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.
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.