There are more displaced people today than there have ever been – over 20 million people today find themselves forced from their homelands by war, poverty, famine and genocide. In this meeting, MPOZ looks at the refugee crisis facing Malaysia and Australia, and asks what brings a government to turn its back on and vilify the most vulnerable people on earth.
The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority in largely Buddhist Myanmar, who have been systematically brutalised by the military, even as the democratically-elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi refuses to intervene. The Malaysian Government has seen fit to use the Rohingya as a political tool, claiming that it champions the rights of Muslims around theworld.
Yet the government remains silent on the various other minorities in Myanmar, and turns away Rohingya boats from our shores. And of course, there remains resentment against the migrant population in Malaysia, who suffer abuse and exploitation from the government and from ordinary people even as they keep our cities running.
Australia’s record on refugee rights is no better. Since late 2013 it has been government policy to indefinitely detain all boat arrivals in offshore detention camps, in miserable conditions with no hope of resettlement. The way in which these refugees are scapegoated as a security risk, as job stealers and queue jumpers, is eerily familiar to Malaysians. From the refugee movement here we also see how people power can force an end to refugee cruelty.
Join us and find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the refugee crisis and the politics behind it! Snacks and prayer space provided, as always. All are welcome. Experience not necessary!