myanmar have agreed in principle to exchange detainees, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced today, sparking concern among human rights groups.

He said the exchange will help reduce congestion at immigration depots nationwide.

“There are about 1,000 Myanmar nationals detained at immigration depots for various immigration related offences,” he told a news conference after meeting Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister U Maung Myint who is on a three-day working visit.

However, the number of Malaysians detained in Myanmar was not made known.

Hishammuddin said about 257,000 Myanmar nationals had been biometrically registered under the government’s 6P amnesty programme for immigrants.

This proposal comes on the heels of the abandoned Malaysia-Australia agreement in July to swap asylum-seekers for refugees.

Under that deal, which was criticised by rights groups, Australia agreed to accept 4,800 UN-approved refugees in exchange for Malaysia hosting 800 asylum-seekers while their applications were being processed.

However, Australian Prime MinisterJulia Gillard ditched the deal last week for fear of not being able to get the law through parliament where she has a one-seat majority.

The idea to send back Myanmar nationals has raised concern among NGOs which said it would breach human rights as many Myanmars fled their country to escape persecution.

Migrant Care Malaysia director Alex Ong told theSun the situation of the Myanmar nationals was different from that of Indonesians and Bangladeshis.

“The Indonesians and Bangladeshis mostly come to Malaysia as economic migrants, meaning they are seeking wealth and a better life.

“The majority of Myanmar detainees, however, are seeking political asylum, and are not here for economic reasons. We also have to consider their refugee status,” he said.

Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez, when told of the proposal, expressed shock that such an exchange could take place.

“It is worrying because many of them are actually refugees, but because Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and does not recognise anyone as refugees, they are treated as undocumented migrants,” she said.

Earlier, Hishammuddin said besides helping to reduce congestion at detention depots, the swap will foster closer cooperation between Myanmar and Malaysia in tackling cross-border crimes.

“Malaysia and Myanmar have agreed to set up a joint working committee that will enhance efforts to monitor the movement of migrants between the two countries.

“The committee is expected to be set up by next week,” he said, adding that details on the exchange programme will be revealed after its first meeting.

He said the government had also arrived at similar commitments with Indonesia and Bangladesh which were the top two source countries for migrant workers to Malaysia.

U Maung Myint said arrangements will soon be made to send Myanmar nationals detained at depots back to Myanmar.

On the 6P programme, he said while the move to provide amnesty was welcomed, he had requested for an extension of the registration period, which had ended on Aug 31, for Myanmar workers.

The 6P programme is now in the legalisation and enforcement phase which involves the deployment of four million officers from the immigration, police, army and Rela nationwide to act against errant employers and migrant workers.

US Urges End to Abuses of Burma’s Minorities


source from Irrawaddy news, 18 Oct 2011

WASHINGTON— The United States sees encouraging new signs of openness in isolated Burma but says that after decades of military rule, the Asian country has a way to go before it loses its pariah status and tough sanctions are lifted.

Special envoy to Burma Derek Mitchell said Monday there seems to be a trend toward greater openness but questions remain about its commitment to democratic reform.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, held elections last year which although flawed, were its first since democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi swept a 1990 vote and was barred from taking power.

In late September, the government stopped work on a controversial China-backed dam, saying the $3.6 billion project was “against the will of the people.” And last week, authorities freed as many as 250 of the country’s more than 2,000 political detainees.

Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, left, sees off Derek Mitchell, right, US special representative to Burma, after their meeting at her home on Sept. 12, 2011, in Rangoon. (Photo: AP)

Mitchell welcomed the government’s recent moves as encouraging and said his September visit yielded productive meetings with Burmese officials, traditionally viewed as xenophobic. He said they were willing to discuss anything he raised.

“Right now I think there are a lot of restrictions that make them into a pariah state. And Burma is a proud country with a tremendous history, and they deserve to come out of the shadows and take their prideful place in the region,” Mitchell told a news conference in Washington.

