VL.png The World-Wide Web Virtual Library
[WWW VL database || WWW VL search]
donations.gif asia-wwwvl.gif

Online Burma/Myanmar Library

Full-Text Search | Database Search | What's New | Alphabetical List of Subjects | Main Library | Reading Room | Burma Press Summary

Home > Main Library > Refugees > The Southeast Asia Refugee Crisis

Order links by: Reverse Date Title

The Southeast Asia Refugee Crisis

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Results of a Google search for "Rohingya boat people"
Date of publication: 22 May 2015
Description/subject: 10,600,000 results (22 May 2015)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Google
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 May 2015


Individual Documents

Title: "Everywhere is Trouble” - A Briefing on the Situation of Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia
Date of publication: 11 March 2016
Description/subject: Summary: "In May 2015, human trafficking syndicates abandoned boats of thousands of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi nationals coming from Myanmar’s Rakhine State and Bangladesh, leaving them adrift in the Andaman Sea. Instead of initiating search and rescue efforts, key countries in the region reinforced their borders and some intercepted and towed stranded boats farther out to sea. Following international outcry, some member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed to allow disembarkation and provide temporary shelter to survivors. The failure of ASEAN to immediately prioritize the protection of survivors led to an unknown loss of life at sea. Almost ten months later, the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK) and Fortify Rights traveled to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia from February 15 to March 9 to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees in each country. Representatives from the organizations met with government officials, United Nations officials, and nongovernmental organizations; visited immigration detention facilities, government- operated shelters, and refugee camps; and conducted interviews with Rohingya refugees and survivors of human trafficking. This briefing is based on those meetings and interviews. Rohingya refugees continue to lack access to basic protections in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. As a result, thousands of Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia are subject to abuse, exploitation, human trafficking, protracted and indefinite detention, and refoulement. In Thailand, BROUK and Fortify Rights are gravely concerned about the protracted detention of hundreds of Rohingya refugees in Immigration Detention Centers (IDCs) and government- run shelters..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Fortify Rights, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK
Format/size: pdf (777K-reduced version; 2.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.fortifyrights.org/downloads/EverywhereisTrouble.pdf
Date of entry/update: 11 March 2016


Title: MIXED MARITIME MOVEMENTS in South-East Asia in 2015
Date of publication: March 2016
Description/subject: Summary: "In 2015, mixed maritime movements in South-East Asia were characterized by two distinct phases: from January to May, when the volume crossing the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea was significantly greater than during the same period in previous years; and from June to December, when such movements all but disappeared following the abandonment of thousands of refugees and migrants at sea in May. Some 1,600 refugees and migrants were estimated to have departed by sea from the Bay of Bengal in the second half of 2015, 96% less than in the second half of 2014. By contrast, the 31,000 departures estimated in the first half of 2015 were 34% higher than in the first half of 2014. Refugees familiar with the route told UNHCR in interviews that the sharp decline in departures in the second half of 2015 was a result of increased scrutiny by—and of —authorities at both departure and arrival points and harsher conditions upon arrival, as demonstrated by the discovery of mass graves and the continued detention in Malaysia of the hundreds of refugees who disembarked in May. In total, approximately 33,600 refugees and migrants travelled through South-East Asia in mixed maritime movements in 2015, including approximately 1,000 who either crossed the Strait of Malacca or attempted to reach Australia from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. Mixed maritime movements originating from the Bay of Bengal in particular continued to result in scores of deaths at a fatality rate three times higher than in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2015, approximately 370 refugees and migrants who departed from the Bay of Bengal are estimated to have died before reaching land, mostly from starvation, dehydration, disease, and abuse by people smugglers."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB), html (103K)
Alternate URLs: https://unhcr.atavist.com/mmm2015
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2016


Title: The Roots of Religious Conflict in Myanmar - Understanding narratives is an important step to ending violence.
Date of publication: 06 August 2015
Description/subject: "...Myanmar has been the site of serious conflicts between Buddhist and Muslim communities, particularly in Rakhine State where at least 146,000 persons have been displaced since the first riots in June 2012. This violence has prompted international organizations dedicated to early warning of mass violence to issue alarms, but the dynamics of this conflict are understood differently in Myanmar. In May, three Nobel laureates called violence and persecution of Muslims in Myanmar “nothing less than genocide.” A few days later, U Zaw Aye Maung, the Rakhine Affairs Minister for Yangon Region, was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying, “if genocide was taking place in Rakhine State, then it was against ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.” Such a statement is not simple intransigence in the face of external criticism. It illustrates a conception of victim and violator that is diametrically opposed to the one made visible in international discourse. In Myanmar’s domestic context, such a conception is closer to the norm than otherwise. Other state authorities use similar rhetoric. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, meanwhile, told the BBC in October 2013, “Fear is not just on the side of the Muslims, but on the side of the Buddhists as well. There’s a perception that Muslim power, global Muslim power, is very great.” Over the last seven months, we have been conducting a ‘Listening Project’ seeking to understand how people talk about concerns for their local communities and country. In this research, conducted across six regions in Myanmar, we have regularly noted discourses that construct Muslims as an existential threat, in which Buddhism is vulnerable and needing protection lest Islam supplant it as the majority religion. Fear of a Muslim takeover is based on a conception of Islam as intrinsically violent, justified with arguments that are strikingly reminiscent of discourses common in the United States and other countries since September 11th 2001. People regularly raised examples of alleged violence by Muslims in Myanmar as well the actions of ISIS and Al Qaeda. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was pilloried by non-Burmese observers for her 2013 interview, but in situating domestic fears in a global context she was descriptively accurate. Fear in Myanmar is not (only) of a small minority within Myanmar, but of a global threat felt to be both surrounding the country and growing within it..."
Author/creator: Matt Schissler, Matthew J Walton and Phyu Phyu Thi
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Diplomat"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 August 2015


Title: Australia and the Southeast Asia Refugee Crisis - A look at Canberra’s role – or lack thereof.
Date of publication: 31 July 2015
Description/subject: "The phenomenon of stateless Rohingya, Bangladeshis and others engaging in irregular movement across the Indian Ocean is not new. However, the first quarter of 2015 saw a sharp rise in the numbers so doing. The increase was accompanied by reports that Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were “pushing back” or “helping on” these irregular movers from their shores and thousands were left stranded at sea for lack of willing rescuers. On 17 May 2015, when asked what he thought of these events, Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, responded “I’m in no way critical of regional countries for the efforts that they make to stop the boats”. The Prime Minister could hardly have said anything else without being accused of gross hypocrisy, because his own Liberal-National Coalition government had come into power on a platform which included a pledge to “stop the boats” then arriving in Australia. Upon taking office in September 2013, the Coalition government implemented the military-led Operation Sovereign Borders, which involves, among other things, the turn back of unauthorized maritime arrivals to Indonesia (usually their most recent country of departure) or, in the case, of those arriving directly from their country of origin, hand back to country of origin authorities..."
Author/creator: Savitri Taylor
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Diplomat"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 August 2015


Title: Why Southeast Asia's Refugee Crisis Matters.
Date of publication: 23 July 2015
Description/subject: "The Diplomat" launches a new series on the region’s refugee crisis. Here’s why it matters....."In May 2015, thousands of Rohingya refugees from the Rakhine State of Myanmar and economic migrants from Bangladesh were found stranded in the Strait of Malacca off the coast of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. This was the start of the latest round of Southeast Asia’s refugee crisis. The image of the overcrowded, shabby boats full of people – haunted and hungry, faced with dwindling supplies of food and water – seized the world’s attention...According to UNHCR’s 2015 figures, Southeast Asia is home to more than 500,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. While the international attention is currently focused on the plight of the Rohingya, the problems extend beyond that group. The crisis engulfs the Kachin, the Shan and the Chin in Myanmar and also includes other groups including the Karen of Northern Thailand. Asylum seekers in Southeast Asia also come from beyond the region itself, with refugees arriving in cities across the region from distant lands such as Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Syria, Somalia and the Balkans. The recent deportation of 109 Uyghurs – part of a Muslim minority group in China seeking refuge in Thailand – indicates the serious and systemic nature of the refugee crisis in the region. Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), refugees are categorized under the political euphemism “irregular migration,” a designation which includes both economic and political migrants. The recognition that these two categories are intertwined is helpful to the extent that it shows that a political solution to the refugee question cannot be understood when divorced from the larger issue of migration flows – including many economic migrants whose experiences are marked by severe exploitation and personal risk. However in practice, the combination of the political and economic has become a way for countries in the region to ignore the urgent humanitarian needs of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution as opposed to those who have migrated to seek economic opportunity..."
Author/creator: Surin Pitsuwan and Prashanth Parameswaran
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Diplomat"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 August 2015


Title: Can the region respond to the Rohingya crisis?
Date of publication: 21 May 2015
Description/subject: "The one-day summit scheduled for 29 May in Bangkok on the Rohingya refugee crisis poses many challenges for the region. Few regional actors are keen to see the displacement continue or escalate, but in the past, equally few have been prepared to help. The Philippines' willingness to provide humanitarian assistance is heartening, not just for the Rohingya stranded at sea but for the region as a whole. As a signatory to the Refugee Convention and a member of ASEAN, the Philippines is well placed to lead on this issue, notwithstanding its own human security, economic, social and political challenges. Its leadership offers other governments a way forward, and creates the possibility for burden sharing. Malaysia and Indonesia have now also agreed to provide temporary shelter to the thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis stranded at sea — another positive signal ahead of the summit. But we shouldn't underestimate the challenges that stem from the long history of neglect and abuse of the Rohingya people, one of the most persecuted groups in the world..."
Author/creator: Marie McAuliffe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Lowey Interpreter"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 May 2015


Title: Who are the Rohingya boat people?
Date of publication: 21 May 2015
Description/subject: "The 1.1 million Rohingya community – a Muslim group which claims to be descended from Arab traders – has fled in droves from their homes in Burma across south-east Asia following increasing persecution by the country's Buddhist majority. In recent years, the community has often been described by the United Nations and others as one of the most persecuted people in the world. More recently, they have been described as 'Asia's new boat people' and have been likened to the Vietnamese exodus by boat in the 1970s. The Burma government has refused to grant citizenship to the Rohingya minority, saying they are recent illegal migrants from Bangladesh. The Rohingya people say they have lived in the western state of Rakhine for generations. As Burma began shifting from a military dictatorship towards a more open democracy in 2011, tensions began to increase between Rakhine's Buddhists and Muslims, most of whom claim to be Rohingya. Hundreds have been killed in deadly riots which have often followed reports - not always verified - of rapes or murders of Buddhists. About 140,000 Rakhine Muslims have fled their homes, with many living in squalid camps. Increasingly, they have begun to flee by boat from the coastal state of Rakhine. Since January, some 25,000 Rohingya are believed to have attempted the voyage by boat to neighbouring nations. Several thousand are still at sea after being repeatedly rejected by the navies of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia..."
Author/creator: Jonathan Pearlman,
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Telegraph" (UK)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 May 2015


Title: Rohingya boat people are becoming the Jews of Asia
Date of publication: 20 May 2015
Description/subject: "In the past few weeks, at least 6,000 refugees have been cut adrift in the ocean...In the past few weeks, at least 6,000 refugees have been cut adrift in the ocean, refused entry by Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some 300 have died this year, according to the UN. Dehydrated, emaciated and desperate, unless the situation changes rapidly, many more lives will be lost. For the Rohingya, the bulk of the refugees, there are echoes of the treatment of Jews in Europe. Many are fleeing refugee centres that have been compared to concentration camps. They are a Muslim minority in Myanmar who also live in Bangladesh. In March the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide sent a mission to Myanmar, where up to 1m Rohingya live in Rakhine state. It found they had been “subject to dehumanisation through rampant hate speech, the denial of citizenship, and restrictions on freedom of movement”. Its report concluded that the Rohingya, at least 170 of whom died in mob violence in 2012, were at “grave risk of additional mass atrocities and even genocide”..."
Author/creator: David Pilling
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Financial Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 May 2015