Refugees


A two-month-old baby was among 78 illegals from Myanmar who were found crammed in a small wooden vessel shortly after it reached the shores of Penang in Teluk Bahang here.
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As Lashio town became a refuge for thousands of people fleeing fighting between the government and Kokang rebels around Laukkai on the Chinese border in February and March, religious and community leaders rallied to provide aid and shelter in monasteries, schools and other buildings.
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As of January 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia has registered 151,770 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, with the majority coming from Myanmar.
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Pusaka Benjina Resources, the fishing company at the centre of a recent Indonesian government crackdown, has denied allegations of slavery even after an investigation revealed it had forced hundreds of foreign workers including Myanmar migrants into physical labour, reports the Jakarta Globe on April 15.
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Five asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Iran have agreed to be among the first to leave the Pacific island nation of Nauru for Cambodia under a deal that allows refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the Southeast Asian country, a refugee advocate said Monday. (more…)

The Burmese civil society is “divided” over the issue of citizenship for Rohingya refugees mostly lodged in Bangladesh, a Myanmar political analyst has said in a Dhaka conference.
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“Bangladesh should appoint a PR in Myanmar for improving relations,” Khin Zaw Win says, “and solve refugee issue using third party, UN or others”. (more…)

This week in Myanmar the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw passed a law that gives regional governments the right to restrict how many children a woman has, legally enshrining a human rights breach found in few other countries in the world – with the notable exception of China.
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Temporary identity cards, also known as white cards, expired on 31 March and should be returned to the authorities by the card holders, said U Khin Soe, the director of the Arakan State Immigration Department.
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A devastating fire in a refugee camp in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son has left over 600 homeless and in need of immediate assistance.
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The Myanmar authorities have collected about 40,000 temporary identification cards from displaced and stateless Rohingya Muslims in restive Rakhine State, part of the process of applying for citizenship, reports Radio Free Asia on April 6.
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Relief workers have temporarily stopped their work at a relief camp in Kunlong Township because no IDPs from Laukkaing Township remain there, sources from the relief agencies say.
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Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) returned 514 Rohingyas including 319 men, 129 women and 68 children to Burma in the month of March, 2015, according to Abu Rasel Siddique the second-in-command of BGB Battalion No.42 based in Teknaf, Bangladesh.
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Even before you see the mountain, you can smell it. The enormous rubbish tip east of the Thai border town of Mae Sot slowly rots under the sun. Clambering over it are countless men, women and children, entire families armed with long sticks tipped with a hook or using their bare hands to search for usable – or edible – loot.
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Officials from Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia are travelling to remote islands in eastern Indonesia to investigate how thousands of foreign fishermen were abused and forced into catching seafood that could end up in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, according to The Associated Press on April 2.
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A presidential order revoking temporary identity papers came into effect last night despite widespread criticism by the international community of the government’s move that mostly affects Rohingya Muslims and leaves an estimated 1 million “white card” holders across Myanmar facing an uncertain future.
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Wang Jia’s life in the northern Myanmar city of Laukkai was the picture of normality. The 40-year-old mother of four watched her 5-month-old son and her three other children. Her husband, a farmer, kept busy slaughtering pigs.
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Thousands of residents have fled their homes in ethnic Ta’ang (Paloung) villages in the mountain ranges near Namhkam Township, Northern Shan State, due to troop movements by government and ethnic armed forces in the area.
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Thai police said on March 31 that they had charged 70 migrants from Myanmar and six Rohingya Muslims with illegal entry after they were arrested on a train bound for a southern province bordering Malaysia.
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A United Nations request to move more than 10,000 “highly vulnerable” displaced Muslims out of two camps in Rakhine State before the onset of the monsoon season has met with a tough response from the chief minister, who said they must first comply with the citizenship verification process.
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