Crackdown against undocumented migrants in Malaysia

Source: Asian Tribune

Lawmakers from across the ASEAN region expressed concerns today over the Malaysian government’s ongoing crackdown against undocumented migrants in the country, which began on 1 July and has already resulted in thousands detained in facilities notorious for their poor conditions. APHR Board Member Mu Sochua – a member of the Cambodian National Assembly.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), a collective of regional lawmakers, urged the Malaysian government to prioritize the protection of human rights and ensure the fair treatment of all workers, many of whom end up undocumented through no fault of their own.  Read more

Forced migration still a big problem in Asia — Puteri Nor Ariane Yasmin

Source: NST Online

BY PUTERI NOR ARIANE YASMIN

This week, there are two significant global meetings that aim to address forced migration — the first-ever United Nations Summit or High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants starting yesterday, and Leaders’ Summit on Refugees today. These events underscore the fact that forced migration has transitioned from a recognised but overlooked global challenge to one that demands urgent action.

Indeed, a survey by the World Economic Forum released in January notes that large-scale forced migration is one of the top risks facing the global economy. The number of people forcibly displaced has hit a post-World War 2 high at 65.3 million, of which 21.3 million are refugees (over half of whom are below 18) and 10 million are stateless. Approximately 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day, largely due to conflict and persecution in the Middle East and Africa. Read more

In Malaysia, Syrian migrants speak of harrowing torture in Syria

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A Syrian man reads the Quran after a mass prayer session during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at the Harran refugee camp in Sanliurfa province, Turkey June 7, 2016. — Reuters pic

A Syrian man reads the Quran after a mass prayer session during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at the Harran refugee camp in Sanliurfa province, Turkey June 7, 2016. — Reuters pic

SHAH ALAM — It is hard for peace-loving Malaysians to imagine ceaseless war. But for a doughty bunch of Syrian migrants, it was all there for many years.

Thanks to the efforts of the Coalition of Humanitarian NGOs for Syria, 68 people are now settled in the country after being moved from one refugee camp to another since fleeing their conflict-ridden homeland.

The migrants were vetted by Home Ministry officials, who ensured they had no ties with the government of Bashar al-Assad, ISIS, the Free Syrian Army, or any other political faction in the civil war. Any connections, even the most remote, merited automatic disqualification.

Yet the adults of these 17 families will never forget the horrors they witnessed first-hand during the early years of the Syrian Civil War, which erupted in 2011.

Abdullah, 26, was a former military officer under the government of Syria’s strongman, who once worked in a four-storey prison where dissidents were subjected to torture. Sickened by what he saw, he eventually turned against al-Assad and fled with his wife Nur S., also 26.

“The most common method of breaking you was to tie your arms above your head and leave you in that position for 10 days. Either that or arms pulled and tied behind your back, or one arm and leg pulled back for that period,” he said, as some of his compatriots gestured in illustration. Read more

Refugees and migrants: A crisis of solidarity — Ban-Ki Moon

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY BAN-KI MOON

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon -- AP

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon — AP

MAY 9 — This September, the United Nations General Assembly will bring together world leaders to address one of the leading challenges of our time: responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

War, human rights violations, underdevelopment, climate change and natural disasters are leading more people to leave their homes than at any time since we have had reliable data.  More than 60 million people — half of them children — have fled violence or persecution and are now refugees and internally displaced persons.  An additional 225 million are migrants who have left their countries in search of better opportunities or simply for survival.

But this is not a crisis of numbers; it is a crisis of solidarity.  Almost 90 per cent of the world’s refugees are hosted in developing countries.  Eight countries host more than half the world’s refugees.  Just ten countries provide 75 per cent of the UN’s budget to ease and resolve their plight. Read more

UN Report: Economic Gains From Migration Overlooked

Source: Voices of America

FILE – Laborers eat during a break from their work at the site of a commercial building under construction in Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, Dec. 13, 2013.

A new U.N. report on labor and migration in Asia Pacific says economic gains from migration are often overlooked and is calling for policies promoting greater regional cooperation or risk heightening inequalities and human rights abuses.

Globally in 2013 there were more than 213 million migrants worldwide with over 59 million living in the Asia Pacific region, marking a growing trend since 1990. Read more

Protecting migrant workers can benefit host countries’ economies, UN says

Source: The Malaysian Outsider

Migrant workers staying in cramped quarters in Malaysia. The UN says if migrant labour is given benefits and social protections, it will boost the economies of the host countries. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.

Migrant workers staying in cramped quarters in Malaysia. The UN says if migrant labour is given benefits and social protections, it will boost the economies of the host countries. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 1, 2016.

Governments must provide migrant labour with the same benefits and social protections they give their own citizens, which will boost their economies and worker productivity, a United Nations official said.

Of the estimated 232 million migrants in the world in 2013, more than 95 million are from the Asia Pacific region, according to the UN’s Asia Pacific Migration Report 2015 launched this week in Bangkok.

Migrants contribute significantly to GDP growth in host countries, while sending home about US$435 billion (RM1.8 billion) in remittances to the Asia Pacific region in 2015, said Hongjoo Hahm, deputy executive secretary of the UN’s development arm for Asia and the Pacific.

Yet many face abuses at every step of the way, from recruitment agencies and job brokers at home to exploitative employers, officials and police abroad.

It is the responsibility of governments in the countries that send and receive migrants to have domestic, regional and inter-country discussions to create the policies and conditions necessary for safe migration, Hahm said. Read more

Is Malaysia taking Syrian refugees or migrants? – Aslam Abd Jalil

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY ASLAM ABD JALIL

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a very bold statement about taking Syrian refugees as part of Malaysia’s commitment to mitigate the world refugee crisis.

At the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly last October, he stated that Malaysia would do its share, and open its doors to 3,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years.

The first batch of two families of eight Syrian refugees arrived in Malaysia two months later.

Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, followed suit in helping the Syrian refugee children and women in Lebanon and Jordan, donating RM2.5 million on behalf of Global Children’s Wellbeing Fund (GCWF) and Welfare Association of the Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) this week. Read more

153,850 refugees registered with UNHCR in Malaysia

Source: The Star Online

Malaysia is host to more than 150,000 migrants who come from as far as Somalia and Iran besides ethnic groups from Myanmar. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Malaysia is host to more than 150,000 migrants who come from as far as Somalia and Iran besides ethnic groups from Myanmar. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA: A total of 153,850 refugees and asylum-seekers have registered themselves with the Malaysian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The statistics, as of September, showed that 33,740 of the refugees were below the age of 18.

This was revealed at a sympo­sium on “Malaysia’s Immigration Crisis? The Different Experiences of Migrants, Refugees and Expats” organised by the Strategic Information and Research Deve­lopment Centre on Saturday. Read more

Malaysia’s deadly connection – by Ambiga Sreenevasan

Source: New Mandala  |  Secondary Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY AMBIGA SREENEVASAN
(President, HAKAM)

Remains found in a mass grave at a human trafficking camp in Malaysia. Photo by Al Jazeera.

Turning a blind eye to the links between corruption and human trafficking is costing lives.

In Malaysia, corruption kills. Recent casualties include the victims of the human trafficking trade conducted across the border with Thailand.

In May this year, Thai authorities discovered human trafficking death camps in the jungles of southern Thailand. Reports were rife that similar death camps existed on the Malaysian side of the border.

The Home Ministry on 10 May dismissed these reports saying their investigations had found no such camps nor graves.

But, two courageous journalists from Malay Mail, S Arulldas and Sayuti Zainuddin, risked life and limb to search out the death camps and proved the Ministry wrong. After covering difficult terrain, they arrived at a clearing where they were shocked to see 40 mounds of soil with freshly dug graves. They also found a deserted camp that could have housed over 1,000 people. Read more

Improving the State of Refugees & Migrants in Malaysia

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Join the discussion potential on solutions and existing programs that improve the state of refugees and migrants in Malaysia.

Several crises that unfolded over this past month have exposed the desperate situation of refugees and migrants in Malaysia, from the government’s initial response to the Rohingyas refugees at sea, to the discovery of 139 refugee grave sites along the Malaysian-Thai border. There are currently over 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the Malaysian UNHCR. Currently, these refugees cannot access legal employment, formal education, or affordable health care. Read more