난민 인정 받은 소모뚜 씨

“두 나라 민주화.인권 위해 힘쓸 것”

(서울=연합뉴스) 양태삼 기자 = “우리가 대한민국의 인권과 버마(미얀마)의 인권을 위해 실천해왔기에 이런 판결이 나온 것이라고 생각합니다. 정의가 살아 있다는 것을 확인했습니다.”
미얀마 출신의 인권활동가인 소모뚜(36)씨는 난민 지위를 불허한 법무부 결정에 대한 대법원 최종심에서 이겨 법무부로부터 곧 난민인정결정서를 받는다.

   법무부가 ‘미얀마에서 민주화 활동이 소극적이었고 귀국해도 처벌받지 않을 것’이라며 그의 난민 신청을 2009년 기각하자 그는 그해 ‘난민인정 결정 불허결정 처분 취소’ 청구 소송을 법원에 제기해 1심에서 패소했으나 작년 11월 2심에선 승소했다.

   그는 3일 연합뉴스와 만나 “우리 활동이 소극적이었고, 미얀마에 가더라도 위험하지 않으리라는 것은 잘못된 것”이라며 “지금도 반정부 만화를 블로그에 올리는 것만으로도 15년 감옥형을 선고받는 미얀마의 상황에서 한국 정부의 그같은 판단은 나름대로 열심히 살았다고 자부한 우리에 대한 모욕”이라고 말했다.

   그는 2004년 불법체류 노동자들의 농성 과정에서 동료와 함께 ‘버마행동 한국’을 창립, 매달 한번씩 미얀마 대사관 앞에서 회원들과 함께 시위를 하거나 유인물을 나눠주며 ‘민주화 운동’을 벌이고 있다.

   이들은 1988년 집권한 미얀마의 현 정부가 국호를 미얀마로 바꾸자 이에 반대하고 정체성을 지킨다는 뜻에서 ‘버마’라는 옛 이름을 고수하고 있다.

   그는 “대한민국도 군사독재 시절을 겪었고, 우리 같은 사람도 있었는데 그걸 왜 이해하지 못하는 지 서운했다”며 “이번 확정 판결로 정의가 있다는 것을 확인했다”고 말했다.

   나아가 “버마행동은 버마의 민주화를 위해 활동하는 단체이지만 지금 우리가 살고 있는 곳도 인권과 민주화가 제대로 되길 원한다”며 “인권을 무시하는 정부는 모두 항의대상이다”고 말했다.

   그는 난민으로 인정받은 후 활동에 대해 “지금까지 해온 그대로 앞으로 활동할 것”이라며 “다만 앞으로 해외 여행을 할 수 있으니 활동 무대를 국제적으로 넓히는 방안을 모색중”이라고 말했다.

   이주노동자로 구성된 음악밴드 ‘스톱 더 크랙다운(Stop the Crackdown)’의 보컬과 기타를 맡은 그는 “세계 2억명이 넘는 이주민에게 희망과 용기를 줄 수 있는 음악을 만드는 밴드로 키워 나갈 것”이라고 말했다.

   그는 “이주민이라도 기죽을 필요 없이 인권과 노동권을 보장받고, 당장 어렵고 힘들어도 살아갈 길이 있다는 것을 알려주고 싶다”며 “우리가 무대에 오르듯 이주민도 무대의 주인공이 될 수 있다는 메시지를 전하고 싶다”고 말했다.

   1995년 여행 비자로 한국에 온 그는 미등록 이주 노동자로 지내다 2004년 난민 신청을 했다. 버마행동한국에 속한 다른 회원 7명도 소모뚜 씨와 함께 이번 소송에서 이겨 난민 인정 결정서를 받는다.

   소모뚜 씨의 소송을 맡았던 공익변호사 그룹 공감의 황필규 변호사는 “불법체류자가 난민으로 둔갑해서는 안되지만 이번에 보듯이 6년간 데모를 해야 난민으로 인정받는다면 한국이 난민 인정에 너무 야박하고 인색한 게 아닌가 싶다”고 말했다.

   한편 법무부 국적ㆍ난민과 관계자는 “대법원의 판결문을 아직 받지 못했기 때문에 난민 인정 증명서를 언제쯤 발급해 줄 지 알 수 없다”고 말했다.

  
(이주노동자방송국 사무실서 포즈를 취한 소모뚜 씨)
tsyang@yna.co.kr

Originally published at : http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin/2011/03/03/0200000000AKR20110303092700069.HTML?did=1179m

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Refugees from Burma Warned of HIV Risks in Malaysia

HIV Camgigns in Malaysia(Source:AP)

01 March 2011:

 

A grave concern has been raised among refugee communities in Malaysia as an increasing number of people from Burma have been tested HIV-positive.

 

More than 400 refugees from Burma were estimated to be HIV-infected, of which about 200 were Chin, according to Malaysian Health Care source as quoted by Kuala Lumpur-based Seihnam newsletter late last year.

During an interview about Chin refugees in Malaysia, Chin Refugee Committee (CRC), a community-based volunteer organisation, stressed that the number of HIV-infected refugees is sadly on the increase although the exact number is not known.

