Friday, August 26, 2011

Ground-breaking media campaign on statelessness

This week is an historic day for statelessness. Just a few days before the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness reaches its 50th birthday, UNHCR rolled out a ground-breaking media campaign on statelessness. Never before has there been so much attention for this issue from the world's press. In honour of this important development and because it makes such good reading - below, in full, is the UNHCR press release that kicked it all off...

Want to hear some of the highlights explained by UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres himself? Click here to listen to a short interview on BBC radio.


25 augustus 2011 – Around the world today there are millions of people who are not recognized as citizens of any country. On paper they don’t exist anywhere. They are people without a nationality. They are stateless.

UNHCR is mandated to prevent statelessness. On August 25, we will launch a campaign to shed light on this often elusive issue – aimed at decreasing the number of stateless worldwide. The campaign launch comes just days before the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness on August 30, 2011.

There are numerous causes of statelessness, many of them entrenched in legalities, but the human consequences can be dramatic. Because stateless people are technically not citizens of any country, they are often denied basic rights and access to employment, housing, education, and health care. They may not be able to own property, open a bank account, get married legally, or register the birth of a child. Some face long periods of detention, because they cannot prove who they are or where they come from.

“These people are in desperate need of help because they live in a nightmarish legal limbo,” says António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “This makes them some of the most excluded people in the world. Apart from the misery caused to the people themselves, the effect of marginalizing whole groups of people across generations creates great stress in the societies they live in and is sometimes a source of conflict.”

UNHCR estimates that there are up to 12 million stateless people in the world, but defining exact numbers is hugely problematic. Inconsistent reporting combined with different definitions of statelessness means the true scale of the problem remains elusive. To overcome this UNHCR is raising awareness about the international legal definition while improving its own methods for gathering data on stateless populations.

While the full scope of statelessness across the globe is only just becoming known, UNHCR has found the problem is particularly acute in South East Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. However pockets of statelessness exist throughout the world and it's a problem that crosses all borders and walks of life.

New States
State secession carries a risk that some people will be excluded from citizenship if these issues are not considered early on in the process of separation. The world welcomed the birth of South Sudan in July, but it remains to be seen how new citizenship laws in both the north and south will be implemented.

"The dissolution of states, formation of new states, transfer of territories and redrawing of boundaries were major causes of statelessness over the past two decades. Unless new laws were carefully drafted, many people were left out,” says Mark Manly, head of the statelessness unit at UNHCR.

In the 1990s the break-up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia left hundreds of thousands throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia stateless, with marginalized ethnic and social groups bearing the brunt. While most cases of statelessness have been resolved in these regions, tens of thousands of persons remain stateless or at risk of statelessness.

Women and children at risk
An unfortunate consequence of statelessness is that it can be self-perpetuating. In most cases when the parents are stateless, their children are stateless from the moment they are born. As a result the destitution and the exclusion of statelessness are visited upon yet another generation. Without a nationality, it is extremely difficult for children to get a formal education or other basic services.

Discrimination against women compounds the problem. And they are among the most vulnerable to statelessness. UNHCR analysis reveals that at least 30 countries maintain citizenship laws that discriminate against women. Women and their children in some countries run a particular risk of becoming stateless if they marry foreigners. Many states also don’t allow a mother to pass her nationality on to her children.

Fortunately, there is a growing trend for states to take action to remedy gender inequality in citizenship laws. States as diverse as Egypt (2004), Indonesia (2006), Bangladesh (2009), Kenya (2010), and Tunisia (2010) have amended their laws to grant women equal rights as men to retain their nationality and pass their nationality on to their children. Changing gender discriminatory citizenship laws is a particular goal of UNHCR's efforts surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Stateless Convention.

Ethnic discrimination
An underlying theme of most stateless situations is ethnic and racial discrimination that leads to exclusion, where political will is often lacking to resolve the problem. Groups excluded from citizenship since states gained independence or were established include the Muslim residents (Rohingya) of northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, some hill tribes in Thailand, the Bidoon in the Gulf States. While most Roma do have citizenship of the countries where they live, thousands continue to be stateless in various countries of Europe. Often such groups have become so marginalized that even when legislation changes to grant access to nationality, they encounter major obstacles to obtaining citizenship.

In recent months Croatia, the Philippines, Turkmenistan and Panama have all made the historic decision to become party to one or both of the international treaties on statelessness.

Yet the the issue remains a low priority in many countries due to political sensitivities surrounding statelessness.

The number of parties to the two stateless conventions is an indicator of international commitment: as of August 25, only 66 states are parties to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which defines who is considered to be a “stateless person” and establishes minimum standards of treatment. Only 38 states are parties to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which provides principles and a legal framework to help states prevent statelessness. The total number of UN member states is 193.

“After 50 years, these Conventions have attracted only a small number of states,’’ says Mr. Guterres. “It’s shameful that millions of people are living without a nationality – a fundamental human right. The scope of the problem and the dire effects it has on those concerned goes almost unnoticed. We must change that. Governments must act to reduce the overall numbers of stateless.”

