Saturday, 19 June 2010

Take urgent steps to address plight of Rohingyas

Source from thestar, 18 June 2010

Rohingya refugees are a forgotten group in South-East Asia, and their children are facing many challenges.
Out of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, only 18,800 are registered with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia.

They are being marginalised and unspecific numbers of them are living life in sub-human conditions. They are considered illegal immigrants in this region.
Activists in Malaysia have found that there are at least over 8,000 school-age children who are deprived of their basic rights to education and other needs.

A number of them become street children as they need to find the means to survive.
In late 2009, the Malaysian Government announced that the Rohingya refugee children would be allowed access to our public schools, but this is a commitment that remains on paper only.
The education authorities at the local level still stick to the prior situation whereby the refugees are deemed illegal and thus their children cannot attend public schools.

Sadly, the Rohingya refugees are not being treated like the other non-Rohingya Burmese refugee children for whom volunteers from different countries are able to look into their education and financial needs.
I appeal to the international community to take urgent steps to look into the plight of these children.

Mohammad Sadek,
Program Coordinator,
Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia.

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