Refugees


The government of Myanmar says it is determined to stop the departures of migrants fleeing religious persecution in places like this bitterly divided port city, but it will not budge in its refusal to address the conditions driving the exodus across the sea.
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They have been called the most persecuted minority in the world. The Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, have been driven from their villages; 140,000 of them have been herded into squalid camps. They cannot vote. Their children are shut out of local schools. They are subjected to mob violence with impunity. A new law seeks to limit how many babies they may have. Small wonder they flee.
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An event commemorating the fourth anniversary of the Kachin War, organized by the Kachin Peace Network, was held at the Micasa Hotel in Rangoon on June 9, 2015.
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Local humanitarian organizations providing aid to the internally displaced Kachin population said they are facing a severe shortage of funding from international donor groups this year.
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A fierce debate within the highest echelons of the United Nations over how to deal with Myanmar on the issue of the Rohingya is moving from behind closed doors into the public domain, casting doubts over whether the UN body has formulated a coherent strategy.
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Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced a US$5 million aid to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Xinhua news agency reported.
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One hundred and fifty boat people were repatriated from Maungdaw in northwest Arakan State to Bangladesh on Monday afternoon, some 18 days after the Burmese navy found their boat adrift off the Arakanese coast.
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U Khin Aung Myint, Speaker of the upper house, yesterday told parliamentarians how he had rejected suggestions from an Australian politician that Myanmar should take in more than 20,000 boat migrants, saying the people of Myanmar would not accept them.
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On 5 June the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry summoned the  Burmese ambassador in Dhaka over a Rakhine state minister’s comment, which they condemned for jeopardising joint efforts by Burma and Bangladesh to solve the refugee crisis.
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The Oslo Conference to End Myanmar’s Systematic Persecution of Rohingyas was held from May 26 to 28 at the Norwegian Nobel Institution in Oslo, Norway.
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June 9 will mark four years since a ceasefire broke down in Burma’s northern Kachin State, ending 17 years of relative stability. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has joined peace negotiations with the Burmese government, but some 100,000 civilians who were displaced by the conflict have yet to return to their past lives. The Irrawaddy recently spoke about the current state of affairs with Mary Tawm, a Kachin aid worker who represents Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN), a homegrown organization providing assistance to those displaced by war.
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A total of 150 migrants were deported to Bangladesh on Monday afternoon, local officials told The Irrawaddy, while nearly 600 others await the same fate in camps and detention centers near the border.
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Buddhist hardliners in Arakan State are planning a day of protest against moves to help desperate migrants found adrift on boats in the Bay of Bengal, organisers said on Sunday, 7 June.
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About 150 Bangladeshi migrants found adrift on a boat off Myanmar’s west coast have been sent home on Monday (Jun 8).
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“They deserve to be treated like we all deserve to be treated—with dignity and respect”

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is standing with the Rohingya people of Burma and calling on world leaders to demand an end to their persecution.
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I have been a supporter of Burma’s democracy movement since 1993. For most of that time, the prospect of change seemed remote, and I felt increasingly discouraged.
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The immediate Rohingya migration crisis – of gangster criminality, vessels set adrift, people starving and bodies exhumed – is galvanising action among those who can’t accept such evil. Efforts to avert these humanitarian tragedies must be supported.
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Over the past few days, the world has been increasingly concerned with the plight of thousands of men, women and children attempting to cross the Bay of Bengal. I empathise with their plight and share these concerns.
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The U.S. government is maintaining pressure on Myanmar to bring an end to the regional migrant crisis in Southeast Asia. But its solution — give citizenship to the Muslim Rohingya minority — presents major problems for both the Naypyidaw government and increasingly, for Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy.
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Burma said on Thursday that persecution of its Rohingya Muslim population was not the cause of Southeast Asia’s migrant crisis, a day after the United States called on the country to give full rights to the minority to help end the exodus.
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