Connect with us

World

How Countries Cope with Migrants Arriving by Boat

Published

on

In this June 13, 2012, file photo, a Rohingya Muslim man who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape religious violence, cries as he pleads from a boat after he and others were intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh. Two recent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea believed to have taken the lives of as many as 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants has highlighted the escalating flow of people fleeing persecution, war and economic difficulties in their homelands. (AP Photo/Anurup Titu, File)

In this June 13, 2012, file photo, a Rohingya Muslim man who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape religious violence, cries as he pleads from a boat after he and others were intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh. Two recent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea believed to have taken the lives of as many as 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants has highlighted the escalating flow of people fleeing persecution, war and economic difficulties in their homelands. (AP Photo/Anurup Titu, File)

ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press

Two recent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea believed to have taken the lives of as many as 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants highlight the growing number of people fleeing persecution, war and economic difficulties in their homelands.

Over the years, thousands of people in Asia have also used boats to escape. Here’s a look at where many go, and how they are treated once they arrive.

AUSTRALIA

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, China, Somalia, Sudan, Myanmar and Vietnam.

DESTINATIONS: Most of the boats leave Indonesian ports for Christmas Island, an Australian territory 345 kilometers (215 miles) south of the Indonesian island of Java, or Ashmore Reef, a collection of Australian islands east of Christmas Island. They often arrive without passports, which makes repatriating them more difficult.

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: Since July 2013, Australia has refused to allow refugees who arrive by boat to settle on the mainland, and it has been turning back boats since the current government was elected in September 2013.

It has a detention camp for asylum seekers on Christmas Island and pays Papua New Guinea and the Pacific island nation of Nauru to run similar camps where asylum seekers wait while their applications for refugee status are processed.

Australia has an agreement to pay Cambodia to take refugees detained on Nauru, and with Papua New Guinea to resettle those camped out in there. So far none have gone to Cambodia, while some have been resettled in Papua New Guinea.

Australia is much more welcoming of asylum seekers who arrive by plane, although it still requires an initial period of detention. Once out of detention, some are allowed to work while others rely on welfare, including free medical care, but they are not eligible for government housing and must find accommodation in the private rental market.

INDONESIA

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Middle Eastern countries.

DESTINATION: Australia

GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE: Indonesia, with its thousands of islands and long stretches of unpatrolled coastlines, is a key transit country for asylum seekers and migrants wanting to get to Australia.

The country hasn’t signed the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention and doesn’t legally recognize asylum seekers or refugees. But it does operate 13 detention centers around the country that temporarily house them while the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office processes their applications for refugee status and eventual resettlement in a third country such as the U.S. or Canada. Thousands more live on their own outside the detention centers.

MALAYSIA

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Mostly Myanmar, but also from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Sudan.

DESTINATIONS: Most register with the UNHCR for resettlement in a third country while others travel through Malaysia to Indonesia in a bid to reach Australia.

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: As in Indonesia and Thailand, asylum seekers and refugees have no legal status in Malaysia, putting them at risk of arrest and detention.

There are no refugee camps in Malaysia, and more than 100,000 of these “urban refugees” live in overcrowded, low-cost apartments or houses across the country. Their children do not have access to formal education. Barred legally from working, many earn money doing dirty or dangerous jobs that locals shun, while they wait for possible resettlement through the UNHCR — typically a process that lasts several years.

EUROPE

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Mainly Syria, Iraq, Eritrea and Somalia. Palestinians also have attempted to flee to Europe.

DESTINATION: Closest point of landfall, which usually means Italy, Greece or Malta. Many travel overland to Bulgaria and Hungary, favoring destinations like Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and other Nordic countries.

EUROPEAN UNION’S RESPONSE: Asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Europe without visas are interviewed and finger-printed by authorities. EU nations have “reception centers” to house migrants where they are fed and given health care while their applications for asylum are being assessed.

Some migrants are given temporary permits allowing them to stay while their cases are studied. The country where they land is responsible for handling this, including providing free legal assistance. The process should not exceed 11 months. Those who do not qualify for residency of some kind are in some cases invited to leave Europe voluntarily, with some incentives. Others are expelled, sometimes put on a plane and flown to their home nation.

