THE plight of Burmese refugees is being highlighted in NO REFUGE: Burmese Refugees in Malaysia, an exhibition featuring the works of award-winning photojournalists Halim Berbar from France, Simon Wheatley (UK), Greg Constantine (USA), Zhuang Wubin (Singapore) and Rahman Roslan from Malaysia.
The event is organised by The Annexe Gallery and human rights organisation Suaram.
The ill-treatment of refugees in Malaysia is a problem that the government has routinely ignored despite the issue being highlighted by local and international press and human rights groups. As Malaysia is not a signatory of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, refugees are not accorded any rights in this country and are subject to abuses.
Forced to hide in crammed apartments or makeshift encampments in forests, refugees live in constant fear of being detained by police, immigration officers and Rela volunteers. Those caught are often abused, extorted for money, or sent to overcrowded and unhygienic detention centres. Sometimes they are sold to human traffickers as slaves or sex workers.
Between 2002 and 2008, more than 4,800 Burmese were whipped for immigration offences. Last year, 812 Burmese children were detained in immigration detention centres.
NO REFUGE will be officially launched by Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago at 8pm on 15 Oct 2009 at The Annexe Gallery in Central Market in Kuala Lumpur. The opening will also mark the launch of a petition campaign to get the Malaysian government to recognise refugees and to sign the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Parts of the proceeds from the sale of photographs will be channeled to Suaram’s campaign for refugee rights.
NO REFUGE will be held until 25 Oct. Admission is free. There will also be a talk by photographers and activists on 18 Oct at 3pm, on their experiences working with refugees and documenting their troubles. For more information, visit www.annexegallery.com.
Photos and captions in this picture gallery were provided by The Annexe Gallery.
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