Burma, a former breadbasket of Southeast Asia, has suffered not just repressive government but poor economic management during nearly 50 years of military rule. It is subject to wide-ranging trade, economic and political sanctions from the U.S. and other Western nations, enforced in response to brutal crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters that left hundreds, maybe thousands dead in 1988 and again in 2007, and its refusal to hand power to Suu Kyi’s party after the 1990 elections.

But sanctions and isolation have failed to force change, and only served to complicate U.S. engagement with the economically vibrant Southeast Asian region, as Washington looks to deepen its existing alliances and forge new ones to counter China’s rise.

The Obama administration has sought to engage Burma, and after two years, there are signs of change, although whether that is in response to U.S. Overtures is difficult to tell. Burma is also vying to assume the rotating chair of the Association of South Asian Nations in 2014 and may be trying to impress ASEAN leaders before they meet at a November summit when the decision could be made.

When it comes to rewarding Burma for reforms, Washington is likely to have tougher criteria than ASEAN, and it is likely to proceed in an incremental manner.

Mitchell would not give specifics about what those steps might be. David Steinberg, a Myanmar expert at Washington’s Georgetown University, said a first move could be to allow the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to help Burma.

The U.S. has already made some positive gestures, such as easing travel restrictions that enabled Burma’s foreign minister to visit the State Department in Washington last month.

For more tangible concessions, a key test will be action on political prisoners. Mitchell urged releases of all such detainees, including 1988-era student protest leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, and a monk at the forefront of the 2007 protests, Gambiri.

Mitchell also said the government has not made comparable progress in its relations with ethnic minorities in the north and east of Burma as it has with the democratic opposition, with whose leader Suu Kyi it has held high-level talks. He noted credible reports of continued human rights abuses, including against minority women and children.

“We made it very clear that we could not have a transformed relationship as long as these abuses and credible reports of abuses occur,” he said.

Burma is an ethnically diverse nation, and most of the minorities have taken up arms at some point against the government dominated by the military and the ethnic Burman majority. Legions of villagers have been displaced by brutal military campaigns, and this year has seen violence flare in the Kachin and Shan states against ethnic armies that had reached cease-fires with the Burmese regime.

Steinberg said the U.S. would also be looking to see a further decrease in media censorship and the legalization of Suu Kyi’s political party which was outlawed for boycotting the 2010 elections as unfair.

From Burma to barra


source from NT news, 17 Oct 2011

Abdul Mutalib loves fishing for barramundi in the Top End. Picture: KATRINA BRIDGEFORD

HE spends his working hours packing iced coffee at the local Parmalat factory, and in his spare time he enjoys fishing.

He’s strong, determined and a hard worker. And he came here on a boat. Abdul Mutalib’s claim for asylum was processed last year and the 34-year-old now lives in suburban Darwin.

But how he got here is quite a tale. As a Burmese Rohingya, life was never very easy for Abdul.

According to Amnesty International, the Rohingya people suffer from systematic persecution, including forced labour, forced eviction, land confiscation and restrictions on freedom of movement.

The Burmese authorities refuse to grant them citizenship because they are Rohingya, rendering them stateless. “They will kill us if they send us back to Burma,” Abdul says. Many years ago his family’s farm was taken by the government and all male family members, including Abdul, were forced into labour. “I was helping to make roads. If you don’t work hard they will kill you,” he says.

Life was tough, but it was about to get tougher when Abdul went to live with his grandfather in Burma’s Rakhine State and the government began accusing him of being involved in politics. “The government thinks I hid my grandfather because he is political,” he explains.

Abdul still has the scars from where he was tortured by police. The constant threats on his life led him to the first of three frightening boat rides. He was only 19. Abdul went to Malaysia seeking safety. Instead he spent 11 years being bribed, beaten, imprisoned and working illegally.

He discovered his mistreatment in Burma extended to neighbouring countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where Rohingyas can be refused access to refugee determination procedures.

Once in Malaysia, Abdul was stuck. He could not legally work, was stateless so he could not be sent back to Burma, and was denied proper access to UNHCR – the only way he could be processed as a refugee.

He spent his nights hiding in the jungle and his days finding illegal work on construction sites. Often he was pulled up by police, and twice this landed him in detention centres, but he says most of the time the officers just wanted money from him.