INDIA

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sri Lanka

DESTINATION: India

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE: After Sri Lanka’s civil war erupted in 1983, hundreds of thousands from the ethnic Tamil minority fled the fighting between the majority Sinhalese government and Tamil rebels demanding an independent homeland. The refugees arrived in waves — many aboard crowded, rickety wooden boats that crossed the narrow bay between Sri Lanka and India — and landed on the beaches of Tamil Nadu state.

The Indian government erected more than 100 refugee camps, where authorities questioned people to make sure they were not linked to the rebels. Once cleared, they were given living quarters, monthly rations and the chance to find work in the community.

With ethnic, cultural and linguistic ties to India’s Tamils in the southern state, many refugees assimilated and took Indian citizenship. Others opted for repatriation offered at various times, including after Sri Lankan Tamil rebels in 1991 assassinated former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The arrivals ceased when the Sri Lankan government crushed the rebels and ended the war in 2009.

BANGLADESH

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Myanmar

DESTINATION: Bangladesh

THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority group in Myanmar, have fled to Bangladesh in recent years to escape persecution in the predominantly Buddhist nation. Roughly 400,000 Rohingya are believed to have gone to Bangladesh, where many of their ancestors came from, but only about 30,000 are officially recognized as refugees. The luckiest live in designated refugee camps, which include schools and clinics, but most either live in squalid informal camps or in poor, crowded neighborhoods.

In 2012, when waves of Rohingya sought shelter in Bangladesh, border authorities reportedly forced more than 1,300 back into the sea in their creaky vessels. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina denied the refugees had been driven away, but made clear she didn’t want them, saying the country, already densely populated, “cannot bear this burden.”

VIETNAMESE REFUGEES

DESTINATION: United States, Canada, Australia

FLIGHT AND RESPONSE: The mass exodus of Vietnamese “boat people” began in 1978, a few years after the end of the Vietnam War, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to escape persecution by the victorious Communist government. Another wave followed in the late 1980s. The United Nations refugee agency says at least 840,000 left by sea.

The majority initially landed in Hong Kong and several Southeast Asian nations that established refugee camps and threatened to push them back, but most eventually settled in the United States, Canada and Australia.

_______

McGuirk reported from Canberra, Australia. Associated Press writers Raf Casert in Brussels, Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, Todd Pitman in Bangkok and Katy Daigle and Tim Sullivan in New Delhi contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commentary

COMMENTARY: Muslims in France Face Worsening Climate of Hate Under Leadership of President Macron

For France, which colonized Algeria for more than a century, the idea that people from the former colonies should live the life they want seems unbearable. Many white French people seem to have a fear that those from the former colonies may want to treat the descendants of the European French in the same way that the colonial masters treated us. Assuming always the worst for its Muslim citizens says a lot about the country and its beliefs.

Published

on

A demonstration in France by Muslims protesting their treatment under President Macron in 2020.
A demonstration in France by Muslims protesting their treatment under President Macron in 2020.

By Larbi Ben Krima

Editor’s Note: We are accustomed to hearing travel advisories telling us to avoid countries in the midst of civil war or government repression. Last month a Muslim civil rights organization warned Muslims not to travel to a country that many consider to be the birthplace of liberty. The author of this article, a French citizen, explains how France has become an oppressive place for Muslims.

I was born and raised in France to an Algerian family. I, like millions of other French citizens, heard about colonization and the mistreatment it created. There was some progress made, and now, piece by piece, that is being erased.

One year ago, in October 2020, French President Macron decided to launch his 2022 re-election campaign with a speech targeting Muslim people. He used terrorism as an excuse. Everybody in France knew it was really about politics, although the citizens of the world did not know that.

Macron’s government followed up by dissolving organizations that had criticized his Islamophobic government.

Schools, humanitarian NGO’s, mosques, publishing offices, and civil right movements with Muslim participants have been shut down by a government looking for Far Right votes in the next election.

France is still pretending to fight for rights around the world, but these rights are never really applied to its Muslim citizens, who are always seen as a Fifth Column and who always have to prove that they are French enough.

Every Muslim act is seen as a danger to the country. It seems that Muslim prayers threaten the French republic; Muslim food is seen as a challenge to the religion of other French people; and Muslim clothes are seen as an attempt to change France’s way of life. Most religions have special foods, and prayers and clothing. Having these customs should not be made so difficult for us after all these years. What’s the big deal?

For France, which colonized Algeria for more than a century, the idea that people from the former colonies should live the life they want seems unbearable. Many white French people seem to have a fear that those from the former colonies may want to treat the descendants of the European French in the same way that the colonial masters treated us. Assuming always the worst for its Muslim citizens says a lot about the country and its beliefs.

That may explain why this country, which refuses to take accountability for its colonial past, can’t accept the kids who are born and raised here.

Quoting the world-famous psychiatrist and political philosopher Frantz Fanon, “It should not be said that such and such a country is racist, but there are no lynchings or extermination camps there. The truth is, all of this and something more is on the horizon.”

We can say that racism runs deep in France’s institutions and politics, cheered on by the media, with applause from a substantial group who likes what they are hearing.

This is a country where an openly racist media pundit has growing support in his campaign for president, just as Donald Trump did.

France, which always despised the USA, has now became one of the United States of Islamophobia, along with China and India.

A former great country, known for its ideals, France has used its former glory around the world. Recently, the world has come to know what a very small country France has actually become a country that should stop preaching to others what it obviously refuses to apply to itself.

Continue Reading

Business

Opinion: Different Summit, Same Story for the Polluters, Politicians, Privileged and Poor at Global Climate Meeting

So far, Glasgow has heard a lot of talk. President Biden and other world leaders touted two ‘major’ agreements earlier this week. One commits to ending deforestation by 2030, and the other to cut planet-heating methane emissions by 30%. But these aren’t binding. They are promises, an invitation to take leaders at their word. Many of these leaders promised to halve deforestation by 2020 back at a New York summit in 2014, a promise that was quietly broken.

Published

on

Despite the looming catastrophe, a tour of the COP26 premises makes it very clear that at these talks, nothing has changed.
Despite the looming catastrophe, a tour of the COP26 premises makes it very clear that at these talks, nothing has changed.

By Louis Wilson, Special to California Black Media Partners

Global negotiations kicked off this week in Glasgow, Scotland, in what John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, described as our ‘last best chance’ to avoid environmental disaster.

These talks matter to California – so much so that a delegation of elected and government officials led by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis made the 5,000-mile trip.

The goal is simple: agree to a plan to reduce the emissions that cause dangerous heating. To do that, governments need to end our reliance on fossil fuels, and support less-wealthy nations and communities in their decarbonization process.

We’ve been here 25 times before. The 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26 is a gathering of over 100 nations in search of a solution to the climate crisis. Sadly, since the first meeting in Berlin in 1995, global emissions have increased. By almost every measure, the climate crisis is getting worse. That’s visible to Californians in the record wildfires, drought, and extreme weather that has intensified in the past two years.

The science is clear – something needs to change right now, otherwise the climate will change it for us. The current business-as-usual trajectory is set to make the world somewhere between 4.5 degrees F to 5.4 degrees F hotter than it was before we started burning fossil fuels. That would mean more droughts, fire, hurricanes, famines, climate refugees, and the list goes on.

So far, Glasgow has heard a lot of talk. President Biden and other world leaders touted two ‘major’ agreements earlier this week. One commits to ending deforestation by 2030, and the other to cut planet-heating methane emissions by 30%. But these aren’t binding. They are promises, an invitation to take leaders at their word. Many of these leaders promised to halve deforestation by 2020 back at a New York summit in 2014, a promise that was quietly broken.

Despite the looming catastrophe, a tour of the COP26 premises makes it very clear that at these talks, nothing has changed. The same old faces are here – the politicians, the polluters, the big companies, and people representing privileged and largely white interests.

Companies sponsoring the talks for a seat at the center of the action include one of the world’s largest plastic polluters (Unilever), a bank (NatWest) that has financed billions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuel projects since 2015, and a consumer goods company (Reckitt) whose suppliers included, until very recently, companies tearing down one of the world’s last remaining tropical rainforests in Papua New Guinea.

