UNHCR: No refugees involved in recent cases of Myanmar group violence

Source thestar, 8 June

PETALING JAYA: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia said they have no evidence that their document-holders have been involved in the recent cases of violence between Myanmarese ethnic groups in Klang Valley.

“All refugees and asylum-seekers are expected to respect the national laws of the countries in which they seek asylum,” said UNHCR spokesperson Yante Ismail.

Yante said it would expect refugees or asylum-seekers who allegedly committed crimes in Malaysia to undergo due process under law, and not be deported to a country where their lives or freedom may be at risk.

Seven clashes were reported involving Myanmar nationals in Kuala Lumpur and parts of Selangor between May 30 and June 4.

Two Myanmar nationals were killed while two others are in critical condition.

The violence is linked to recent clashes in Myanmar between Buddhists and ethnic Muslim Rohingyas in the Rakhine state.

Yante added that the authorities have released those holding UNHCR documents whose status was verified by their staff.

Several refugees met outside the UNHCR headquarters in Kuala Lumpur were aware of the violence, although they claimed that they had not been affected.

One refugee, who wanted to be known as Shu, said life continued as normal although he had heard of the violence.

"I have done nothing wrong and have no reason to be afraid,” he said.

Another refugee, Robert from the Chin state, urged all parties to stay calm.

“People don’t know the facts there but are bringing the problem over here. It also causes problems for Malaysians.

“How can we attain peace if you don’t talk to one another,” said the 23-year-old restaurant worker.

As of April this year, there were 94,760 refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar registered with UNHCR.

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