Asylum

Episode 42: Stateless - Myanmar's Rohingya People

In 1982 the Myanmar (Burmese) military government passed a citizenship law that effectively stripped the Rohingya community of their nationality overnight. They’ve been stateless ever since, and subject to institutionalized discrimination and coordinated persecution that has greatly restricted their movement and their access to jobs and to education.

Although there have been reports of attacks and massacres in the past, in August of 2017 Myanmar’s military began a campaign to drive many Rohingya out of their homes in Rakhine state, with the result that roughly 900,000 refugees have fled the country, with reports of widespread and coordinated attacks utilizing arson, rape, and mass killing that bear signs of genocide. Refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh have long since been filled past overflowing, and many have been reduced to living in squalid and unsafe conditions in and around the camps.

JN Joniad fled his home in Rakhine state 6 years ago, and is currently registered in with UNHCR in Indonesia as a refugee, while he awaits resettlement elsewhere. His story not only illuminates the condition of fellow Rohingya, but also uncovers what appears to be a global trend amongst wealthy nations (the US, EU, and Australia) to outsource their border enforcement policy to developing nations through a strategy of deterrence and obscured accountability.

 
 
J N Joniad’s Blog

J N Joniad’s Blog

 
 
 

Episode 34: Are You Syrious?

Have you ever watched a humanitarian crisis unfolding on the news, witnessed the subsequent failure in leadership, and thought to yourself, "I wish I could get some friends together and just do something to make this better?" 

That's what Milena Zajović and a few Croatian friends did when the largest refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War 2 came to their borders in the Summer of 2015. That initial impulse lead to the creation of Are You Syrious?, a nonprofit that focuses on field work, integration, and advocacy for refugees in the Balkans and Southern Europe. Lately a lot of their work has focussed on reporting on the so-called "push backs" that have seen Croatian authorities playing the role of border enforcers for the European Union. These measures have been accompanied by widespread reports of violence and other human rights abuses and campaigns by various governments to criminalize the work of human rights defenders, a worrying trend that Latitude Adjustment covered in our previous episode about Malta as well. 

Be sure to subscribe to the Are you Syrious Daily Digest, a resource that's become reference material for foreign embassies, aid workers, and journalists, and which provides up to the minute reporting for and about refugees in Europe and across the Middle East. 

photos & logo design credit: Are You Syrious?/ Milena Zajović

 
Are You Syrious? Daily Digest

Are You Syrious? Daily Digest

 
 

Episode 31: Out of Options - Syrian & Yemeni in Malaysia

Hashed had to flee Yemen after his father was killed, and what followed was an odyssey that has taken him from Djibouti, to India, to Malaysia, where his struggle is far from over.

Hassan is from Syria, and he also wound up in Malaysia, after his  work visa in the UAE expired and the Emirati government threatened to deport him back to Syria. Hassan became the subject of international attention when he spent 7 months trapped in the Kuala Lumpur airport. These are their stories, and you can help.

Latitude Adjustment Podcast: Episode 31: Stuck in Malaysia
 
 
Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

 
Hand to Hand profile & fundraising campaign for Hashed

Hand to Hand profile & fundraising campaign for Hashed

 
 

Episode 18: Escape from Afghanistan to France

Abdul is a photographer from Afghanistan, where he worked with the US military before having to flee the country after death threats from the Taliban. What followed was an overland odyssey across Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, the Balkans, and back and forth across the EU, until he was able to claim asylum in France, where he currently lives. Along the way he endured prison, forced labor, beatings, deportations, and kidnapping. His is one of the more remarkable stories of resilience that I have come across in my years of traveling and working in the Middle East and anywhere else in the world.

We were connected by the people at No Name Kitchen, a Spanish NGO that provides food, sleeping bags and supplies, and a community space for the growing numbers of refugees stuck in Serbia and more recently in Bosnia.