One of these sponsors, SSE, is currently building a new fossil gas plant, even while hosting a friendly stall touting unproven future technologies that might eventually help reduce emissions. Reckitt, meanwhile, is organizing an official side-event titled ‘Changing Consumer Behaviour,’ which appears aimed at deflecting responsibility onto individuals.

Presumably, the main recommendation will be to steer clear of their products until they can remove deforestation from their supply chain.

While companies that have had a hand in causing the crisis are overrepresented, notably underrepresented are BIPOC communities, or representatives from the worst affected countries. It is, as many have called it, the richest, Whitest COP ever.

That’s a problem ethically, but it’s also a big problem because clearly, ‘business as usual’ hasn’t worked. If we want to prevent the worst of what is to come, we need to focus on the interests of people on the frontlines: those who lost their homes in wildfires this year, or who were forced off their land by agribusinesses, or whose air is being polluted by mining projects. We can no longer prioritize the narrow interests of a very noisy but destructive business community.

This matters for California – the state which has long been a leader in the U.S. on climate action but is suffering the most immediate impacts of the climate crisis right now. If Californians want this state to be liveable for future generations, we need to see through ambitious action at home – but we also need these global negotiations to be a success.

Right now, we’re on track for more warm words, more bold, unmet promises, and more degrees of global heating. Unless this COP and all future climate summits put the worst affected, most vulnerable communities first, we will continue on this disastrous path which will see California and many other parts of the globe become inhospitable for our descendants within generations.

Louis Wilson is a senior communications advisor with Global Witness, a climate advocacy group.

Continue Reading

Black History

U.N. Climate Summit: Black Caucus Member Isaac Bryan Is Representing California in Scotland 

Elected to his Assembly seat in May, Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles) is mainly known for his work on social justice issues. But he has received praise for the multifocal approach he takes to standing up for environmental justice.

Published

on

During his campaign for the Assembly, Bryan received an endorsement from California Environmental Voters (EnviroVoters). The Sierra Club California also gave Bryan a score of 100% on its 2021 Legislative Report Card.
During his campaign for the Assembly, Bryan received an endorsement from California Environmental Voters (EnviroVoters). The Sierra Club California also gave Bryan a score of 100% on its 2021 Legislative Report Card.

By Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles) is the only Black member of the California Legislature attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland this week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is not present at the summit as he abruptly opted out last week, citing personal reasons.

“Due to family obligations, Governor Newsom will no longer be traveling to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and will instead be participating virtually, focusing on California’s landmark climate change policies,” Newsom’s spokesperson Erin Mellon said October 29.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis is attending the conference in Newsom’s place.

The conference began Sunday, October 31 and will last through Friday, November 12. It is co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Italy.

Bryan, who represents California’s 54th district and serves as the Assembly’s Assistant Majority Whip, joins 22 government officials attending the conference. He is also a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC).

Elected to his Assembly seat in May, Bryan is mainly known for his work on social justice issues. But he has received praise for the multifocal approach he takes to standing up for environmental justice.

During his campaign for the Assembly, Bryan received an endorsement from California Environmental Voters (EnviroVoters). The Sierra Club California also gave Bryan a score of 100% on its 2021 Legislative Report Card.

“Isaac Bryan is a bold, visionary leader whose intersectional approach to policy is much needed in the California legislature,” said EnviroVoters CEO Mary Creasman.

“We do not have time to waste when it comes to climate justice, and California needs leaders who are willing to stand up to big oil and polluters. Isaac has proven that he will lead the charge and do what is right at this critical point. Assembly District 54 needs an Assembly member who will take bold action on the community values of racial, criminal, economic, and environmental justice, and Isaac Bryan is clearly that candidate. EnviroVoters is excited to endorse Isaac Bryan for Assembly District 54,” Creasman continued.

Bryan responded to this endorsement and another one from Equality California (EQCA) in a statement.

“This is our moment. The support of these two frontrunners for progress is an important call to protect our vulnerable communities, prioritizing the needs of our LGBTQ+ and BIPOC neighbors; ensure clean air and water for all; and lift people out of poverty by preparing for jobs in emerging technologies,” Bryan said.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending