Thursday, June 13, 2013

Myanmars living in fear of clashes

Here to earn a living: A group of Myanmar nationals can be seen near Pasar Borong Selayang. Here to earn a living: A group of Myanmar nationals can be seen near Pasar Borong Selayang.
PETALING JAYA: The clashes among two factions of Myanmar nationals here is causing anxiety among workers, said NGOs.
A source from an NGO here, which works closely with Myanmar migrant workers, said the situation was “quite severe”.
“These workers are even afraid of staying in their own community now due to the clashes.
“Businesses are likely to be affected if this continues,” said the source who declined to be named.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia spokesman Yante Ismail there were least 200 refugees and asylum-seekers among the 1,000 Myanmarese nationals picked up by the police on Wednesday.
All of them were later released.
“UNHCR has been in touch with refugee communities through community leaders and directly through meetings with various refugee groups to caution them against committing any violence or being involved in any acts of violence committed by other groups,” she said.
Yante said the agency had been involved in the operation with the police to ensure that no refugees were detained.
According to the UNHCR, As of end April 2013, there were 94,760 refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar registered with UNHCR in Malaysia.
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingyas Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (Merhrom) president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani said many Myanmar nationalse here were becoming increasingly concerned about the tensions.
“Many are afraid to go out after their work hours, and I have noticed that police patrols are more frequent in areas in the city with a high number of Myanmar households,” he said.
Zafar Ahmad also called on Myanmar nationals in Malaysia not to condone clashes and violent acts here as it would affect diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“We should respect the laws and human rights principles of the country we are in, and therefore it is our responsibility to ensure the negative incidents in Myanmar do not spill over to the community here,” he said