If you think you are unfortunate, read their stories. This is a beautiful blog. My friend Alice Nah alerted me to it, and I am speechless.

Fifty Refugees” tells the stories of those 50, ages ranging from infants to grandparents, of men, women and children, from varied backgrounds, from 3 different countries and 10 different ethnicities.

If you think our spaces are limited because we have no voice to speak our minds, theirs is a heartwrenching story of detention, abuse, fear, neglect, and humiliation.

Yet, if you think you will be depressed and dejected after reading their stories, you are wrong. Coz theirs are stories of “resilience, courage, hope and love as well”.

These are stories of “normal human beings, of flesh and blood, hopes and dreams, like you and me”.

READ also the message from Aris Oziar, who has been working on this website (inside). And my rather ‘depressing’ poem “With an earth like this, who needs hell”. Felt like I had refugees in mind when I wrote those lines.

Dear Malaysian Bloggers,

My name is Aris Oziar. For the past three months I have been working on a website project called FiftyRefugees. As the name implies, it chronicles the story of 50 refugees who currently call Malaysia their home.

This project is part of the 50-44 Merdeka Coalition (www.50-44.org ), a group of local NGOs who will conduct an alternative celebration of Merdeka in September after the official celebrations have died down. NGOs in their respective fields will touch on various issues, highlighting migrants, refugees, Orang Asli, the urban poor, race and religion etc.

Malaysia does not recognise the Geneva Refugee Convention, and partly as a result of this (we have other legal avenues to give them rights, such as IMM13 but the government has refused to act), Refugees in Malaysia who cross the border illegally or whose visa has lapsed are classified as Illegal Immigrants, subject to arrest and detention by the police, RELA and Immigration. They have restricted access to healthcare services and the children cannot go to government schools, effectively denying them education

As a Malaysian, I am outraged to hear their stories of Malaysia – 3 years of detention or living in makeshift jungle campsfear of arrest. Stories of a 6 year old girl whose last visit to town was 4 years ago (the mother is too afraid to bring her out), and her 55 year old father who eventually died because the police took all their money the one time they were desperate enough to go to the hospital to treat his illness. And of course, of the Malaysian immigration authorities dumping them across the border in Thailand, where they are rounded up by agents and either pay these agents to get back to Malaysia , or face slave labour – the men in fishing boats and the women, probably sold to the sex trade. jungle due to

I want average Malaysians to know. To know that refugees do exist in Malaysia . To know that they braved a dangerous journey to Malaysia to escape atrocities in their own country. To know that most of them live a margnal life, often exploited, almost always in fear.

We have tasted independence for the past 50 years. And yet, today, there are still people in this country who have none.

Please, if you have time, write about this issue or perhaps mention www.fiftyrefugees.wordpress.com . Malaysians read your blogs. I want them to know.

Warmest regards
arisoziar@yahoo.com

23 responses »

  1. arifabdull says:

    50? i doubts Malaysia is 50 years in 2007.

  2. oA says:

    .

    Malaysia has good record of no decency to treat fellow humans well – thanks to the advent of policies by dpm’s father.

    Everything about the policies set people in a hallucinative – delusional modes.

    One of the modes was to spill and “bathe in the blood of others” – the imaginary enemies within.

    .

  3. luclai says:

    susan, this is very timely post. i was about to mention something about the rohyingas refugees in langkawi. you see, we (one of the church group – the social arm of the catholic church) heard of their plight, where they have only 2 miserable meal a day and we intend to visit them one day to give them a good meal of chicken.

    actually their story is also kind of sad story but i fear some parts shouldn’t be mentioned as it is quite sensitive.

    well this would be a good time for me to intro fiftyrefugees blog when i mentioned about our work.

  4. luclai says:

    oops sorry. wrong spelling
    rohyingas = rohingyas

  5. kittykat46 says:

    Malaysia selectively condemns some other countries’ policies with regard to treatment of refugees.

    It has steadfastly refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. And refused to recognise the status of those accorded UNHCR refugee status. Many are simply deported as illegal immigrants.

    But its very difficult for NGOs and voluntary organisations to help them. Anyone who helps shelter an illegal alien is strictly speaking also breaking the law.

    I’m involved with people who do a lot of work helping the less fortunate in society, but will not step over the line to get involved with such refugees.

    Who will hear their cries ? I don’t know.

  6. confidante7 says:

    it is a good think that malaysians have awareness and make action to help out those who are in need. Despite different religion and races we have our ways of helping the one in need.

    My question in Malaysians …do we need to send money to the orphan and those far away only. How about asking people just around you or getting connected to people around us?

    How about contributing to the closer ones like parents, far relatives , relatives or friends. im sure there are the unfortunate one first.

    As they said..dont give the fish but teach them to fish.

    I find malaysians are lacking in making a stand and fight for the truth. to the one have spoken and make differences…keep going!

  7. notsosmart says:

    This is the problem with the no-interference policy of the ASEAN.
    Time have changed, we should change.
    The World have gone mad. The world of the rich and powerful are dictating. The rich and the powerful in the country are in control.
    This the era of MONEY and POWER.
    We have not understand the purpose of our existence and forgotten our responsibility to mankind and nature.
    Just like history before us. We will self-destruct and extincted in this planet. Doesn’t matter if you are the rich and powerful.
    Do we deserve this punishment?
    We must wake up now and change the course of history.

  8. wits0 says:

    “no-interference policy” = in actuality, an appeasement stance of the complicit weak, self-interested and/or unsure about what’s right and wrong, hence this fall-back to a whimpish state of institutional POS.

    At least, then, certain select elites can have a prolonged good life in an enriching vocation while appearing also to be champions of humanity – when they are certainly not! The persistence of “Order” above righteousness prolongs the anguish and suffering of hapless and nameless citizens under the oppression of wicked regimes.

    Political-correctness is simply an euphemism for the double speak that enables rogue leaders all over the globe and makes needed correction near impossible.

    Asean is already long Ass-seen, if you care to look closer.

    Irene Fernandez spoke for the inhuman treatment of the illegals but the state chose to peresecute her and were the public were to depend totally on the obfuscating MSM, she may well be as forgotten as the dinosaur by now.

  9. monsterball says:

    SUSAN….Are you reorganizing ‘Free Speech Zone”?

  10. kittykat46 says:

    I have a question for our readers.
    What would you suggest as a solution ?

    a. “Destabilise” Burma ?
    b. “Regime change” ?
    c. Sanctions Lite ?
    d. Comprehensive sanctions ?
    e. Stop doing business with Burma ?
    f. “Constructive engagement ?”

    CIA tried “a” with Cuba.
    Bush tried “b” with Iraq
    Europe and US already does “c” with Burma – the Thugs just thumb their noses.
    China will veto “d” in the Security Council
    Definitely can do “e”, but Singapore will instantly go for the contracts
    ASEAN already doing “f” look how far its got.

    Any other ideas ?

  11. wits0 says:

    Whatever, Kittykat46, but f. “Constructive engagement ?” takes the pot in the LMAO process.

  12. Free Spirit says:

    On the issue of refugees, Malaysia has consistently refused to be a signatory to the 1954 U.N. Convention on Refugees and have withheld its signature from the 1967 U.N. Protocol on refugees – an expanded version of the 1954 U.N. Convention, and for good reasons.

    Of the refugees who seek asylum from persecution in their own countries only those who come under S. 101(a)(42)(A) would qualify. They would have first to meet the five statutory grounds i.e. reasonable fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

    Most of the refugees reaching Malaysian shores or crossing her borders would not be able to prove “reasonable fear of persecution” on accounts of these five statutory grounds as requited under the U.N. 1967 Protocol on Refugees.

    The Vietnamese boat people of the 70s would qualify and so those fleeing genocide and the Pol Pot regime. Not all refugees fleeing their countries would qualify to stay or be repatriated to other countries willing to accept them. Since Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1954 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, Malaysia is free to handle the refugee problem as she thinks fit – and invariably this means deportation to back where they came from and at the expense of those countries involved. Who can blame Malaysia for doing that?

    Even without the asylum laws which countries who are signatories to the 1967 U.N. Protocol are legally obliged to follow, Malaysia has been swamped by refugees from neighbouring Indonesia who are nothing more than economic refugees – and would not qualify for temporary or permanent residence anywhere and not just Malaysia.

    Many of these refugees find their way to countries in Europe, Middle East, USA, Japan, Korea and recently China. Often Malaysia is not their first choice. Only the uneducated and the very poor would make their way to Malaysia in small boats. They are economic refugees and would not qualify under the United Nations asylum laws anywhere they go.

    Let us not mistake this for the human rights issue. Many of these refugees are kept in refugee camps and in conditions reminiscent of the Middle Ages. That is inhumane. They are the responsibility of the UNHRC.

  13. monsterball says:

    Free Spirit….Great piece!
    Perhaps those Human Rights Activists can give us their opinions on your message..

  14. wits0 says:

    Are you the real one here, Monsterball@5.30pm? Isn’t that Raja now as Free Spirit on his/her round? Haha!

  15. monsterball says:

    yes witsO….I don’t know that illusionist …changing his nick like a thick skinned idiot…but when an idiot put out a sensible message..lets forget who that Raja is for the time being.
    Lets read message one at a time and judge what is that commentator ulterior motives…..but you maybe right.
    Please keep a sharp pair of eyes and correct me …if I am wrong. Thanks.

  16. monsterball says:

    witsO…I still love to read comments from Human Rights Activists on what was written by “Free Spirit”

  17. wits0 says:

    Right, Monty, no harm if you care to read his stuff but with his motive in doubt, I would rather garner the facts wrt the law on the matter from more reliable sources….if and when I need to.

    I think the bottom line is either there’s something wrong with such laws or their implementation that raises the angst and concern of the Human Rights Activists.

    I note that this “Free Spirit” made, e.g., no mention of the scandal of RMN’s dragging the sinking boat of the boat people back to the high sea and leaving them to drown or the known rumours of its personnel alleged crime of robbing, raping and murdering such. Rumours though they be but they have never be cleared over the decades.

    So if those laws were inadequate, it’s really up to the people to change them. Laws are man-made to serve humanity not to enable easy, lazy governance. Until the populace understand that human rights and integrity is their birthright and responsibility, all their chosen partisan leaning means nothing of real worth to hmanity at large.

    People can’t claim to be truly “proud of my nation”, if they lack such concerns or care little for their government’s integrity, but only their own warm and cosy lifestyle. What’s the worth of blind and deaf “loyalists”?

  18. monsterball says:

    witsO…Now an govt. idiot finally is able to identify political bloggers away from others…..and said political bloggers are the ones disuniting the people.
    Slow to learn…but they do learn….don’t they?
    Strange …not one Human Rights Activist specializing on injustices done to humans is interested to put a comment to “Free Spirit” messages.
    So many types you know…animals…nature…climates…but plenty are fighting for justices and fair play for humans….what are their views?
    But his Royal Highness…The Prince Of Perak said all that need to be said yesterday.

  19. anoymous says:

    hey OA did the dpm,s father really said the he wants to bath in the blood of others? i remember the show blade2 showing the lord domaskino, true pwer of the vampire nation bathe in blood after eating iced blood. Any relations ah?

  20. Louison says:

    if you can not read this message, please click on this link http://www.mobilize-humanity.org/home_eng.htm

    how can I help them ?
    Sign the petition
    read more
    who are they ?
    Contacts
    Mensaje en Espanol
    jkpo;

    Tamil
    Message en français

    ****TO HELP THESE IMPRISONED FAMILIES****
    PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS

    I CELEBRATED MY THIRD BIRTHDAY IN JAIL

    My name is Nanthini,

    I am 3 years old,

    I am a Tamil from Sri Lanka,

    I have lived with my mother and my elder brother Raja,

    in jail in Bangkok for 3 months,

    My father is also here, but I never see him,

    My mother tells me he stays in another cell.

    Nanthini’s story is both extraordinary and common.

    It is the story of a small girl whose parents, because they were facing a life threatening situation in their country, made the difficult choice to exile themselves and ask for international protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (UNHCR).

    Raja, Nanthini and their parents were arrested 3 months ago in Thailand and have been sleeping in jail in Bangkok since that time, without any hope of release and fearing a deportation towards their native country where their lives are endangered.

    Totally, there are

    > 15 families

    > 92 Sri Lankan and 9 Nepalese

    > 69 refugees et 32 asylum seekers

    > 31 children including 22 less than 10 years old and 14 less than 6 years old

    Detained in the immigration detention centre of Bangkok.

    Because Thailand did not sign the Geneva Convention relating to refugees rights, all these families and people are considered as illegal immigrants and can be kept for an undetermined duration of detention or deported.

    TOGETHER,

    Let us request UNHCR,

    whose mandate is to ensure the protection

    of refugees and asylum seekers,

    to implement the existing emergency measures

    to allow these detained families and people an

    emergency

    resettlement in one country

    where their basic rights will be respected

    SIGN THE PETITION !

    FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE

    VISIT OUR WEBSITE : http://www.mobilize-humanity.org

    ON BEHALF OF THE DETAINEES,

    VERY BIG THANKS!!!

    LOUISON,

    Let’s Mobilize Humanity Against Human Rights’ Violations

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  22. […] 50 refugees Posted on July 6, 2008 by sanooaung 50 refugees […]

  23. […] I find malaysians are lacking in making a stand and fight for the truth. to the one have spoken and make differences…keep going! notsosmart said, on August 4th, 2007 at 6:08 pm […]

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