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
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)
Israeli agency ends decades-long operation airlifting Yemeni Jews to Israel
- 19 refugees and a 500-year-old Torah scroll were the last to be flown to Israel from Yemen as anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence has increased following the seizure of the Yemeni capital by Houthi rebels in 2014.
- Through the covert mission, Israel’s Jewish Agency sought to provide refuge for Yemen’s small but millenia-old Jewish community, transporting tens of thousands to the country beginning in 1949.
- The immigration mission took place over decades, leaving only 50 Jews in Yemen, 40 of whom are under the embattled government’s protection.
“17 Yemenite Jews secretly airlifted to Israel in end to ‘historic mission’” (The Times of Israel)
“Israel flies in 19 Yemeni Jews, ending immigration mission” (Reuters)
“19 Yemeni Jews Arrive in Israel, Ending Secret Rescue Operation” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
From Head to Foot of the Class
Yemeni students who traveled to Lebanon on scholarship for advanced study confronted conditions far less hospitable to their intellectual growth than they had imagined. A Middle East Eye short film features interviews with the students, who describe persecution at the hands of Lebanese authorities as well as mental distress and financial difficulty stemming from the war back home, which has cut many off from their families.
View the Middle East Eye feature on YouTube.
Immigrant children in New York school find cultural bridge and new friends through soccer.
- Immigrant students at the School for International Studies report their extracurricular soccer program as a key channel for them to develop language, social, and cultural skills.
- One U.S.-born student shares how he took up Arabic to learn how to better communicate with his teammates on the field.
- New York City has a population of more than 150,000 English language-learners in its school system.
“Any game, I make friends. When we play basketball, I make friends, like, you play with your friends. You make new friends any ways.”
More on this story at BBC.