While there are some success stories that have positively addressed statelessness, much more needs to be done. UNHCR aims to get the issue on the public agenda encourage states to accede to the two stateless conventions, reform nationality laws and take additional measures to end statelessness.

UNHCR Malaysia reluctant to serve the cause of Genuine Rohingya Refugees

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is reluctant to serve the causes of genuine Rohingya refugees, but to those who can afford under table payment or who has legal passports from Burma or other countries.

Please find out the attached photo letter which issued by the National University Hospital of Malaysia that require at least RM 50,000.

Instead of taking needful initiative, the UNHCR support RM 200 medical cost the vulnerable soul.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

‘What is UNHCR doing?’

Stephanie Sta Maria | August 25, 2011
Is UNHCR in cohorts with the Malaysian government to deport asylum seekers, asks a refugee.
PETALING JAYA: A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholder has sent a letter to the UN Refugee Agency begging them to provide clear and timely information to the refugees regarding the Malaysian government’s 6P amnesty programme.

The confused Burmese refugee was among the 10,000 who turned up in Putrajaya on Tuesday after the Home Ministry issued a 11th hour order that they had to register themselves under the 6P amnesty programme.

The 6P program was originally intended to register only migrant workers but the Home Ministry issued an overnight order on Monday for refugee card holders under the UNHCR to register themselves.

The ill-prepared immigration officials were however forced to turn most of the crowd away as they only had the capacity to register 2,500 people a day.

Recounting their harrowing experience at the Immigration office in Putrajaya on Tuesday, the Burmese refugee said: “Yesterday at (the Immigration department) the Malaysian police and Rela beat some of the refugees including children, mothers and the elderly due to the mismanagement of UNHCR Malaysia.

“And when they got their papers from Immigration mostly their papers read “Tujuan: Pulang Ke Negara Asal (Purpose: Return to Home Country)”.”

The puzzled UNHCR refugee cardholder now wants to know the agency’s status in protecting the refugees.
“What is the UNHCR’s role in protecting refugees against the wicked tool of the Immigration Department?
“Does UNHCR itself put Burmese refugees in Malaysia into Malaysian jail?”

He also questioned if the whole registration under 6P amnesty programme was in fact a plot between UNHCR and the Malaysian Immigration to deport them.

“Are these refugees exiled by plots of UNCHR and the Malaysian Immigration?”

“What is the role of UNHCR in the international human rights and refugees affairs? Does UNHCR also smear itself at the stage of world peace?” he asked.

End 6P registration now
Last night Tenaganita, an NGO working with migrant workers, women and children, issued a media statement condemning this revelation which it said has sparked great uncertainty and fear among the refugees.

The NGO highlighted the fact that Malaysia came under fire just two days ago for deporting 11 Uighurs back to China where they would face ethnic torture and persecution.

“We are deeply concerned that there is no clear direction from UNHCR as to why that “Purpose” is on the slip,” said Tenaganita’s executive director, Irene Fernandez.

“UNHCR when contacted this morning said it was still trying to verify the statement. Even as a lead agency it is unclear and unable to provide proper information to the refugee community.”

Fernandez called for the registration of refugees under the 6P program to be immediately halted as their status required that they be treated under a different framework.

“One dimension of the 6P program is deportation which cannot be applied to refugees,” she said.

“The lack of information and consultation on the impact of the program on refugees has resulted in increasing the community’s anxiety and stress.”

She then took the Home Ministry to task for its irresponsibility and lack of clear decisions which has resulted in a program “riddled with questions and uncertainties”.

“The ministry has only given responses that reflect arrogance of power and not good governance,” she stated. “The same sporadic decisions are now reflected in the registration of refugees with no consultation, planning and processes set in place.”

Fernandez also pushed the ministry to explain and clarify the objectives, procedures and policy for the registration of refugees and its impact on their continued stay in Malaysia.

“If there is any form of registration by the government, it must be to increase the protection of the rights of refugees,” she added.

“Right now this registration exercise has further reinforced how inefficient and unplanned the program has been since it began in July.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Malaysia UNHCR Accused of Betraying Refugees

By KO HTWE Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In this photo taken on Dec. 3, 2008, a Burmese Rohingya refugee boy arrives on a bus for demonstration outside the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: AP)
The Malaysia United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is accused of betraying refugees by conspiring with Putrajaya Immigration Office to take their fingerprints and send them back to their own countries, it has been claimed.

On Tuesday, several UNHCR-affiliated organizations in Malaysia instructed refugees to provide fingerprints at Putrajaya Immigration Office, claims Shwe Zin, a Burmese refugee living in Malaysia.

“I arrived at the immigration office in the morning and was made to queue up. Then when my turn came, I had my fingerprints and a photo taken. And then I was given a printed document written in Malay that said to go back to our own country,” said Shwe Zin.

Many registered refugees came to the immigration office to give their fingerprints but did not know the details of what was going on, she added.

Many refugees received a document entitled “Pulang Ke Negara Asal” which translates as “Returning Home,” “Leaving” or “Going back to native country.” However, others were registered and given an alternative document which allows them to stay in Malaysia.

“I think I made a mistake by giving my fingerprints. It is impossible for me to go back [to Burma],” said Shwe Zin, adding that UNHCR staff were present in the immigration office.

“The UNHCR is tricking us because they want to settle corruption dealings with refugee processes. I don't know why some refugee receive different documents,” said Ye Min Tun from Malaysia, who works for worker affairs.

An official from Putrajaya Immigration Office in Malaysia refused to give further details when contacted by The Irrawaddy, but just said that it was an “enforcement event.”

Malaysia is currently running the 6P Program to tackle illegal migrant numbers in a bid to settle social problems and crime related to illegal foreigners. Although the Malaysia UNHCR was officially against the scheme, after Aug. 23 the organization is legally obliged to assist with the 6P registration.

UNHCR refugee card holder Myat Ko Ko sent a letter to UNHCR officials asking why the organization was not upfront about its involvement in the fingerprint campaign, and questioning its commitment to protecting international human rights and refugees affairs.

“As a result of the UNHCR and Malaysia [government] fingerprint program addressed to all the ethnic Burmese refugees in Malaysia, all of them are in trouble and the UNHCR should surely have given an announcement about it,” he wrote.

The Irrawaddy repeatedly tried to contact the UNHCR office in Malaysia but there was no reply.

Yan Naing Tun, the editor of weekly Kuala Lumpur journal Thuriya, said the action is taking place because of UNHCR corruption when dealing with processing refugee claims.

The Malaysia UNHCR has been accused of discriminating between refugees and corruptly selling resettlement registrations for profit, according to refugees in Malaysia.

“While I met with the Malaysian authorities, my friend told me not to give a thumbprint on the document when the [UNHCR] called us. It is an act of cheating. They made the plan in secret but the problem is now widely known,” said Yan Naing Tun.

Australia and Malaysia’s recent agreement to swap 800 asylum seekers who came to Australia for 4,000 refugees living in Malaysia was widely criticized by human rights groups, as Malaysia is not a signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

The Malaysian government has cooperated with the UNHCR on humanitarian grounds since 1975 even though Malaysia has not signed the UN Convention Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Burmese refugees have since been sent to third countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

According to the Malaysia UNHCR website, at the end of May 2011 there are some 94,400  refugees and asylum-seekers registered with their office. Of these, around 86,500, or 90 percent, are from Burma. That figure is split up into 35,600 Chins, 21,400 Rohingyas, 10,100 Burmese Muslims, 3,800 Mon and 3,400 Kachins or from other smaller ethnic minorities.

Source: The Irrawaddy

မေလးမွ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား ျပန္ပုိ႔ခံရမည္ကုိ စိုးရိမ္

by The Irrawaddy (Burmese Version) on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 8:32pm
သန္းထိုက္ဦး Wednesday, 24 August 2011 19:25

မေလးရွားႏုိင္ငံ ကြာလာလမ္ပူျမိဳ႕ေတာ္၊ အာဏာပုိင္တုိ႔ထံတြင္ ယမန္ေန႔က လက္ေဗြႏွိပ္၊ ဓာတ္ပုံအရုိက္ခံခ့ဲေသာ ျမန္မာျပည္သား ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားသည္ ေနရပ္ရင္းသုိ႔ ျပန္ပုိ႔ခံရမည္ကုိ စိုးရိမ္ေနၾကသည္။

ကြာလာလမ္ပူရိွ ပူထရာဂ်ာရာ လ၀ကရုံးတြင္ ႀကဳံေတြ႔ခ့ဲရသည့္ အျဖစ္အပ်က္တခ်ဳိ႕ေၾကာင့္ စုိးရိမ္ေနၾကျခင္းျဖစ္သည္ဟု ဆုိသည္။

“လက္ေဗြႏွိပ္တယ္၊ ဓာတ္ပံုရိုက္တယ္၊ ၿပီးေတာ့ ကြန္ပ်ဴတာထဲက ထြက္လာတဲ့ စာရြက္ေတြထဲမွာ မိမိႏိုင္ငံသို႔ ျပန္ရန္ ဆိုၿပီးေတာ့ ေရးထားတာ ေတြ႕ရတယ္၊ ကိုယ္ကေတာ့ မေလးလို သိပ္ မတတ္ဘူး၊ သိတဲ့ လူေတြကို ေမး ၾကည့္ေတာ့ အဲဒီလို ေျပာတယ္” ဟု ဒုကၡသည္ လက္မွတ္ ကိုင္ေဆာင္ထားသည့္ မေရႊဇင္က ဧရာ၀တီသို႔ ေျပာသည္။

ယင္း အေၾကာင္း အရာႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ ထရာဂ်ာရာရွိ လ၀က ႐ုံးသို႔ ဆက္သြယ္ခဲ့ရာ အေသးစိတ္ ေျဖဆိုရန္ ျငင္းဆန္ခဲ့သည္။ ကြာလာလမ္ပူရိွ UNHCR ေခၚ ကုလသမဂၢ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားဆုိင္ရာ မဟာမင္းႀကီးရုံးတြင္လည္း လက္ခံ ေျဖၾကားမည့္သူ မရွိေပ။

ဒုကၡသည္ လက္မွတ္ ကိုင္ေဆာင္ထားေသာ ျမတ္ကိုကိုက “UNHCR နဲ႔ မေလးရွား လ၀က က လုပ္လိုက္တဲ့ အစီအစဥ္ေၾကာင့္ ျမန္မာေတြ ဒုကၡေရာက္ေနတယ္၊ သူတို႔ တခုခုေတာ့ ရွင္းလင္းခ်က္ ထုတ္သင့္တယ္” ဟု ဆိုသည္။

ၿပီးခဲ့သည့္ ေမလက ၾသစေၾတးလ်သို႔ ခိုလံႈရန္ စတင္ေရာက္ရွိလာမည့္ ဒုကၡသည္ ၈၀၀ ကို ကုလသမဂၢ တာ၀န္ရိွသူမ်ားက လိုအပ္သည့္ စစ္ေဆးမႈမ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ႏိုင္ရန္ မေလးရွားသို႔ ပို႔ေဆာင္ရန္ သေဘာတူခဲ့သည္။

အျပန္အလွန္အေနျဖင့္ ၾသစေတးလ်ႏိုင္ငံသည္ လာမည့္ ၄ ႏွစ္ အတြင္း မေလးရွား၌ ဒုကၡသည္အျဖစ္ အသိအမွတ္ျပဳခံရၿပီးသူ ၄၀၀၀ ကို လက္ခံေပးမည္ျဖစ္သည္။ ယင္းဒုကၡသည္မ်ား အနက္ အမ်ားစုမွာ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွ ျဖစ္သည္။

မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံရွိ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားသည္ တတိယႏိုင္ငံမ်ားသို႔ သြားေရာက္ေနထိုင္ခြင့္ရရန္ ေစာင့္ဆိုင္းေနစဥ္အတြင္း ျပင္ပတြင္ အလုပ္လုပ္ပိုင္ခြင့္ ရရွိၾကသည္။

ဒုကၡသည္အျဖစ္ အသိအမွတ္ ျပဳခံရသူမ်ားသည္ UNHCR ၏ အစီအစဥ္ျဖင့္ တတိယႏိုင္ငံမ်ား ျဖစ္သည့္ ကေနဒါ၊ အေမရိကန္၊ ၾသစေၾတးလ်၊ ဒိန္းမတ္၊ နယူးဇီလန္၊ ဆီြဒင္ႏွင့္ ခ်က္သမၼတႏိုင္ငံတြင္ သြားေရာက္ အေျခခ်ေနထိုင္ခြင့္ ရၾကသည္။

ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား ခုိလႈံခြင့္ႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ ကုလသမဂၢ၏ သေဘာတူစာခ်ဳပ္တြင္ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံက လက္မွတ္ ေရးထိုးထားျခင္း မရွိေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။

သုိ႔ေသာ္လည္း ၂၀၁၁ ေမ အထိ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံ UNHCR တြင္ ဒုကၡသည္ အျဖစ္ ေလွ်ာက္ထားသူ ၉၄၀၀၀ ခန္႔ ရွိေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။

Source: Irrawaddy Burmese Version

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

UNHCR-Malaysia ၏ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား လက္ေဗြႏွိပ္ရန္သတင္းႏွင့္ ပတ္သတ္၍

၂၂..၂၀၁၁ တြင္ UNHCR-Malaysia သည္ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံရွိ ျမန္မာဒုကၡသည္ အဖြဲ႕အစည္းတခ်ိဳ႕အားေခၚယူ၍ UNHCR-Malaysia ႏွင့္ သက္ဆိုင္သည့္ စာရြက္စာတမ္း လက္၀ယ္ကိုင္ေဆာင္ထားသူ မည္သူမဆို ၂၆..၂၀၁၁ (ေသာၾကာေန႔) ေနာက္ဆံုးထား၍ မေလးရွားလ၀က႐ံုး၌ လက္ေဗြသြားေရာက္ ေပးေဆာင္ရမည္ဟု အဖြဲ႕အစည္းေခါင္းေဆာင္တခ်ိဳ႕အား ပါးစပ္စကားေျပာၾကားခဲ့သည္ဟု သိရပါသည္။ (ႏႈတ္စကားသာျဖင့္သည့္အတြက္ ျမန္မာျပည္ရွိ လက္ရွိအစိုးရကဲ့သို႔ အခ်ိန္မေရြး ေျပာင္းလဲႏိုင္ပါသည္)