He spent time in the infamous Penang detention centre, Juru. “It was a very troubled life there. You cannot sleep day and night. There are mosquitoes and bed bugs. We had no clothes. No privacy for the toilet.”

When asked how he felt about the Australian Government’s proposal to send asylum seekers to Malaysia, Abdul looks shocked. “It is not safe there for refugees. They do not help people, for Malaysia they take your money only.”

He points around the lounge room where we sit – it’s about 6m by 3m. “There would be 50 people in a room this size (at Juru), at night you cannot sleep because there is no room, so we just sit. Then guards come and yell at us to sleep and beat us even though there is no room for us to lie down.”

Abdul never had any documents. He was not entitled to a birth certificate as the Burmese Government does not recognise Rohingyas as citizens of Burma. When he escaped to Malaysia, UNHCR gave him an ID card, which was later taken from him by police.

In all his time in Malaysia, Abdul said he never saw any Burmese Rohingya people processed as refugees, one of the reasons he took things into his own hands. “My life was finished if I stayed there, but if I left I could make a good life.”

Four years ago he boarded a boat with some fishermen to go to Indonesia. He was captured by Indonesian police and lived a difficult life in detention there for two years. “It was a very troubled time for me,” he says.

After two years he was released, but conditions were poor. He was not allowed to work and faced persecution for being Rohingya, so after a month he negotiated his way on to a small boat crammed with 15 people that was bound for Australia.

The smuggler he found asked him for $2000, but his life savings from working in construction in Malaysia for 11 years amounted to $1000. He managed to bargain him down on the price. “I worked hard in Malaysia and did not spend too much. I get 23 ringgit a day (about $7),” he says. “Many, many policemen take from me.”

It took six days and six nights, and eventually his boat was brought in by Australian customs. He says turning boats around is not safe. “They will fall apart and people will die.”

On his own journey Abdul woke one morning to discover large seas had broken off parts of his boat. Abdul says when he left Burma – and even when he left Malaysia – Australia was not in his sights. At those times all he could think about was his safety. The first time he ever heard of Australia was in an eatery in Malaysia.

“Sometimes I would see Australian television programs. I saw on one program how good life was for animals in Australia and I thought, for humans, how good must it be?” he says.

Abdul did a stint at the Christmas Island detention centre, before being taken to Darwin’s Northern Immigration Detention Centre.

He says the conditions here were difficult for many people who were there for long periods of time. He said he’d seen men harm themselves and attempt suicide.

“Many people there are thinking about their family. Many people are hanging (themselves). “When I go to sleep at night I think about my life and I am troubled. “I am 34 and I still don’t know how life should be for humans.” But he’s learning.

Abdul was given his freedom on August 18, 2010 – and he’s made the most of it. Abdul had studied some English at school, but had not had the opportunity to practice it until he came to Australia, so he took language lessons while he looked for work.

“The Australian Government is good to help us to find a job and to study English,” he says.

For the first two months after his release, he received Centrelink benefits, but for almost a year now he’s been earning a crust at the Parmalat factory, where he works 38 hours a week on a casual basis, packing iced coffee. Abdul sends money home when he can. Often he is unable to do so which means his family just doesn’t eat.

I ask if he’s receiving any Centrelink payments or financial assistance now. “No! I don’t want money for free. I can work,” he says. “If I don’t take money from government, they can spend it on other people.”

His mate Mohammed was released from detention four months ago and now lives nearby with several other Burmese Rohingyas. Abdul is an inspiration for them as they attend job interviews and adjust to freedom. “When I came here I didn’t have any friends or any money. Now I like living in Darwin.

“I caught big barramundi at Buffalo Creek. “I like my work at Parmalat. I want to work hard, build a home and buy a car.”

FRC highlights the current situation of Rohingya people at Senator Office in New York City


By James,

Free Rohingya Campaign (FRC) had an opportunity to brief at U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand office in New York.

Julina Guo (Constituent liaison, Senate Office)‐ Michael Eatroff (C.L & Foreign Affairs , State Dept),Nay San Oo , Su Su Lwin

City, USA on October 6, 2011 to bring attention to the U.S Government, where Rohingyas have been brutally discrimination by Burmese Regime and current situation of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
Mr. Nay San Oo, Co‐founder of FRC and Mrs. Su Su Lwin, a member of FRC are brief about the Rohingya have been invariably subjected to criminal atrocities, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, relentless taxation, humiliating restriction on their freedom of movement and residence within the state, prohibition of their right to marry and to found a family, restriction of their right to education, right to work and to get access to food and other essentials including medical care Inside Arakan , Burma. Due to above reasons toward Rohingyas have to move out from Burma to the various countries.

FRC point out in the PowerPoint presentation, Under the Burma 1982 Citizenship Law, Rohingya are evidently being refused citizenship, as the ethnic group is not recognized under by law. This law is grossly discriminatory against the Rohingya made them stateless.

FRC urged to the U.S Government to put necessary pressure to amend the 1982 citizenship law to make sure it comply with basic human right and citizenship right . FRC also urged to US Senate to pressure to the Bangladesh government to give proper protection to the Rohingya refugees, and improve law and order situation in the refugee camps and surrounding area; to recognize all Rohingya asylum seekers in Bangladesh as refugees, and provide them with basic relief such as food, shelter and healthcare in cooperation with the UNHCR and international communities.

A Boat of Rohingyan Burmeses Landed in Malaysia


source from the star newspaper, 7 Oct 2011

Deepening woes for illegals

BALIK PULAU: It was either sink or swim for more than 100 hungry Myanmar nationals who had to leave their boat 500m from the shore after 10 days at sea.

The group, believed to comprise as many as 115 men, jumped into the sea at around 3am yesterday, clutching their meagre belongings along with pails, broken life preservers and whatever floating devices that were available.

All were believed to have reached the shore at Pasir Panjang beach here except for five who could not make the full distance and had stopped at the tiny Betong Island about 300m offshore.

Their attempt at entering the country illegally, however, came to naught when local residents tipped off the police, who launched an operation to round them up.

Famished: Supt Mohd Hatta (left) passing out packets of rice to the detained Myanmar nationals at the district police headquarters in Balik Pulau yesterday.

Police caught 81 of them, including the five on the island, between 8am and 5pm yesterday but believed more could have escaped. The Myanmar were aged between 19 and 30.

Balik Pulau OCPD Supt Mohd Hatta Mohd Zain said the men were very weary after not having any food for three to five days.

“We gave them bread and mineral water but some were too weak to even break the seals of the water bottles.

“They are suspected to have come here to find jobs,” he said.

He added that police were confident that all the illegal immigrants had made it to shore.

Supt Mohd Hatta also said marine police detained a large fishing boat some 28 to 30 nautical miles from shore with 14 more Myanmar nationals on board.

The larger boat is believed to have brought in the illegals but its captain did not want to bring the vessel ashore.

Supt Mohd Hatta said police also detained two Myanmar nationals who were working in the country and held United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees cards.

He said they were allegedly waiting for their relatives on the shore.

Many of the illegals broke into tears at the district police headquarters here when packets of rice were handed out around noon.

Anowar Hossain, 23, who was living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh prior to making the trip here, said he paid 10,000 Bangladeshi Taka (RM405) to a man who promised to bring him to Malaysia.

“Conditions were very difficult at the refugee camp so we tried to come to Malaysia. We had food for seven days on the boat but after that we ran out,” said Anowar.

Some 50 police and Rela personnel along with two canine units were involved in the operation to catch the illegals.

3 Rejected Burmese Refugees in Australian Detention Seek for Humanitarian Nation’s Help


By Thomas,

Australian Security Intelligence Organization-ASIO rejected 3 Burmese refugees who have been detaining up to two years, request resettlement countries to help them out from indefinite detention.

Meanwhile, now they don’t know how long they have to suffer again in this condition and what kind of solution will be placed for them. They are very worry for they would be languished again in this unscrupulous circumstances. They left no more trust over the immigration’s processes which took two years for an uncertain outcome from 90 days proper process. They also seriously concerned for they are blended as risked persons by inconsistent security checking system.

Mufis(first) and Razamya(second) from left

They are members of the world most persecuted Rohingya minority of western Burma, Arakan state. And their details are;

Shoef

1)Shoef (Boat ID:VAU-2, now in Villawood detention of Sydney), who landed with 6 other Rohingyans and a Bangladeshi in Sept 2009. He is the first Burmese rejected twice by ASIO. His first rejection was in Nov 2010 and second rejection was on 28 Sept 2011 after immigration proposed him to reapply even though security assessment failed person is not allowed for re-appeal by Law.

2)Razamya(Boat ID: SEA-10, now in Villawood detention of Sydney), who landed with 11 other Rohingyans and 2 Bangladeshis in Nov 2009. His rejection was informed verbally on 22 Sept 2011 and said he could contact with IOM for return to Burma. But on 28 Sept 2011, he received official informing letter.

3)Mufis(Boat ID:SEA-3, now in Meribyrnong detention of Melbourne), who landed with the same boat of second person. He received rejection on 26 Sept 2011.

Their case manager said that immigration could able to process for transfer to another third country if they can find a third country by themselves where could national identity holder their relatives residing and they have to arrange complete management through embassy. Also said no guarantee and no time frame for the process.
Immigration also confirmed them decisively that the alternative detention option like community detention would not be available for their status and they have to wait in detention.

Despite the reason of rejection was not clearly informed to them, the official rejection letter stated the rejection was under section(4) of Australian Security Act-1979 and they have to choose another third country. They have been found to be refugee by Department of Immigration and Citizenship of Australia-DIAC since March of 2010 but ASIO gave rejection for their security clearances after languished in inappropriate length of detention. It means they are threat for Australia.

There is no Rohingyan posts threat for Burma or other, except they are terrorized by military. Ethnic armed groups in Burma are also protecting their people and lands while the world body failed to prevent from military’s on going war crimes.
Therefore they would like to approach from all resettlement countries particularly United States of America to take their cases and concern quarters including UNHCR, Amnesty International, Refugees International, Refugees Council and Refugee advocacy groups to came together for assistances.

It is being the case, United States of America to re-dialogue its asylum transfer deal with Australia which made in previous years because there are dozens of innocent refugees are languished in similar circumstances.

Mr Abul who live in Sydney and has good contact with ASIO staff and also cousin brother of Razamya and Mufis said that their rejection could be a reason of suspecting relating to smuggling into Australia. But it is not part of ASIO’s work.

A Rohingya in Penang-Malaysia said no Rohingya directly involved in any kind of people smuggling to Australia or else where. But a few those have in contact are for to safe their people from exploitation and trafficking. When no quarter can directly rescue the victims from such situation, nor any mechanism can stop this business.

Excusable mistakes?

The 3 Burmeses say it is modern way to deprive from their right to liberty and ironic in the process because the two Bangladeshis from the two boats who claimed as Rohingya have been granted visa earlier than the other Burmeses. It is ridiculous and it would also tell the accountability and consistency of the processes while they have lack of supports to voice out of their matters.

The government’s knowing allowing its departments to disadvantage and ignoring on going crises of inhumane, do not shape humanity.

A Burmese activist in Kuala Lumpur who declined to be mentioned his name stressed that many other similar cases were occurred and to be recurred continuously. For example;

Mr Hla Sam, who served at Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2006, had been resettled to Australia. His status was accepted by UNHCR as a bogus husband of a Kachin women, Ms Bauk Som through Kachin community’s arrangement. It is cleared how legal passport holder and government servant had been found to be qualified.

Another one is Myanmar Intelligence’s spy Mr Ko Saw, who had served in Individual Assistance Dask-IAD of UNHCR, had been instantly resettled to New Zealand. After his real feature was over-come. It was also did by UNHCR in order not to chaos among the Burmese refugee community.

So such unacceptable big-mistakes are committed by big mechanism body. But they still defend by giving various excuses.

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