Eight Indonesian illegal immigrants who scrambled over the walls of the U.S. Embassy last week in Malaysia made their plea for political asylum Monday with U.N. representatives investigating their claims.
The illegal aliens will remain under American protection until the U.N. probe is complete, said embassy spokesman Jim Warren."Some members of the U.N. High Commission have come over to unofficially talk to the asylum seekers, but they have not started the official process to determine whether they can qualify for refugee status," Warren said.
He said it could be days before the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugee office determines whether the men would face persecution if sent back to Indonesia.
Dozens of other Indonesians who claim to be from Aceh, a region in Indonesia seeking independence, also went to the Swiss, French and Brunei embassies Friday seeking political asylum.
They were handed over to police and will be shipped back to Indonesia with other illegal immigrants.
Gottfried Koefner, head of the UNHCR office in Malaysia, told the national news agency Bernama Monday that the U.N. agency had requested a meeting with the Malaysian Foreign Ministry and still needed to discuss "preliminary issues."
The men at the U.S. Embassy have been placed in a makeshift room on the embassy grounds.
"They're just hoping for asylum. That was their original demand and they haven't changed that," Warren said.
Human rights officials fear that some of the thousands of Indonesians already deported are political refugees who face persecution or death if sent home.