တြင္ Community Development Unit (CDU) ေခါင္းစဥ္ခြဲဌာနတခုရွိျပီး ထိုဌာနလက္ေအာက္တြင္ မေလးရွားရွိ ျမန္မာဒုကၡသည္ႏွင့္ ႏိုင္ငံေရးအဖြဲ႕အစည္းအားလံုး၏နာမည္ႏွင့္ စာရင္းမ်ားရွိေနသည္ဟု သိရပါသည္။ ထိုသို႔အဖြဲ႕အစည္းမ်ားအား ေခၚယူရာတြင္ CDU စာရင္းတြင္ ရွိေနသည့္ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံရွိ ျမန္မာဒုကၡသည္ႏွင့္ ႏိုင္ငံေရးအဖြဲ႕အစည္းမ်ားအားလံုးအား ေခၚယူေျပာၾကားျခင္းမဟုတ္ဘဲ UNHCR-Malaysia ႏွင့္နီးစပ္သည့္ အဖြဲ႕အစည္းမ်ားကိုသာ ေခၚယူအသိေပးျခင္းျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း သိရပါသည္။

မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံတြင္ ယခုျပဳလုပ္ေပးလွ်က္ရွိသည့္ Legalization ကာလအတြင္း ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားအတြက္ အလြန္တရာအေရးၾကီးသည့္ ေဖာ္ျပပါသတင္းႏွင့္ပတ္သတ္၍ UNHCR-Malaysia မွ စာအားျဖင့္ေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း၊ ႏွင့္ UNHCR-Malaysia ႏွင့္သက္ဆိုင္သည့္ facebook ကဲ့သို႔ေသာ အင္တာနက္စာမ်က္ႏွာမ်ားတြင္ေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း ေၾကျငာခ်က္တစံုတရာထုတ္ျပန္ျခင္းမရွိဘဲ အဖြဲ႔အစည္းတခ်ိဳ႕မွ ေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားကိုသာ ႏႈတ္ျဖင့္သာ သတင္းေပးစကားေျပာၾကားခဲ့ျခင္းျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း သိရပါသည္။

မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံတြင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွ လာေရာက္ခိုလႈံၾကသည့္ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား မ်ားျပားေနသည့္အေလ်ာက္ UNHCR-Malaysia ၏ သတိေပးစကားေျပာၾကားမႈကို ၾကားနာခဲ့ရသည့္ အဖြဲ႔အစည္းေခါင္းေဆာင္တခ်ိဳ႕သည္ မိမိတို႔ အဖြဲ႕မွ UNHCR မွတ္ပံုတင္စာရင္း၀င္ အဖြဲ႔၀င္မ်ားကိုေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း၊ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံတနံတလ်ားမွ UNHCR မွတ္ပံုတင္စာရြက္/ကဒ္ လက္၀ယ္ ကိုင္ေဆာင္ထားသူမ်ား အားလံုးကိုေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း မည္သည့္ဆက္သြယ္ေရးစနစ္ကို အသံုးျပဳ၍ အသိေပးေျပာၾကားမည္ကို မခန္႔မွန္းႏိုင္ေပ။

ယခုဤသတင္းႏွင့္ပတ္သတ္သည္မ်ားကို ေရးသားေနသည့္အခ်ိန္အထိ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံတြင္ရွိေနၾကသည့္ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားအားလံုးအေနႏွင့္ UNHCR-Malaysia မွ တရား၀င္ထုတ္ျပန္ျခင္းမရွိေသာ သတင္းစကားအေပၚ ေ၀ခြဲမရျဖစ္ေနၾကျပီး သတိေပးစကားၾကားနာခဲ့ရသည့္ အဖြဲ႕အစည္းတခ်ိဳ႕မွေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားႏွင့္ လက္လွမ္းမမွီ၍ ထိုသတင္းအား မၾကားသိရဘဲ လ၀က႐ံုးသို႔ လက္ေဗြသြားေရာက္ မေပးေဆာင္ႏိုင္ၾကမည့္ UNHCR-Malaysia ၏ မွတ္ပံုတင္စာရင္း၀င္ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားအေပၚ မည္ကဲ့သို႔ ဆိုးက်ိဳးသက္ေရာက္ႏိုင္မည္ကို မသိရွိရေသးေပ။

