Burmese refugees in Malaysia are living in "severe and desperate poverty and deprivation", and face exploitation, abuse and "the widespread risk of arrest, detention, severe mistreatment including caning, and subsequent deportation by the Malaysian authorities", according to a new report released by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today. CSW representatives returned last week from a fact-finding visit to Malaysia and the Thailand-Burma border with first-hand testimonies of forced labor, rape, torture, land confiscation and religious persecution. The delegation met Burmese refugees from several ethnic groups in Malaysia, and visited Internally Displaced People inside Burma and Karen refugees in Thailand. CSW interviewed Kachin civil society groups and Burmese Buddhist monks who had fled the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in September last year. The delegation also met with Padoh Mahn Sha Hla Phan, General Secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU), three days before he was assassinated by gunmen believed to be acting under orders from Burma’s military regime.