Full Circle with the Rohingya

By Sarnata Reynolds

This week, in a stifling hot room in Malaysia filled with more than 50 Rohingya refugees, my own work with the community came full circle. I was sitting among dozens of people who had fled the very same displacement camps in Sittwe, Myanmar that I had visited twice before in 2012 and 2014. When I arrived in September 2012, Rohingya were still entering the camps and there was almost no clean water, food, or shelter. People were literally starving. It was the worst situation I had ever witnessed. 

A Return to Malaysia

By Ann Hollingsworth

Earlier this year, the world watched in both horror and sadness as thousands of desperate Rohingya who had fled persecution in Myanmar were abandoned on boats without food or water. As countless numbers died of dehydration and starvation each day, neighboring countries quarreled over who should take them in and how limited their assistance would be. Finally, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to accept up to 7,000 Rohingya, but only on the condition that they would be resettled out of their countries within a year. 

Partial Justice for Asylum Seekers in Australia

By Lynn Yoshikawa
On Wednesday, the High Court of Australia ruled that the government’s proposed deal to swap its asylum seekers with refugees in Malaysia was illegal. The court, which expedited the case after the deal went into effect in July, declared that Australia could not legally send asylum seekers to any country that lacked a legal framework for refugees and asylum seekers.

A Dangerous Trend: Violating the Asylum Principle

By Lynn Yoshikawa
Htun Kham, a Burmese refugee I met in Malaysia, told us he was arrested and sentenced to eight months in prison and two brutal cane lashes last year. He fell ill in the detention center but was denied medical assistance. Just after his release was secured by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), he suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, which he attributes to the stress and regular abuses he faced in detention.

This could very well be the fate of some of the 800 asylum seekers Australia is forcibly removing to Malaysia.

International Women’s Day: A Stateless Woman’s Story

By Melanie Teff
On International Women’s Day we celebrate women’s achievements and we push for further progress towards real equality. But a large group of women around the world are being shut out of enjoying any progress – women who have no citizenship of any country. Their statelessness means that no government protects their rights.

In Malaysia last week I met with Gultaz, who was 9 months pregnant and very scared. Her story illustrates the type of problems that many stateless women around the world face, forced to hide themselves away and unable to advance in their lives.

Burma: No Safe Place for Rohingya

By Sean Garcia
Word is just getting out that for the past month, the government of Thailand has been engaging in reckless behavior towards Burmese Rohingya refugees.  While the Thai government has never acknowledged the Rohingya as asylum seekers, they are now taking the extreme step of intentionally abandoning hundreds of them at a time in boats that they tow out to sea.  Already, over 300 Rohingya are missing, with new reports coming out every few days of new groups that have been pushed out by the Thai government. 

Burma: Rohingya Stranded in Malaysia

By Sean Garcia
In late November, just before Thanksgiving, we visited a group of 30 Rohingya men in Penang, Malaysia.  We were anxious to visit areas outside of Kuala Lumpur, where civil society is slowly improving services for Burmese refugees.  We wanted to see whether refugees nationwide were receiving more attention.

Malaysia: Crackdown on migrants threatens stateless people

By Camilla Olson
This recent report by Al Jazeera highlights the particular concerns of stateless people in Sabah, Malaysia. The Malaysian government has begun a new crackdown on illegal migrants in Sabah who are mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Street Children in Malaysia

By Camilla Olson

Al Jazeera English recently did a piece on street children in Sabah, Malaysia. You can view the clip here. I visited Sabah in April while on mission in Malaysia to look at the humanitarian situation for Burmese refugees. Sabah is a beautiful part of Malaysia that attracts many visitors who are interested in eco-tourism.

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