Tag Archives: East Asia

Malaysia Feature | Refugees

The Hardships of Refugees in Malaysia

Although Malaysia has long offered refuge to persecuted Muslim populations, Malaysian law does not distinguish between asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants. As a consequence, refugees experience high levels of legal precarity, severely limiting access to healthcare, employment, and educational opportunities. Immigration police frequently raid businesses in search of undocumented workers, and children are frequently pushed into work because of an educational system with limited resources to accommodate them. While more than 164,000 refugees in Malaysia are officially registered with the UN Refugee Agency, many more languish in the long registration queue. Today, activists are working to pressure the recently installed government to become a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol to improve protections and access to opportunity for those seeking life and livelihood in the wake of war and persecution.

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‘We have nothing’: A life in limbo for Malaysia’s Yemeni refugees” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

Inside Malaysia’s ‘Living Hell’ for Refugee Children” (NewsDeeply | February 2018)

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UNHCR Figures at a Glance in Malaysia

Japan News | Women

Medical university in Tokyo found to have altered women candidates’ scores on entrance exam
  • A probe found that Tokyo Medical University, one of Japan’s most prestigious medical schools, systematically boosted male applicants’ scores while cutting female applicants’ in an effort to reduce women’s admission to the school.
  • Investigators discovered that scores on the exam had been affected for at least a decade, driven by admissions officers’ belief that parental obligations would interfere with women’s commitment to the profession.
  • The discovery was found amidst a broader investigation into corruption involving the alleged admission of a government official’s child in exchange for subsidies.
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Tokyo Medical University admits subtracting points from repeat male applicants’ scores and boosting others to secure donations” (The Japan Times | August 2018)

‘Makes me shake with rage’ – Japan probe shows university cut women’s test scores” (Reuters | August 2018)

‘Betrayed’: victims of Tokyo medical school scandal speak out” (The Guardian | August 2018)

China News | LGBTQ Immigrants

Hong Kong court green-lights spousal visas for same-sex couples
  • Hong Kong’s highest court ruled in favor of a two British-national partners, which is expected to open residential visas to spouses regardless of gender in the partnership.
  • Without spousal visas, the same-sex partners of Hong Kong residents could only reside in the city on short-term tourist visas that prohibited work or access to public services.
  • While a recent poll showed more than 50% of Hongkongers support same-sex marriage, native Hong Kong residents still do not have access to same-sex marriage rights, though advocates and some legal experts have suggested the ruling could serve to expand their access to housing and family rights.
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Indonesia News & Research | LGBTQ+

HIV cases on the rise as Indonesia cracks down on LGBTQ community
  • A report by Human Rights Watch has indicated that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) has increased five-fold since a decade ago, now accounting for a third of the new cases reported annually, a
  • Growing media and governmental discourse has framed LGBTQ people as threats to public security, while police raids, fundamentalist vigilantism, and discriminatory prosecutions have targeted clinics providing sexual health education and services.
  • Clinics have begun limiting public outreach and condoms themselves have begun to be entered into evidence in criminal cases, further stifling distribution of preventive resources.
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Indonesia News | Christians

More than 10 killed, dozens wounded in Indonesian church bombings
  • A family of six—including young children—launched coordinated suicide bombings at three church sites in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city.
  • Targeting a Catholic church, a Pentecostal church, and the Indonesian Christian Church, the attacks left at least 13 dead and 40 wounded.
  • The attack came as the Islamic State has stepped up recruitment in the Southeast Asia region, with police reporting that the family was among the 500 Islamic State sympathizers returning from Syria.
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“IS-linked family responsible for Surabaya bombings, police say” (The Jakarta Post | May 2018)

Family of IS-inspired suicide bombers attack Indonesian churches, at least 13 dead” (Reuters | May 2018)

Indonesia attacks: How Islamic State is galvanising support” (BBC News | May 2018)

Myanmar News | Rohingya Muslims

Evidence of Rohingya massacre by security forces deepens crisis in Myanmar
  • The Associated Press uncovered evidence of a military-led mass killing of a Rohingya community in late August that left at least 75 and as many as 400 dead.
  • The report detailed documentary evidence of at least five mass graves in and near the village of Gu Dar Pyin along with videos and survivor reports of acid use to attempt to cover up the massacre.
  • While the Burmese government insists it is only targeting “terrorists” and denies mass killings, the international community is facing growing pressure to declare ongoing state violence against the Rohingya a genocide.
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AP finds evidence for graves, Rohingya massacre in Myanmar” (The Associated Press | February 2018)

Evidence of Rohingya mass graves uncovered in Myanmar” (Al Jazeera | February 2018)

Myanmar denies report of new mass graves in Rakhine” (Reuters | February 2018)

Singapore News | Gay Men

Singaporean gay man denied adoption rights for biological child
  • A Singapore court ruled against a man seeking to adopt his biological son mothered by a surrogate in the U.S.
  • The man, currently in a same-sex relationship, pursued international surrogacy due to his remote chances at adoption in Singapore, where male same-sex relations are still illegal.
  • Surrogacy is prohibited and in-vitro services available only to married couples in Singapore, leading many Singaporean couples both same- and different-sex couples to seek assisted reproduction services abroad.
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Singapore court rejects gay man’s bid to adopt biological son” (NBC News | December 2017)

More Singapore couples seeking surrogacy services” (The Straits Times | December 2017)

Gay Singaporean loses bid to adopt biological son fathered via surrogate” (Agence France-Presse, via AsiaOne | December 2017)