Malaysia defies court order and deports 1086 Myanmar nationals

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Despite a Kuala Lumpur high court’s temporary stay barring the removal of some 1,200 refugees, the country’s director-general of immigration said in a statement that those sent back on Myanmar Navy ships left voluntarily, adding that no persecuted Rohingya or asylum-seekers were included in the group. The court’s stay was issued at the request of Amnesty International who argued the lives of people would be at risk in deteriorating conditions under a regime with a track record of cruelty.

By Milan Sime Martinić

Bangladesh relocating Rohingyas to isolated Bhasan Char island

Bhasan Char
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The government of Bangladesh has started a controversial program to relocate Muslim Rohingya refugees who escaped from persecution in Myanmar to the small isolated island Bhasan Char that is particularly vulnerable to storms and has never been permanently inhabited.

Despite claims by the government in Dhaka that the resettlement is voluntary, refugees interviewed by CNN said they were being forced and beaten when refused.

The sedimentary 40-sq. kilometer island was discovered 18 years ago and has only ever occasionally served as a shelter for smugglers and pirates. Although the island has been considered unsafe for living due to its constant shape-changing as sand deposits shift, Bangladesh has build flood barriers and insists the island is safe.

Rohingyas say they are descendants of Muslim traders who have lived in the region for generations; Myanmar says they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, making them stateless people.

Nearly one-million Rohingyas have escaped discrimination and persecution in Myanmar, and Bangladesh plans on resettling as many as 100,000 to the island. Once there, they will have little chance of leaving, say human rights groups, fearing the island will flood and they will die.

By Milan Sime Martinić

Standoff as migrant caravan closes Brazil-Peru International Bridge

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SAO PAULO – A humanitarian crisis is escalating in the far west Brazilian state of Acre as about 300 Haitians, Indians, Pakistanis have taken over the Friendship Bridge connecting Assis, Brazil with Peru at the Brazil-Peru-Bolivia border. Peruvian authorities are refusing entry and the immigrants are demanding to be allowed to return home through the Andean country.

The area has been a popular entry point for immigrants from many parts of the world seeking asylum in Brazil. Having failed in their quest to obtain legal papers but unable to be deported due to Brazilian laws and international treaties that prevent deportation into potential harm’s way, the immigrants have been staying in empty schools in the area, but hygienic and toilet facilities are not sufficient and the municipality of 7500 is stressing its resources providing food baskets and help for the immigrants. Described as hungry and exhausted, the immigrants say they want to return home by way of Peru but are suspected of really wanting to make their way to the United States. Brazilian authorities say they have been in the area for months, under precarious conditions, sleeping in open barracks, living off state help and charity, and bathing in the Acre River.

By Milan Sime Martinić