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.
“‘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)
UNHCR Figures at a Glance in Malaysia
The Administrative Precarity of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Syrians who have fled to Lebanon to escape the violence that has embroiled their home nation have begun putting down new roots while waiting for the conflict to end. However, cultural and administrative differences have left many Syrians in limbo as practices surrounding institutions like marriage remain unrecognized in their new, if temporary, home. Lebanon’s complex and financially taxing requirements of civil registration (including residency, marriage, and births) has disenfranchised many Syrians, leaving them in legally precarious situations even as the government works to lessen the burdens.
Undocumented children are denied access to IDs and passports, and parents and other couples lacking official work permits find themselves trapped in exploitative labor conditions to support their families. The financial vulnerability of Syrian families is driving intergenerational insecurity, particularly as it has led to an increase in child marriage rates in the country. Reuters examines the complex bureaucratic and cultural conditions shaping the marginalization of Syrian families in Lebanon.
“As Syrian couples say ‘I do,’ Lebanon says ‘No, not quite’” (Reuters | December 2017)
“For Syrian refugees, child marriage robs a generation of its future” (The Globe and Mail | March 2017)
Refugees and immigrants traveling to U.S. reportedly stopped at airports following executive order
- President Donald Trump issued an executive order halting refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days.
- The order also creates a 90-day suspension of visas for nationals from”countries of concern,” expected to include Muslim-majority countries with little to no connection to Trump’s business interests including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- The suspended visas and refugee ban have led to the detention of and refusal of passage to immigrant airport travelers.
Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. (via The New York Times)
(Image Credit: via Politico)
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
U.S. meets target of 10,000 Syrian refugee admissions
- The White House announced that the 10,000th Syrian refugee had been scheduled for arrival a month before the end of the fiscal year, with Michigan and California topping the list of most popular destinations for arrivals.
- The number of admissions is expected to be capped at 10,000 again for 2017, though plans have been announced to increase the number by a few thousand each year thereafter.
- The number of admissions will be contingent upon the outcome of the 2016 national elections, with refugee admissions and immigration more broadly a controversial topic in the presidential campaigns.
“U.S. to meet target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees: White House” (Reuters)
“US meets goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees ahead of schedule” (The Guardian)
“Top Destinations for Syrian Refugees: Michigan and California” (NBC News)
(Image Credit: David Ryder/Reuters)
Gay Syrian refugee decapitated, body found in Istanbul
- Muhammed Wisam Sankari’s violently mutilated body was found in the Yenikapi neighborhood of Istanbul on July 25, two days after he left his house in Aksaray.
- Friends reported that Sankari had feared for his safety and that police and other officials had been slow to respond to concerns.
- Sankari had also reportedly been raped in the months before his death and had been attempting to gain refugee status for resettlement outside of Turkey.
“Syrian gay refugee killed in Istanbul” (Kaos GL)
“Missing gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul” (The Guardian)
“Gay Syrian man beheaded and mutilated in Turkey” (BBC)
(Image Credit: via Kaos GL)
Refuge in the Great White North
While a resurgence in xenophobic nationalism has hampered humanitarian efforts in countries like the U.S., the U.K., Japan, and South Korea, provisions in Canada’s immigration law allowing for the private sponsorship of refugees has made the country a bright spot in the global refugee crisis. The program has opened up opportunities where few would exist otherwise, and though concerns over the potential for paternalism have given some refugee advocates pause, Canadians’ historical willingness to open their wallets, homes, and neighborhoods to refugees has long given new arrivals a reason to believe in Canada’s welcoming reputation. Amidst the culturally and politically sensitive terrain of traumatic memories, privacy issues, language barriers, and financial struggle, The New York Times profiles some of the Canadians, new and old, participating in the country’s private sponsorship program.
“Refugees Encounter a Foreign Word: Welcome” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times)