Friday, June 12, 2009

Malaysia transit point for asylum seekers

Source: radioaustralia
Malaysia has become a transit point for illegal migrants seeking refugee status in Australia.
Malaysian government sources say enforcements agencies are currently in talks with their Australian counterparts to find ways of reducing people trafficking.
Asylum seekers from Pakistan and Afghanistan are paying large sums of money to Malaysian traffickers to smuggle them into Australia.
Presenter: Desmond Ang Speakers:
Dr Amanullah Jayhoon, Afghanistan Ambassador to Australia; Kay Shan from Amnesty International
Listen: Windows Media
ANG: The road to asylum in Australia is, apparently, paved through Malaysia. Malaysia's Ministry of Home Affairs say since the start of the year, Pakistani and Afghan asylum seekers have travelled to Malaysia - to find illegal human traffickers who can smuggle them into Australia.
JAYHOON: It's a difficult situation. They were brought to Malaysia and Indonesia and they were stuck there. They would say that when they get to Australia or some other places they would be in a better position.
ANG: Afghanistan Ambassador to Australia Dr Amanullah Jayhoon says in some situations, refugees were deceived by traffickers.
JAYHOON: Some of the smugglers have vanished and some of them have been brought to Malaysia for the hope of sending them to Europe and that they were stuck in Malaysia.
ANG: The Home Ministry says refugees arrive in Malaysia on tourist visas, then enter Indonesia illegally, from where they are then smuggled into Australia. But their journey is perilous aboard vessels ill-equipped for the choppy waters. Malaysian maritime authorities estimate at least 12 people have drowned in the past 2 months in Malaysia's waters.
JAYHOON: When we see the tragedies, boat which was exploded, boats in Malaysia where Afghans have been drowned, causing a lot of tragedies and therefore we need a lot of cooperation in arresting these culprits and bring them into justice.
ANG: Malaysian officials say Indonesians, Afghan and Pakistani refugees form the bulk of immigrants caught trying to cross the border into Indonesia. The illegal immigrants are believed to have paid human traffickers in their home countries, who then arrange tourist visas for them. Kay Shan from Amnesty International.
SHAN: Definitely this makes the situation worse in terms of migrant refugee's rights because they're fleeing for their safety against a particular abuser or prosecution from their country and then they come to a third country and then again they're subjected to another form of torture or even exploitation. I think then again right from the beginning to the end they continue to suffer human rights violation, this is another form of human rights violation that the government should be prepared to look into.
ANG: NGOs in Malaysia know very little about these human trafficking scams, but Kay Shan feels this could be due to Malaysia's foreign policy.
SHAN: We believe theres a lot of cases out there where people are leaving voluntarily, secretly from Malaysia to Indonesia because the neighbouring country's close and definitely to other countries like Australia. I think it exists because when they come into Malaysia they come into a vacuum where they lose their rights and their freedom to move and protection, that's why they have to find a way out .
ANG: Mr Shan says Malaysia does not recognise refugees.
He says anyone caught entering Malaysia illegally is deported or placed in a detention centre. Malaysia has stepped up patrols along its coast recently - deploying helicopters, boats and an aircraft in response to the increase in illegal immigrants.

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