“In attempts to respond to this issue, CRC finally puts up efforts in making a shelter for HIV patients, and raises fund for HIV shelters on donation basis. Awareness for HIV patients was also made through HIV Live Aid Concert in 2010,” added CRC Coordinator.

The Alliance of Chin Refugees (ACR), comprised of 17 Chin communities, said health seminars are conducted to educate refugees and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and other common diseases that effect the refugee community.

Staff members from the UN sometimes come and teach our chidlren, mostly under the age of 16, about health education including HIV/AIDS awareness, said Chairman of Chin Student Organisation (CSO) in Malaysia. 

The actual population of HIV-infected refugees from Burma in Malaysia could be much higher than we have known so far as there are still many refugees without the UNHCR registration cards or legal documents who do not happen in this case to get checked up, according to one of the Chin community leaders in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Some allegedly ascribe the ‘undisciplined alcoholic drinking’ practices of Chin refugee men and its negative consequences to the main possible triggers behind the surge in HIV-infected numbers while others relate to a complete lack of knowledge and education on the disease since they were in Chin State, one of the least developed States in Burma.

“Most of the problems including anti-social behaviour, theft, physical assaults, alcohol-related and family issues are committed by those from rural villages in remote parts of Chin State. In Burma, they didn’t go to school and didn’t have education. Hence, they lack in common sense and understanding,” admitted Chairman of Chin Disciplinary Action Committee (CDAC), a community-based body tasked with tackling domestic issues that cause problems to the Chin community in Malaysia.

A report by UNFPA (United Nations Populationo Fund) Myanmar last year said the estimated number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) between 15 to 49 years of age is 230,000 in 2009, of which 35 percent were female.

More than an estimated 45,000 Chin refugees from Burma are currently stranded in Malaysia after fleeing brutalities and various forms of repressions by the military dictatorship in their native places along the Indian-Burma border.

 

Source : www.chinlandguardian.com

 

 

Chin Refugees Get Surprise Visit from UN Rights Expert

UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintan (Photo:CHRO)

26 February 2011: The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma Tomas Quintana made an unannounced trip to Malaysia last week, meeting with Chin community-based organizations and hearing personal stories of human rights abuses from individual refugees.

The visit to Malaysia came ahead of Quintana’s upcoming report to the Human Rights Council in March, where the UN rights expert is likely to raise human rights issues specific to the Chins. The visit coincided with the celebration of the 63rd anniversary of Chin National Day that saw the largest festive gathering of ethnic Chins outside of Chin State.

The Argentinian lawyer spent four days in the Malaysian capital, including a two-day meeting with refugees and community-based organizations. He also met with the Malaysian Foreign Ministry as part of his ongoing mandate to address the human rights situation in Burma.

“During my visit I talked to many people who had recently left Myanmar [Burma] fleeing forced labor, land and property confiscation, arbitrary taxation, religious and ethnic discrimination, arbitrary detention, as well as sexual and gender-based violence,” Quintana said.

The rights expert interviewed a dozen individual Chin refugees whose testimonies added further evidence to the long list of ongoing persecution and widespread human rights abuses against ethnic Chins in western Burma. Among the testimonies was the case of a young man who fled the country after 15 years of portering and forced labor for the military. Another prominent Chin woman religious leader testified about the systematic denial of religious freedom for Chin Christians, including one particular incident in which she was forced to read a statement at a televised event denying allegations of restrictions on freedom of religion, against her will.

“We are very pleased that the Special Rapporteur took notice of the situation of the Chins, and made a special effort to visit the Chin community in Malaysia. We hope that the Chin will be the focus of his next report to the UN Human Rights Council,” said Salai Bawi Lian Mang, Executive Director of the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO), who also met with the Special Rapporteur during his visit to Malaysia last week.

In January the CHRO participated in a lobby mission to Geneva during  the Universal Periodic Review, where Burma’s rights record for the past four years was examined by the UN Human Rights Council. During the visit to Geneva, CHRO also met with officials at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the various Special Procedues mandate holders, including staff working with Tomas Quintana.

Burma’s Problems Transcend National Borders

At the end of his eight-day visit to Malaysia the UN rights expert concluded: “There is clearly an extra-territorial dimension to the human rights problem in Myanmar [Burma]. Despite the promise of the transition in Myanmar [Burma], the human rights situation remains grave.” He said that countries in the region have a particular interest in addressing the human rights problems in Burma, as hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrant workers continue to spill into neighboring countries.

Country Visit Denied

The fourth rights expert to be appointed by the United Nations to report on the situation of human rights in Burma since the mandate was instituted in 1992, Tomas Ojea Quintana has made three country visits to Burma. In his last report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2010, Quintana infuriated the ruling Burmese generals by calling for the establishment of a UN-led Commission of Inquiry that would investigate allegations of crime against humanity and war crimes being committed in Burma. Official requests for a fourth visit to Burma have not yet been given a positive response by Burma’s ruling military regime.


Source:http://www.chinlandguardian.com/news-2009/1217-chin-refugees-get-surprise-visit-from-un-rights-expert.html