Myanmar Mon refugees celebrate their National Day in KL

Since 2001, the Mon Refugees Organisation in Kuala Lumpur have been celebrating the Mon State National  day.   The  Mon State is one the 7 ethnic  minorities State in Myanmar  which has suffered much from military intervention  by the Junta Government of Myanmar over  the past 2 decades resulting in massive numbers of ethnic minorities fleeing their war torn states into Thailand and Malaysia.

Nai Thy Wonna, Chairman of the Mon Refugees Organisation in KL
Nai Thy Wonna, Chairman of the Mon Refugees Organisation in KL

Today it is estimated that there are more than 100,000 refugees from these 7 states living in Malaysia.   The Coalition of Burma Ethnics Malaysia (COBEM) is the umbrella organisation comprising of representatives from each of the 7 states .

Refugees are protected and given certain rights under the United Nations  High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Charter.  Unfortunately Malaysia is not a signatory to this Charter and as such refugees in Malaysia have no legal protection whatsoever and may be arrested, detained and deported.   

However,  refugees who have been registered with the UNHCR are accorded minimal protection and on humanitarian grounds allowed to live here in Malaysia.  Local Malaysian NGOs, religious groups and the public also rally to provide minimal facilities and donations to assist these refugees.

This year, on June 1st, the Mon Refugees Organisation will be the celebrating the 66th Mon National Day at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall from 2pm to 6 pm and all Malaysian are welcomed to join them in this celebration.

Citizen journalists from CJMY visited a private Mon school in Kuala Lumpur to find out more about the Mon National Day celebrations.

Map of Myanmar showing the 7 Ethnic Minority States
Map of Myanmar showing the 7 Ethnic Minority States
3 ten year old Mon kids practising a dance which they will perform at the 66th National Day celebration
3 ten year old Mon kids practising a dance which they will perform at the 66th National Day celebration
Mon children at a makeshift school in Kuala Lumpur
Mon children at a makeshift school in Kuala Lumpur