Refugees


Burma, once isolated regionally and globally, is rapidly opening up with ongoing political reforms. Foreign affairs representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in particular are now anticipating a relationship with a new Burmese counterpart. Yet she is no stranger to them: the foreign minister is also the country’s charismatic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
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Muslim organizations both overseas and within Burma have condemned a statement made by Religious Affairs Minister Aung Ko that those who practice Islam are not full citizens of the country.
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The State Department’s minimization of the plight of the Rohingya is sending dangerous, mixed messages to Myanmar and its neighbors.
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The Burmese government’s lifting of the state of emergency in Arakan State should promptly be followed by the end of abusive restrictions on ethnic Rohingya and other Muslims.
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A group of refugees has left the Mae Ra Ma Luang camp on the Thai-Burmese border to return to Karen State, saying conditions in the camp had become intolerable.
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It’s been a busy, challenging couple of weeks for the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party that will assume power in Burma on Friday — nearly five months after an electoral landslide last November, and more than 25 years after it first delivered a humiliating defeat to an army-backed party to win an election victory that was never recognised.
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South Korean-owned garment manufacturers in Myanmar are widely flouting labor law, with almost 30 percent of factories failing to observe overtime rules, a new report says.
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The first witness in the largest human-trafficking trial in Thai history was called to testify last week in a court in Bangkok. The witness, a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar, told of being beaten and starved by gun-toting captors on the boat that ferried him and more than 200 others to a trafficking camp in Thailand.
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A final group of 24 fishing boat slaves is preparing to return home to Myanmar this week from Indonesia, aid workers said at a trafficking meeting in Bali, one of them calling the 1,200 slaves repatriated since last year the “tip of the iceberg”.
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The UN refugee agency has urged the new Burmese leadership to resume dialogue with Thailand and the UNHCR to end the decades-long saga of refugees along the border and give priority to the ethnic Rohingya issue as part of their nation-building process.
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The U.S. State Department said on Monday it had determined that Myanmar is persecuting its Rohingya Muslims, but the government’s treatment of the religious minority group does not constitute genocide.
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Around 25,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority group have left camps for displaced people in western Myanmar and returned to the communities they fled during sectarian violence in 2012, the United Nations said on Monday.
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On March 15, 2016, the Burmese parliament elected Htin Kyaw as Myanmar’s first civilian president in 53 years. It was a historic day for the Burmese people and for democracy in the strife-ridden state, which has been controlled by the military since 1962.
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Myanmar’s extremely disappointing response to its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN confirmed the outgoing government’s unwillingness to address the country’s key human rights challenges, FIDH and its member organization ALTSEAN-Burma said March 17.
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Seven international human rights groups on Wednesday urged the Thai government to better protect the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking in the Southeast Asian country, which has for years been dogged by criticism for its handling of these populations, including many Burmese.
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Rohingya Muslims represent an “unconventional threat” to the entire Southeast Asia region, according to the commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing.
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The trial of 92 suspected human traffickers, arrested after the discovery of shallow graves of migrants in Thai jungle, began in Bangkok on Tuesday and the attorney-general’s office said it would be over within a year amid fears about the safety of witnesses.
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The governments of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia should end the indefinite detention of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and provide them with full protection, said Fortify Rights and the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) in a new briefing today.
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Well-known Thai actress and model Priya “Pu” Suandokmai has joined a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) fundraising project that highlights the plight of Burma’s displaced in Thailand. The campaign, called “Namjai (Generosity) for Refugees,” aims to assist over 100,000 Burmese refugees currently living in nine camps on the Thai-Burma border. The Irrawaddy’s Saw Yan Naing interviewed Pu about her interest in refugee issues and how she became involved in the UNHCR’s project in Thailand.
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Myanmar’s election last November was hailed as the fairest the country had ever seen. The vote sent Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to victory after decades of opposition to the country’s former military leaders. This week Myanmar’s parliament, where the NLD now dominates, will nominate a president to lead a new government.
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