Two years ago, around Christmas season, 117 Burmese Chin refugees were forced to move from their settlement in Kepong as authorities raided and burnt down their makeshift dwellings. Bad enough they raided it, but after the raid, they burnt down the refugees very simple huts to make sure thosw who escaped the raid had no home to return to. That was plain, outright nasty. Lulu, reading their plight, learnt a bit more about them, and responded to their call for help.
Browsing through the RM1.50 Weekend Star, there was one article in the main paper and two features by StarYouth on the Burmese refugees. There was a warmth in Lulu's heart for the refugees from Burma as she read the Sunday papers of their resillience and how they were coping in Malaysia.
Myanmar refugees celebrate will to survive
The Karens, Shan, Chins, Kachins, Mons and Arakans got together to celebrate their will and determination to survive, to demonstrate their continuing struggle for dignity and safety, and also to take this opportunity to highlight their situation.
“But we wanted to show solidarity and the spirit of co-operation among our ethnic brothers, as a people who share the same suffering,” - Chin refugee leader, Philemon Sang
Chance to learn
Lulu's bubble of happiness for them was burst by the actions of the hateful, brutal band of i-dont-know-which-adjective-to-use-on-them [but no need to give me suggestions-la] known as RELA.
228 Burmese Asylum Seekers and Refugees Arrested by RELA
SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) is informed that 228 asylum seekers and refugees from Burma were arrested in an operation by the Malaysian Immigration and RELA (People’s Voluntary Corps) raid today (25 June 2007). About 2.00am, the joint force raided the Chin Refugee Centre and Chin communities at Jalan Imbi and Jalan San Peng, Kuala Lumpur.
Most of the detainees are recognised as refugees by the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR). Among them, 30 people are underaged, 5 pregnant women and 10 people who will be sent to United State of America tomorrow for resettlement. Chin refugee leader, Philemon was also among those arrested.
For the time being, the 10 refugees who will be resettled to USA together with Philemon, have been released after pressure for Human Rights groups. Remaining 217 people had been sent to Semenyih detention camp.
Now a wave of sadness and grief fills Lulu's heart.
5 pregnant women
These people are NOT illegal immigrants, they have been forced to leave their countries because of persecution, torture and threat of death.
most are recognised as refugees by UNHCR
all, except 10 who are due for repatriation to the States on the next day, were sent to Semenyih detention camp.
who were persecuted in their homeland
who have been forced to leave their homeland
who have not known physical peace and security
Are we not a compassionate nation?
Can't we give them some hope?