top of page
  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Press Conference on #TransnationalRepression Against Myanmar Refugees in Malaysia

📣 #StopTransnationalRepression - On 23 February 2024, Founder and Executive Director of Manushya Foundation, Emilie Palamy Pradichit spoke at a Press Conference  alongside James Bawi of Myanmar Ethnics Organisation, lawyer Andrew Khoo, and Adrian Pereira of North South Initiative (Moderator), hosted by ALTSEAN-Burma to discuss the role of the Malaysian government in transnational repression.

#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar? On 10 February 2024, the illegal junta enforced conscription under the 2010 People’s Military Service law. This is a desperate attempt to recover from coordinated attacks from armed resistance groups that are crippling the illegal junta’s military manpower. Fearing the death sentence of being conscripted, Myanmar will see a greater exodus of refugees to its neighbouring countries.

In 2023, Myanmar also imposed economic pressures on its citizens by enacting a law to tax nationals working overseas. Failure to pay impacts passport renewal, forcing individuals to become undocumented migrants - further exacerbating the issue.

A 21 year old at the press conference shared that he fled his country and sacrificed his dreams of becoming a doctor because he “didn’t want to be a student under a dictatorship” and “wouldn’t want to serve in the military and kill his own people”.

💔 “In Myanmar, they will be killed. But here (Malaysia), they will be arrested. So their choice is either to be killed or to be arrested, they rather get arrested” - Advocate James Bawi

Following the illegal junta’s new law, advocates fear increasing transnational repression by targeting political activists or dissenting voices outside Myanmar’s borders - raising questions about Malaysia’s own role in these human rights violations.

🥀 A harrowing case in Malaysia - On 4 July 2023, Thuzar Maung, a Myanmar pro-democracy and refugee activist, and family were abducted from their residence in Kuala Lumpur by masked men. To date, authorities have not released information regarding their investigations into the disappearance despite multiple requests made by the Burmese diaspora community. The seemingly lack of response from the Malaysian authorities coupled with other similar cases causes activists like Bawi to “feel vulnerable and unsupported”, fearing a similar fate to Thuzars’.

Emilie emphasised the necessity for Malaysians to hold their governments accountable, and ask questions about whether their sovereignty was being undermined. Highlighting the urgency of the situation, she stated, “Malaysia should continue being a place where people feel safe, it should not become a place where people feel unsafe. It is not normal that people have to hide because they are scared of being killed, just for asking for democracy”. 

Emilie also called for true solidarity with the Rohingya people: “How can a country claim solidarity against the genocide happening in Palestine but (has) double standards against the Islamic Rohingya?” She urged the media to practisepractice ethical journalism and to “Report them (real cases of refugee’s struggles), denounce the hate speech, and hold those responsible accountable.”

Our call to action

✊ At Manushya Foundation, we stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar, Burmese diaspora community, pro-democracy and refugee activists, protesters, and human rights defenders in their fight against the illegal junta! 

📢 We call on the Malaysian government to comply with customary international law and international human rights treaties it has ratified to guarantee the safety and protection of refugee activists and dissidents facing « Transnational Repression » on Malaysian soil. 

📖 Read the press statement here

#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings


bottom of page