Date: 26 October 2021
The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is concerned about reports that Chin refugees and asylum seekers are being deported from Malaysia to Myanmar. Since 1 Feb 2021, the date when the military government staged a coup d’etat, there have been a total of 178 deportations of Chin refugees. 28 of those deported held either a UNHCR card, verifying their refugee status, or possessed official Under Consideration (UC) letters issued by the UNHCR until refugee status determination takes place which should protect asylum seekers from arrest.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Malaysian authorities have continued raids and arrests of the Chin community. A total of 359 have been arrested since Feb 2021. After being arrested, the large majority are held indefinitely at detention centres where they remain until visited by representatives from the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Under duress and with no legal representation, documents are signed agreeing to be deported back to Myanmar.
“Deporting asylum seekers under the current circumstances in Myanmar is unacceptable. In the past, some returnees have been arrested on arrival and sent to Insein prison. We are also concerned about forced conscription into the Military Junta army. Malaysian authorities should suspend whatever agreement they previously held with the National League for Democracy and prevent the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from deporting Myanmar nationals from Malaysian detention centers,” said Salai Za Uk Ling of the Chin Human Rights Organization.
Recently, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews informed the U.N General Assembly that the current situation in Chin State could be the “eve of yet another catastrophe, including a significant loss of innocent life and an even greater number of human rights violations.”
Given the escalations in Chin State and the country situation any returnee will be especially vulnerable, “presently, Chin State has little capacity for communication due to the internet blackout. A shoot on sight policy is being implemented in certain areas and over 40,000 people have fled across the border to India. Over 20,000 IDPs in the Mindat area are lacking food and vital aid due to the Junta’s blockades,” continued Za Uk.
For more information please contact:
Chin Human Rights Organization – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +95 9259169234/+91 8731046827