Thursday, May 6, 2010

UNHCR (Malaysia) must avoid discrimination

Burma Democratic Concern (BDC): UNHCR (Malaysia) must avoid discrimination
05 May 2010

Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) today calls for UNHCR (Malaysia) to respect human rights and to avoid discrimination dealing with Burmese refugees from Burma.

Burma is make up with Burmese (Bamar), Kachin, Kayar, Karean, Chin, Mon, Arakan and Shan. Burmese refugees fled from Burma due to military regime’s extreme repression. People of Burma voted for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as their leader and they don’t agree with junta illegitimate rule in Burma. Military regime sees no difference in oppressing people of Burma and always uses ultimate force to crush all the opposition regardless of religion, race or ethnicity.

There are more than 70, 000 Burmese refugees in Malaysia according to the official figures. Since Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its Protocol, refugees are vulnerable to detention and deportation.

While we applaud the UNHCR tireless efforts helping refugees but we also have reports that UNHCR office in Malaysia is not fair in dealing with Burmese refugees issues. Addition, some of the officers at the UNHCR (Malaysia) office is creating climate of discrimination with regard to dealing with Burmese refugees.

Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) is very concerned on the reports that some UNHCR (Malaysia) officers have misunderstood that the ruling Burmese military junta does not suppress ethnic Burmese people in Burma because they are the majority ethnic group and Buddhist.

Based on unreasonable assumption which is totally wrong, most of the Burmese applying for refugees at the UNHCR (Malaysia) offices are mostly turned down.

“I am surprised to learn some UNHCR (Malaysia) officers’ misconception towards refugees from Burma. These vulnerable refugees had suffered enough at the hand of brutal military regime and they don’t deserve the injustice again especially applying for the refugee at the one of the world’s most respected humanitarian organisation, UNHCR. Mr António Guterres should addresses this matter in the matter of urgency unless it would tarnish UNHCR’s long track record of good reputation”, said Myo Thein, the Director at the Burma Democratic Concern (BDC).

Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) calls for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr António Guterres to investigate fully and take timely action to avoid further discrimination.

For more information please contact Myo Thein at 00-44-78 7788 2386 or 00-44-20 8493 9137.

Burma Democratic Concern (BDC)

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