ထိုသို႔ UNHCR-Malaysia ႏွင့္ မေလးရွားအစိုးရတို႔၏ ႏွစ္ဦးႏွစ္ဖက္လံုး၌ လက္ေဗြပံုစံရယူထားမႈ ေပၚေပါက္လာရျခင္းမွာ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံတြင္ UNHCR-Malaysia မွ အေထာက္အထားစာရြက္/ကဒ္ ႏွင့္ အလုပ္လုပ္ခြင့္ တရား၀င္ပါမစ္ (ပတ္စပို႔) ႏွစ္ခုစလံုးကို ကိုင္ေဆာင္ထားသူမ်ား ေပါမ်ားလာျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ျဖစ္သည္။ ထိုကဲ့သို႔ ကိုင္ေဆာင္ထားႏိုင္သူအမ်ားစုမွာလည္း UNHCR-Malaysia မွ အေထာက္အထားစာရြက္/ကဒ္တို႔ကို အလြယ္တကူျပဳလုပ္ႏိုင္ၾကသူမ်ားျဖစ္ျပီး ထိုသူမ်ားသည္ UNHCR-Malaysia မွအေထာက္အထားကို တတိယႏိုင္ငံသို႔ ထြက္ခြာႏိုင္ရန္အတြက္သာ အသံုးျပဳျပီး အလုပ္လုပ္ခြင့္ တရား၀င္ပါမစ္ကို မေလးရွားအာဏာပိုင္မ်ားမွ ဖမ္းဆီးခဲ့လွ်င္ ထုတ္ျပအသံုးျပဳၾကေၾကာင္း သိရပါသည္။
Posted By ေမာင္ပါလ to ေမာင္ပါလ at 8/23/2011 04:16:00 AM

မေလးရွားရွိ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား လက္ေဗြႏွိပ္ရန္ မလိုေသးပါ

By UNHCR Malaysia
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

မေလးရွားရွိ UNHCR အေထာက္အထားစာရြက္/ ကဒ္ကိုင္ေဆာင္ ထားသူမ်ားအားလံုးသို႔....

မွ ေၾကျငာခ်က္ ထပ္မံထြက္ေပၚမလာေသးခင္ အခ်ိန္အထိ 6P registration ႏွင့္ပတ္သတ္ေသာ လက္ေဗြႏွိပ္ရန္ကိစၥအတြက္ the Putrajaya Immigration center လ၀က႐ံုးသို႔ မသြားၾကပါရန္ UNHCR-Malaysia Facebook စာမ်က္ႏွာတြင္ အသိေပး အေၾကာင္းၾကားထားပါသည္။

ထိုကိစၥႏွင့္ပတ္သတ္၍ UNHCR သည္ မေလးရွားအစိုးရႏွင့္ အေရးေပၚေဆြးေႏြးေနဆဲျဖစ္ျပီး ဒုကၡသည္တို႔ႏွင့္ပတ္သတ္သည့္ လိုအပ္ေသာ သတင္းအခ်က္အလက္မ်ားကို UNHCR မွ ထပ္မံ၍ ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကျငာသြားမည္ ျဖစ္ပါသည္။

UNHCR Malaysia

To all UNHCR document holders in Malaysia: Please DO NOT go to the Putrajaya Immigration center for 6P registration, until further notification from UNHCR. UNHCR is currently in discussions with the Malaysian Government on this and we will provide you with information on what you need to do, as soon as we can.

No rights for stateless Rohingya fleeing Burma

By Melanie Teff | 3 hour(s) ago | Comments ( 0 )
Rohingya children from Myanmar carry water from a pond, with the mountains of Myanmar seen behind, at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazaar. REUTERS file photo by Andrew Biraj
Rohingya children from Myanmar carry water from a pond, with the mountains of Myanmar seen behind, at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazaar. REUTERS file photo by Andrew Biraj
This blog is part of an AlertNet special multimedia report on statelessness
By Melanie Teff, Refugees International
Washington, D.C. - There are around 12 million people worldwide who lack citizenship and basic rights in the country in which they live. This stateless status often keeps children from attending school and condemns families to poverty. And it can be particularly hard on women – a fact that I had reinforced to me on a recent trip to Malaysia.

In February, I and a colleague travelled to Malaysia and Bangladesh to assess the needs of the Rohingya population – a Muslim ethnic minority group from western Burma.
The Rohingya have no rights in Burma, and their lives are made impossible by such practices as forced labor, displacement and systematic physical assault and rape. They are not allowed to marry or travel to other villages unless they pay prohibitively high taxes.
The Burmese authorities stripped the Rohingya of their Burmese citizenship in 1982, arguing that they are Bangladeshi. But the Bangladeshi government also does not accept the Rohingya as their citizens. So the Rohingya community is stateless, with no government that accepts them.
While in Malaysia, I met with Gultaz, who was nine months pregnant and very scared. Her story illustrates the type of problems that many stateless women around the world face, forced to hide themselves away and unable to advance in their lives.

Gultaz, her family and neighbours were displaced from their village near the archaeological ruins in Mrauk-U in Arakan State. The military wanted to develop the site for tourism and forcibly relocated them with no compensation. The Burmese authorities used brutal force to require Gultaz’s husband to work for them for no pay. They beat him in the face, and he has had two eye operations to try to repair the damage he suffered. He fled without being able to inform Gultaz of where he was going, so she was left alone struggling to look after their young son and suffering persecution from the Burmese authorities.

Eventually, Gultaz learned that her husband had made his way to Malaysia. She could no longer ensure the survival of her son in Burma and she decided that she had no option but to travel illegally, with her 12 year-old son, to Bangladesh, where they took a boat to Thailand. Then they made their way to the border between Thailand and Malaysia. Gultaz and her son were arrested there for illegal entry into Thailand, and they were held in a Thai detention centre for more than three months. The conditions in the detention centre were appalling for her and her child. When they finally got out of the detention centre, they managed to cross the border into Malaysia and Gultaz and her son were reunited with her husband.

Gultaz was relieved to get to Malaysia, where the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is permitted to assist the Rohingya. But, despite allowing UNHCR to register refugees there, Malaysia has not signed the international convention on refugees, and it still arrests foreigners who enter the country illegally, even if they are refugees or stateless.

Three years after arriving in Malaysia, when Gultaz was five months pregnant with her second child, she and her husband were both arrested by immigration authorities and were held in detention. Gultaz said that it was terrible being pregnant in the Malaysian detention centre, with inadequate food and unclean water, and she had difficulty getting medical attention. After two months, UNHCR secured the release of Gultaz from the detention centre. Over the past two years Malaysia has reduced arrests of refugees registered with UNHCR, but Gultaz’s experiences make her too scared to leave her house.

Gultaz struggles to survive economically, as her husband is still ill. But her fear of going out prevents her from taking up possible opportunities. She was offered a loan under a micro-credit scheme, but she refused as she was worried she would not be able to repay it. She pointed out that since she does not have the right to work in Malaysia, she fears she could be arrested again while trying to sell any products she would make. And she does not want to default on a loan.

When I asked Gultaz what she hoped for the future, she told me that her life was over (although she is only 37). All she thinks of is her children’s future. Her older child never went to school. But she hopes that her 3-year-old daughter will be allowed to go to government schools so that she will have a future.
Melanie Teff is a senior advocate for women’s rights at Refugees International. Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises and receives no government or UN funding.

Following is a list with all links related to the report.

Source: TRUST

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rohingyas 'left behind' in Australian-Malaysian deal

Detainees protest at the Curtin Detention Centre, about 40km south of Derby, in Western Australia. [ABC: file photo]
Detainees protest at the Curtin Detention Centre, about 40km south of Derby, in Western Australia. [ABC: file photo]
Danuta Kozaki
Last Updated: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 07:31:00 +1000
Australia's Burmese Muslim community - known as Rohingyas - say their kind are being ignored by the Australian Government's refugee swap deal with Malaysia.

Under the deal, 4000 refugees will be resettled in Australia while 800 asylum seekers will be sent to Malaysia.

The first group of refugees are expected to arrive in Australia later this week.

Yasmeen Fatima, from the Burmese Rohingya Association of Australia, says around 90 per cent of the 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia are Burmese.

She says many are from a Rohingya background, along with other Burmese ethnic minorities such as the Chin and Karen.

Ms Fatima says whilst the Rohingyas are a large group, community contacts in Malaysia say no Rohingyas have been picked to go to Australia in the refugee swap.

"I think this is really unfair because it is well known that in Malaysia the Rohingyas are the first burmese refugee," she said.

A spokesman for the Australian immigration department says the makeup of the 4,000 refugees to be swapped is yet to be determined, with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees making that selection.

Source: Radio Australia News

Monday, August 1, 2011

MP Wants Refugees With Malaysian Citizenship To Vacate Settlement

LABUAN, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- Refugees at the Kiansam refugee settlement here who have been accorded Malaysian citizenship, should look for dwelling elsewhere, Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Yussof Mahal said.

He said this was because such people could no longer be considered or referred to as refugees.

Yussof urged the Home Ministry to check out the area and verify claims that refugees with IMM13 (travel document for refugees) had received Malaysian citizenship papers.

"If they have been given citizenship, they should leave the refugee settlement and look for other suitable places to stay. This will ease the job of authorities to check on paperless immigrants," he said.

Yussof also said he had directed all 27 villages on the island to assist the government in getting rid of new communes set up by illegal immigrants.

He said village heads were duty bound to maintain peace and security in their respective areas, and they should not allow the mushrooming of aliens in their villages.

Yussof, who is Labuan Corporation chairman, noted that it was unlawful to allow illegal immigrants to build illegal structures in the villages, and action could be taken against anyone harbouring illegal immigrants.



Australia-Malaysia deal endangers asylum seekers

In the Australia-Malaysia refugees-for-asylum seekers swap deal recently inked, vulnerable displaced eople are being treated like commodities that can be bartered, writes Angeline Loh.

Sydney World Refugee Day march - Photograph: Peter Boyle

Aliran sees the deal initiated by Australia to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia for processing in exchange for 4000 processed UNHCR refugees, as undermining asylum seekers’ safety.

Not only does the Australian government reveal its double standards in its selection of non-party states to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it also appears to treat asylum seekers as commodities it can use to make trade-offs. It is seen to be out-sourcing the refugee assessment process to countries in the region willing to co-operate in this scheme – with no consideration for the protection of asylum seekers and their human rights.

In making such agreements, not only with small surrounding island states like Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Christmas Island, the Australian government appears to be seeking larger areas to establish ‘prison colonies’ for potential asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants entering Australian waters.

The A$300m deal with Malaysia will not “put people smugglers out of business” or “prevent asylum seekers making the dangerous journey to Australia by boat” as Australian Immigration minister Chris Bowen anticipates. It will also not dissuade asylum seekers from getting “on that boat”.

Instead, it will increase over-crowding in Malaysian immigration detention centres, crackdowns by Rela, immigration enforcers, and other security enforcers and intensify human rights violations by state actors and private citizens. The situation will be further aggravated by increasing incidences of corruption and extortion to which undocumented asylum seekers and even UNHCR-confirmed refugees are vulnerable. The criminalisation of being an ‘irregular’ or ‘undocumented’ foreigner in Malaysia contributes to an environment of suspicion and prejudice towards foreigners in the country.

If the Australian government complains of immigration detention centre riots, it appears to be unaware that riots also occur in immigration detention centres in Malaysia very likely due to the inhuman conditions of these places and the rampant human rights abuse that goes on within their walls. Riots in such centres have erupted since 2008, notably in the Lenggeng centre in Negeri Sembilan.

The Australian Prime Minister appears to admit that she is aware of the terrible and squalid conditions of these centres in Malaysia as well as the difficult living conditions in which asylum seekers and refugees are forced to live like ‘fugitives’, simply because they are not legally recognised in this country.

The Australian PM refers to the possibility of being sent to Malaysia as a ‘risk’ : “I want to be very clear about this: under this arrangement if someone seeks to come to Australia they are at risk of going to Malaysia and going to the back of the queue.” – J. Gillard, PM (Herald Sun, 9 May 2011).

The Australian government, however, is intent on pushing this hard-line scheme through without any qualms. The deplorable result of this is that neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia faced with influxes of asylum seekers (particularly from Myanmar) also want to strike similar deals with Australia. These countries maintain similar human rights records to Malaysia in their treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Although efforts by Malaysia, in cooperation with Australia, to combat human trafficking are commendable, measures to stem the flow of asylum seekers appear to avoid the root of the human trafficking problem. Instead, the potential victims of this illicit trade are being punished by Australia as well as Malaysia, instead of the kingpins of the trafficking syndicates.

In 2009, Malaysia was upgraded from Tier 3 to Tier 2 of the United States Watchlist. But there is still much to be done before Malaysia can be taken off the Watchlist and this may be a step towards that end.

Nonetheless, both the Malaysian and Australian governments appear to be targeting the victims rather than the perpetrators of human trafficking by trying to eliminate human smuggling instead.- without differentiating between the two or being definite about what constitutes trafficking in persons as opposed to merely illegally contracting to transport persons for payment.

It is appalling that Australia, a state-party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which should better appreciate the complexities faced by asylum seekers and refugees, should decide to trade off its responsibilities to countries that have not ratified the Refugee Convention – countries whose human rights records are far from acceptable, let alone exemplary.

Paradoxically, Australia’s move to ‘out-source’ its refugee assessment obligations comes at a time when asylum seeker arrivals seem to have dropped i.e. from 2000 in 2010 to 940 in 2011. Yet, there is no guarantee that numbers will dwindle in future simply because boatloads of asylum seekers will be diverted to Malaysia and its Asean neighbours.

As it is, thousands of asylum seekers in Malaysia are still waiting to be registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for refugee status determination.

It would be wiser for the Australian government and Asean to cooperate in efforts to solve the refugee and human trafficking problems at their roots rather than to seek to stem the tide of asylum seekers fleeing from internal conflict and repression in their countries. Moreover, Australian taxpayers will remain uncertain as to whether their money is being used for the right purposes in other countries where they have no access to such information.

Further, the Australian and the Malaysian governments must be transparent about this bilateral deal. They must publicly disclose the timeline for negotiations, details of what is being negotiated, how large numbers of asylum seekers will be managed and if safe-guards for their protection and security will be put in place.

Both governments should consult civil society refugee and migrant advocates and refugee communities in both countries before making arbitrary decisions that will overburden an already encumbered, slow-moving, under-funded and under-staffed UNHCR system. Refugee and civil society stakeholders should also be allowed to participate in these negotiations as the repercussions of such decisions will directly impact them.

The Malaysian and Australian premiers’ pledges to observe non-refoulement and humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees ‘according to human rights standards’, remains to be seen in practice, as no guarantees have been given that these pledges will be kept.

Angeline Loh is an Aliran executive committee member.

 Souce: Aliran