The people no one wants to acknowledge or accept

NOTE:Google translation from the Swedish News Paper

Swedish Dagbladet Foreign
The people no one wants to acknowledge
Rohingyas fate is one of Asia’s lesser known refugee tragedies. They are not recognized as a minority people of neither the regime or the opposition in Burma. Instead, they are forced to leave the country for an uncertain existence in other countries such as Malaysia.
Svenska Dagbladet in Malaysia. March 11, 2012 at 22:40, Updated: March 12, 2012 at 06:47

KUALA LUMPUR The couple: Mohammed Alam and Fatima Zainab lives with her ten children in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Their home is a shed behind a messy garage where the smell of motor oil mixed with the stench from an open sewer.

They have not had a job for a long time and the kids can not go to school. Even the smallest runs around most of the area around the simple dwelling. One of the boys may occasionally collaring as helper in the garage. Another son, 16 years old, has already been in reform school. He sniffed glue, became embroiled in a youth gang and committed various petty theft.

– I am old and can handle me enough. But I do not know what the future of the children will receive. It’s hopeless. Maybe they can come to Australia or any other country? says Mohammed, who is 57 years old.
Fatimah is 41, but looks like at least 50.

This family is not the only ones who live in poverty in Malaysia, one of Southeast Asia’s so-called “tiger economies”. In only this slum is home to about 5,000 Muslim refugees from Burma, in the whole of Malaysia between 25,000 and 30,000. They are some of the most unwanted refugees, wherever they are.

In Burma, where Mohammed, Fatimah and the oldest children were born, they are denied citizenship because the country’s government claims that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They have been driven from their homes in their hundreds of thousands, most across the border into Bangladesh. But where it is said that they are Burmese – and want to drive them back again.

If they managed to get here in Malaysia or countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE remain stateless without any rights. Those lucky are accepted as refugees in other countries – and the top of the list are just Australia.

The people who are calling themselves Rohingya and Muslims from the northwestern corner of Burma Arakanstat. They speak a Bengali dialect similar to Chittagong across the border in Bangladesh. But they also have their own culture, they also speak Burmese and has lived in the area for generations.

It is not enough to be accepted. In the recent past has been an intense campaign on the internet against rohingyafolket. Behind the most angry påhoppen are activists who would otherwise participate in Burma’s democracy movement. They argue that Burma is threatened by an invasion from the overpopulated Bangladesh, if one were to accept them as an indigenous minority. There is one for rohingyafolket ominous consistency between the Burmese regime and the opposition.

But the migration has actually gone in the opposite direction. It started back in Burma’s independence from Britain in 1948, when it became difficult for the Muslims of Arakan to compete in the new state.

1978, the authorities took a “census” in rohingyaområdet, with the result that 200,000 people were driven across the border to Bangladesh. After intense pressure from the United Nations could be some, but not all, return. 1992 followed a new campaign and 250,000 were forced to flee. Some have returned, but only to discover that their arable land has been taken over by someone else and they do not get back their citizenship.

Both campaigns came when Burma was in economic and political crisis. Rohingyafolket with different religion and appearance became convenient scapegoats.

Mohammed went to Rangoon years after the first campaign against rohingyafolket, met Fatimah – but fled again because they are still considered as “foreigners.”

In 1995 the couple through Thailand to Malaysia, a Muslim country where they thought they would be welcomed. But here, they live in a shed where the only luxury is a television and a fan to keep the flies away. The family have identity cards from the UN refugee commission, but it gives them no rights in Malaysia. Here the children are growing up in an almost criminal environment where there is neither school or permanent jobs.

Rohingyafolkets fate is one of Asia’s hidden refugee crises. It often goes unrecognized – but people continue to leave Burma. Every day there are more, says Mohammed. Many in barely seaworthy boats across the sea. They see no future in Burma, even if the country becomes democratic. For they well know, even the democracy movement in Burma ultra nationalist with little or no tolerance for people who get even want to admit that they exist as a national group.
Bertil Lintner

08-13 50 00 bertil.lintner @

More articles by author
It is equally difficult to estimate the number of Rohingya in Burma, where they are considered as a national minority, and abroad since they left the country in a steady stream since the Second World War. Many people with Rohingya origin is second or third generation migrants.
A plausible estimate is that it lives 200000-300000 in Arakan arise in Burma. At least as many have moved, or been driven out, to Bangladesh.
In Karachi, Pakistan is a neighborhood called “the Burmese village”, where the descendants of the Rohingya who were driven out in 1940 – and 50s live.
A couple hundred thousand Rohingya are also in Saudi Arabia, where they live in great misery. More than 20,000 are in the United Arab Emirates, about 25,000 in Malaysia and the rest are scattered all over the world: Australia, Thailand, Japan, North America and Europe.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

One Response to “The people no one wants to acknowledge or accept”

  1. minister Says:

    malaysia only accept Kaching and krin Christians and some burmese Buddhists .local church is arranging everything for then before they come in to malaysia..UN issuing refugee card for them since 20 years ago nothing new ..long story to tell but one thing for sure burmese muslim is not well come in malaysia…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: