By William Mathew
Jakarta, Jan. 10, 2010: Recently, the last week of December 2009, some neglected and discriminated Rohingya Burmese refugees managed to find a safe territory in the Indian Ocean.
The sea falls in Australian territory as at least 10 Burmese refugees from Malaysia were picked by Australian navy on 29 Dec 2009. These refugees were found by Australian petrol aircraft.
Reports confirmed that all of these refugees identified as Rohigya Burmese to whom no protection is awarded by concern UN Refugee Agency and thus sailing in Aussie territory after broke down engines.
One of them is Habiburahman (30) who is actively involved in Human Rights and Democratic Movement, able to speak well English. Beside him, another refugee rights activist Sayad Kasim is found very active in advocating the matter of suffering Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. Both of them are coordinators for a Malaysia based NGO known as Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC) and 1990s elected party leaders in exile regional office for South East Asia (National Democratic Party for Human Rights-NDPHR)
Report also confirmed that an hour later of the patrol aircraft found them in 22 miles away from Ashmore Island, at the after noon of the day; they were safely rescued by Navy-88. In-Charge officer Lt.Robert Wright and teams had warmly provided foods and inquest about health condition, on the boat.
After that they were handed over to custom ship (Ashmore Guardian ACV-110) and spent 3 days on the ship, they all were lifted to Christmas Island by Navy 87.
Finally, they all were moved to North West Point, Immigration detention centre of Christmas Island by kind cooperation of police, custom and immigration..
An acting monitor of the camp said that overall population of detainees in here make about 2000 and they are mostly from Sri Langka and Afghan and a few numbers from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Kuwait and Burma. Out of them, only 43 are Rohingya Burmese who recognized as genuine refugees by the UNHCR in Malaysia but compelled to flee there to escape inhumanity and to find a safe territory.
However the camp here is like a hotel, we never been have like this before and respected human rights and dignity and assessments. We get everything here like accommodation with air-condition and necessary machines like washing, refrigerator and others facilities like 3 times meals and extra diet foods, internet and library, playgrounds and games and toys, recreation centre, hot and cool shower, clothing and others…., said Habib.
Habib also explained that Rohigya refugees in Malaysia are victims of human rights abuses and marginalized in refugees quota due to existing unsettle problems of unavoidable circumstances in Burma. Due to lack of equal and fair treatment in UNHCR-mass Rohingya face more problems compare to others and mostly spent in arrest, detention and deportation; and sold out to human traffickers or border smugglers.
There is no mechanism for protection of refugees and sincere engagement by acting operation partners, as well as misinforming to stake holder parties by those actors. The worst is that Rohingyas are being used for various purposes with unworkable solution, which pave a role of conspiracy or exploitation. If not, why the problem still exists?
Although UNHCR new representative is substituted since 2009, UNHCR policy on Rohingya is found that Rohigya themselves to pave integration into possible society therefore Rohingya started moving to search possible territory in new regions by alternative way.
Habib affirmed that “I personally faced security problems and mostly spent in detention and deported in four occasions during spent in 10 years in Malaysia. that is why I planned to seek refuge in safe country. UNHCR, Indonesia is also recognize the refugees as migrants and handed over to International organization for Migration (IOM). IOM finally gave 2million Rupees and proposed to smuggle into Malaysia back. Thus I finally reached to here.”
A refugee representative in Serdang area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said they are lucky but we had been cheated and put the jungle for few days. Finally arrested by police and kept in police lock up of Banting for several days. We have only a way is this…..