Tag Archives: Southeast Asia

Global Event: The Covid-19 Pandemic

Discrimination and Disparity in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Covering the nearly two-year span of the COVID–19 pandemic to date, this roundup is a collection of reporting and research on communities around the world that have experienced the dual perils of discrimination and disparity. In addition to bearing the brunt of the disease, marginalized communities around the world have become the pandemic’s scapegoats and the targets of rumor, distrust, and disinformation campaigns, resulting in the “racialization” of the virus and creating further insecurities during the crisis. Beyond local inequalities, the coupling of discrimination and disparity has generated transnational inequities such as the outbreak of anti-Asian racism, the targeting and marginalization of migrants and refugees, and the disproportionately worse illness outcomes of Indigenous and Black people.

The situation has created obstacles to protecting communities against the ongoing effects of COVID–19. Among historically persecuted communities, longstanding distrust of government brought about by historical injustices has cultivated resistance to state-driven medical interventions such as vaccine campaigns. And local inequalities have been exacerbated by structural inequalities at the international level, with the wealthy West accused of hoarding health resources such as vaccines.

This collection contains more than 160 news reports, research articles, and data sources covering conditions and developments at the global, regional, and national levels. Data and information in older items are likely outdated and should be treated as historical records, reflecting emergent problems and understandings that have produced the current social, political, and economic landscape of the pandemic. However, the unfolding of coverage reveals how knowledge of the differential impact of the pandemic has shifted, from early awareness of racial and ethnic mortality disparities and reports of discrimination to recent concerns about vaccine nationalism and the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic.

Continue reading Global Event: The Covid-19 Pandemic

Global Event: The Afghanistan Exodus

The International Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers

The pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government has generated a wave of Afghan people fleeing incoming Taliban rule. With the Taliban committed to governing according to fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, concerns are particularly heightened for women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, journalists, and those who supported the fight against the Taliban. Abroad, governments have debated whether and to what degree to accept asylum-seekers, with many seeking to either offshore asylum processing or contain refugees to the immediate region of southwest and Central Asia. For refugees who do make it out, the intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world’s regions in recent years—including the increasing political power of far-right nativist movements—has created new threats for asylum-seekers in their destination countries.

While politicians and analysts around the world bicker over responsibility and blame, Afghans scramble to exit before the full weight of the new Taliban regime comes down. Here is a collection of reporting on the conditions in Afghanistan for those needing refuge, which countries are offering haven, and reactions from the Afghan diaspora.

Continue reading Global Event: The Afghanistan Exodus

Malaysia News | UyghurS

Malaysian PM announces asylum provisions for refugee Uyghurs

  • Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamed indicated that the country would not honor extradition requests from China for Uyghurs fleeing persecution.
  • The announcement follows a statement from the foreign minister indicating that an inquiry into human rights violations in the Xinjiang region of China.
  • Hundreds took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest the ongoing incarceration of more than a million Uyghur Muslims in “political re-education” camps in northwest China.

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Malaysia not to extradite Uighurs seeking asylum” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)

Malaysia to probe rights violations against Uighurs” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)

In KL, hundreds of Muslims protest against China’s treatment of Uighurs” (Malay Mail | December 2019)

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

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.
Study
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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)

Myanmar News | Journalists

Reporters arrested in Myanmar following Rohingya coverage
  • Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested on the outskirts of Yangon after working on stories related to the military crackdown on the Rohingya community in Rakhine state.
  • The Ministry of Information said the reporters faced charges of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act for having “illegally acquired information” for dissemination to foreign media.
  • The event has prompted international condemnation, including by the United Nations, foreign governments, international journalism organizations, and press freedom advocates.
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Factbox: International reaction to arrest of Reuters reporters in Myanmar” (Reuters | December 2017)

Analysis: Government Turning Back the Clock on Press Freedom” (The Irrawaddy | December 2017)

UN chief calls on Myanmar to release Reuters journalists” (CNN | December 2017)

Myanmar & Bangladesh News | Rohingya Muslims

More than a half-million Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar
  • Since August, nearly 520,000 Rohingya have crossed the border from their homes in Myanmar into Bangladesh, and dozens—many of them children—have died attempting to reach Bangladesh by boat.
  • Refugees spoke of attacks by the military and Buddhist vigilantes, including the burning of villages and physical assaults throughout the state of Rakhine.
  • The U.N. has condemned the violence as “ethnic cleansing” on the part of the Burmese state, which targeted Rohingya communities following an attack by Rohingya militants on a military outpost.
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‘I can’t take this any more:’ Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar in new surge” (Reuters | October 2017)

Rohingya crisis: Children die as boat capsizes off Bangladesh” (BBC News | October 2017)

Bangladesh to build one of world’s largest refugee camps for 800,000 Rohingya” (The Guardian | October 2017)

Philippines News | Christians

Filipino Christians in Muslim-majority Marawi caught up in Mindanao violence
  • Clashes between Islamist militants and Philippine soldiers in Marawi City have displaced as much as 90% of the city’s population.
  • Militants have torched churches and reportedly taken hostages in the fight against the government, the extension of decades of conflict driven by increased Christian settlement in the region, the desire for more political autonomy by Moro (Muslim) liberation groups, and the rise of international terrorist organizations like the Islamic State.
  • While the Philippine population as a whole is 90% Christian, Muslims comprise the majority of the population in Marawi City, located on the Philippines’ second-largest island, Mindanao.
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Christians caught up in Philippines’ urban battle with Islamists” (Reuters | May 2017)

‘They kill defenceless people’: thousands flee Philippine city of Marawi” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Mindanao crisis: A city on fire” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Indonesia News | Gay Men

More than 100 arrested and 2 publicly flogged as Indonesian authorities target gay men
  • Jakarta police confirmed that 141 men had been rounded up at a sauna party and jailed, subject to pornography charges.
  • In the conservative province of Aceh, two men, aged 20 and 23, were subject to public whippings after having been caught having sex, a new application of religious provincial law in a country that does not officially criminalize same-sex relations.
  • Increased anti-gay sentiment in the country is seen as part of a rising wave of hardline Islamism in the country, which has in recent years been praised for its secular, relatively liberal social gains.
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Indonesian police arrest more than 140 men at alleged gay sauna party” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Two men publicly caned in Indonesia for having gay sex” (Reuters | May 2017)

Indonesian men caned for gay sex in Aceh” (BBC News | May 2017)

(Image Credit: via BBC News)

Indonesia News | Christian

Jakarta’s Christian governor of Chinese descent sentenced to prison for blasphemy
  • Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, was sentenced to two years in prison after having accused political opponents of using a verse from the Qur’an to mobilize opposition to his re-election.
  • His remarks drew massive protests in the Muslim-majority country and a religiously charged vote for the Jakarta governorship in April, where he lost to Muslim rival Anies Baswedan.
  • Judges cited fundamentalist religious groups in the ruling, shocking observers with a prison sentence for Ahok because he “did not feel guilt.”
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Jakarta governor Ahok sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Jakarta’s Christian Governor Ahok jailed for two years for blasphemy” (The Sydney Morning Herald | May 2017)

Jakarta’s former governor Ahok dropping appeal against jail sentence for blasphemy” (ABC | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Antara/Pool/Sigid Kurniawan, via The Jakarta Post)

North Korea & Malaysia News | Malaysians & North Koreans

North Korea and Malaysia institute exit bans on each other’s citizens
  • North Korea’s frustration at Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the murder of the half-brother of leader Kim Jong Un led to the announcement of a ban on the departure of Malaysian nationals from the country.
  • Malaysian PM Najib Razak responded by initially banning the departure of North Korean diplomatic staff before extending it to all North Koreans.
  • Two people—an Indonesian woman and a Vietnamese woman—have been charged in the homicide, though they claim they believed to have been taking part in a prank.
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Kim Jong-nam death: Malaysia and N Korea in tit-for-tat exit bans” (BBC News | March 2017)

North Korea, Malaysia’s diplomatic ties frayed over Kim Jong Nam’s death” (CNN | March 2017)

Malaysia says talks on with North Korea for return of nine citizens” (Reuters | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Lai Seng Sin/Reuters)

Global Event | Christmas

Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World


Source: Al Jazeera YouTube

One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas