Hate speech targeting refugees in Malaysia, often rooted in false information, has spread online as the nation stares down the threat of COVID-19. The allegedly organised rhetoric has turned some against refugees and migrants alike.
Since Malaysia imposed a Movement Control Order amid the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration raids following strict lockdown orders have affected refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers. In addition to the virus, these communities must also cope with persistent fears of possible arrest and deportation.
Myanmar was relatively slow in acknowledging the COVID-19 public health threat. The government’s early denial is poised to have wide-ranging effects on a country ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic or the ensuing economic fallout.
Adam Bemma speaks to a Thai democracy and human rights activist about his arrest under the country’s lese majeste law and Victoria Milko looks at the difficulties of reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Laura McDowell and Teodosia Dos Reis join domestic workers in Timor Leste as they march for their rights, Adam Bemma talks to political groups in Thailand trying to decentralise politics from the capital of Bangkok, Quinn Libson interviews researchers highlighting Facebook’s struggles with the Khmer language, and James Rose reflects on the weaponisation of the word “Rohingya” in Myanmar.
Myanmar has transitioned from a military junta to a civilian government, but Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has largely defended the military’s legacy. For a handful of activists in the country, protesting the military’s power continues to be a risky endeavour.
Rohingya Muslims make up the biggest proportion of refugees in Malaysia, fleeing from decades of persecution in Myanmar. But Malaysia still considers refugees undocumented migrants—will the Pakatan Harapan government be willing to grant Rohingya refugees both rights and safety?
Over 500 informal jade pickers have been killed in landslides in Myanmar in the past five years. Unsafe conditions in the jade mines continue to put people at risk, and families of those who have been killed say that independent inspections and better law enforcement are urgently needed.
Among this week’s round-up of stories to watch in Southeast Asia: the repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar is halted, LGBT issues are in the spotlight in Indonesia again, and US-Brunei defence ties develop.
Among this week’s round-up of stories to watch in Southeast Asia: a social network code of conduct in Vietnam, repatriation of the Rohingya from Bangladesh to Myanmar, and all eyes on leadership renewal in Singapore’s ruling party.