ASIA/MALAYSIA - United Nations High Commission for Refugees protects Burmese refugees in Malaysia

Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Kuala Lumpur (Fides Service) - To cope with the continuous flow of immigrants coming from Myanmar the government of Malaysia plans to clamp down on illegal immigrants. The operation will start when the present amnesty ends on 28 February. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR fears that in this operation thousands of refugees and asylum seekers may be arrested and deported. To enact the proposed clamp down the Malaysian government will use a force of 500,000 RELA voluntary civilians. To protect refugees and asylum seekers UNHCR has made informal agreements with both RELA and the Malaysian police. Moreover at its offices in Kuala Lumpur UNHCR has opened an operative station to monitor the situation and intends to intensify monitoring at all immigration centres. UNHCR is responsible for about 47,000 refugees in Malaysia people of different ethnic groups who have fled from Myanmar, others from the Indonesian province of Aceh and refugees from other countries.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/2/2005 righe 26 parole 260)