The life of Burmese refugees in Malaysia is becoming increasingly unsafe threatened as they are by the RELA, the so called people's volunteer corps officially recognized by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs, said Mr. Tangbau Kam Li, a leader of the Kuala Lampur based Kachin Development Organization (KDO).
Two Kachin women were arrested by RELA, in Kotaraya in central Kuala Lumpur city on February 17, 2008 while they were waiting for a bus to go back home.
Mrs. Kai Htang (43), recognized by United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) as a refugee along with her four year old daughter with polio, and Mrs. Htu Mai (45) with her one and-a-half year old daughter are now detained along with their daughters in Semenyih detention camp. There is no further information regarding the two Kachin women and their two children, said Kam Li.
Even though Malaysia is a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), women and children continue to be arrested and detained in the detention camps in the country, Kam Li added.
According to Kam Li, as Malaysia is not a party to the international refugee convention, even though many Burmese refugees hold UNHCR Identity cards (ID) they still get arrested by the RELA. The arrests continue every day.
KDO is the only one Kachin organization which has been helping Kachin refugees with health care and education programmes. KDO is also helping Kachin refugees when they get detained and arrested at the police station. They even help them at the detention camp.
In Malaysia there are over 2,000 Kachin refugees, including children, youth, women and elders. Among them, over 600 Kachin refugees have been registered with the UNHCR and nearly 300 Kachin refugees have got UNHCR ID cards already.
"Kachins have been entering Malaysia much after the September uprising and now the numbers are coming down," Kam Li said.
According to KDO, between 150 and 200 Kachin refugees have already gone for resettlement in third countries till 2008. They have mainly gone to United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
From KDO shiga dap and