Chin refugees in Malaysia PDF Print E-mail
From The Search for Protection: Resetttled refugees reflect on seeking asylum in Asia and the Middle East. A report from the Refugee Council of Australia, June 2009, page 6

There are around 25,000 Chin refugees in Malaysia. Some reside in cramped accommodation in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, while others live in makeshift camps outside the city or in the Cameron Highlands.

Like Thailand [and India], Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol and has no procedure for granting asylum or registering refugees. Malaysia does not distinguish between undocumented migrant workers and refugees; all those without valid residency status are subject to arrest, detention and deportation. The Peoples Volunteer Corps (RELA), numbering half a million members, is empowered by law to enter any premises and arrest 'undesirable persons' and suspected undocumented migrants without search warrants.

The UNHCR handles refugee determinations in Malaysia and issues identification cards to those recognised as refugees, however this provides little guarantee of protection. Refugees are not entitled to work in Malaysia, and as such, many work illegally. The Malaysian government does not generally permit NGOs or the International Committee of the Red Cross to access immigration detention centres.

Last Updated ( Aug 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM )