On my research missions to Myanmar and to Bangladesh, I have met so many Rohingyas who suffered terrible abuses at the hands of the NaSaKa border force and whose everyday lives were blighted by their fear of it. In our reports, Refugees International has repeatedly demanded that the NaSaKa be reined in, and so we welcome President Thein Sein's announcement that this notorious force is being disbanded.
Last month in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Mohammed al-Huraisi, a stateless street vendor, died after lighting himself on fire. His act of protest came after months of harassment and extortion by Saudi authorities, who refused to issue a permit for his a watermelon stand. So far, however, Mohammed’s tragic death has been virtually ignored by the international community, and the larger issue of Saudi statelessness remains virtually unknown outside the Gulf.
Q: When RI visited Rohingya internally displaced people (IDPs) in 2012 and 2013, they were under a great amount of stress, with inadequate food, medical care, or shelter. Some had no shelter whatsoever. In December 2012, UN Under Secretary General Valerie Amos said that the camps as some of the worst she had ever seen. You visited the Rohingya people in November 2012 and February 2013. Can you describe the conditions you observed?
This post originally appeared on UN Dispatch.
This week at the first-ever Conference for the Stateless in Kuwait, I met Omran Al-Garashi. Since 1982, he has been arrested 15 times for his human rights activism. He took on many issues, one of which was the right of more than 100,000 stateless Kuwaitis to nationality. As a citizen, he technically had the right to freedom of speech, but in reality this was not the case. Instead, fighting for the rights of Kuwait’s stateless brought him a step closer to their experience.
By Isabel Rutherfurd, Refugees International Intern
Speaking to Burmese in Yangon last December, I heard a lot of cautious optimism and relief about the reforms inspired by the government’s transition to democracy.
This article originally appeared in The Bangkok Post.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been more successful in mobilising Myanmar's people for change than any figure in recent history. Through her perseverance, she convinced her compatriots that with time, effort and unity of purpose, reform really was possible. The odds were long, but eventually she won and was proved right.
Exactly one year ago, a historic summit took place in Geneva on the rights of refugees and stateless people. On December 9, 2011, the United States and 154 other nations met to discuss the importance of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions. But what made the conference historic was not the debate, but the pledges.