Ethnic minorities have been fleeing persecution in Myanmar for decades. Many have fled to neighbouring countries as a place of first asylum and Malaysia is now home to one the largest urban refugee populations in the region. Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN convention and protocol on refugees and the presence of the UNHCR are barely tolerated, which leaves refugees and asylum seekers in a perennial state of limbo. Most refugees in Malaysia hope that the UNHCR will determine their status and resettle them in the West. Australia has been a key resettlement country for refugees in transit in Malaysia due to the failed Malaysia swap deal that nonetheless secured 4,000 resettlement places from Malaysia to Australia between 2012 and 2016. Refugees look towards Australia as a good international citizen and wealthy resettlement country, where, they believe, they can fulfil their hopes and dreams and secure a future for their children. This article follows the stories of a number of refugees from transit in Malaysia to resettlement in Australia. Resettled refugees are considered the lucky ones, but this article documents the unexpected difficulties of settling in and beginning a new life in Australia.
SOURCE: Hoffstaedter, G. Lamb, N. ““It’s God’s plan to be here”: Displacement, Transit and Resettlement of Chin and Karenni Refugees to Australia.” AJPH, 15 December 2019.
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