News / Asia

    In Malaysia, Refugee Arrivals From Burma Strain Resources

    In Malaysia, Refugee Arrivals From Burma Strain Resourcesi
    X
    November 27, 2013 5:01 PM
    Malaysia is home to an estimated 30,000 Muslim refugees from Burma. Most are from the Rohingya ethnic group, which the United Nations has described as the world’s most persecuted minority. But an influx of new Muslim refugees fleeing bloodshed in Burma’s Rakhine state is adding even more strain on this community and its limited resources. Mahi Ramakrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur.
    Malaysia is home to an estimated 30,000 Muslim refugees from Burma. Most are from the Rohingya ethnic group, which the United Nations has described as the world’s most persecuted minority. But an influx of new Muslim refugees fleeing bloodshed in Burma’s Rakhine state is adding even more strain on this community and its limited resources.

    Some of the Muslim refugees from Burma have been in Malaysia for 20 years.

    Community activists believe that several thousand more have arrived in the past year-and-a-half, fleeing anti-Muslim violence in the state of Rakhine. Most of them are from the Rohingya ethnic group.

    But other Burmese Muslims, who are not Rohingya, said they too had no choice but to make the perilous sea journey to Malaysia.

    Raahimah Nur Boshur said some of her relatives were killed when a mob burnt down her village.

    “There was no way we could stay. The only way we could save our lives was to leave the country, to escape anywhere. We lost everything,” she said.

    The recent influx is straining the community’s already limited resources.  Muslim charities help out with food donations. And the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, provides various aid and issues the asylum seekers cards identifying them as refugees.

    But Malaysia has not ratified the U.N. convention on refugees, leaving these people in a legal limbo.

    They are unable to send their children to state schools or work legally.
    Social activist Irene Fernandez said this made them extremely vulnerable.

    “They are deemed to be undocumented by all enforcement agencies. Even when they go and try and get a job, they are going to be in a very exploitative situation because the employers know they cannot seek redress,” said Fernandez.

    The Malaysian government recently said it would consider issuing work permits to the refugees.

    Mohammad Sadek, a Rohingya community leader, welcomed the idea but said the refugees would still need significant help from the U.N.

    “The U.N. agencies should not stop its obligations, and the U.N. agencies should continue its facilities to resettle them to other countries and to extend financial assistance, medical assistance, and other necessary initiatives for the welfare of refugees," he said.

    Most of the refugees said they would be happy to settle in Malaysia if the government would ever consider absorbing them into this mainly Muslim society.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora