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In COVID hit Asia, mixed media and refugee vaccines | Coronavirus News Plague

Medan, Indonesia – Earlier this month, many Rohingya refugees arrived on an empty island off the coast of Indonesia in Aceh.

The program of The refugees have been at sea for more than 100 days, after leaving Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh on a wooden fishing boat, and was spotted encountering an island fisherman on Idaman who used the island as a rest stop during a fishing trip.

By June 5, one day after their arrival, all 81 refugees, including children, had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Refugees received the vaccine in collaboration with the government,” Nasruddin, a fundraiser for the Geutanyoe Foundation, an NGO that provides education and psychological training for refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia, told Al Jazeera.

“When we found them, they were in trouble on the island without food, water or electricity, so the locals brought them food and we also brought 50 water tanks,” he added. “The downside is that we need to share our vaccine with refugees to protect them as well. No one has ever complained that the vaccine is given to refugees.”

The Aceh region has been highly commended by humanitarian organizations, NGOs and civilians for vaccinating Rohingya refugees, but elsewhere in Southeast Asia, asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers have no access.

Strong line

After Nasruddin tested 81 refugees on Idaman Island, he told her he wanted to go to Malaysia. Some had relatives who were already living there, while others had the impression that the country had more rights to care for refugees than its neighbors.

Some of the Rohingya refugees who arrived in Aceh earlier this month. He told NGOs that they wanted to go to Malaysia because they have families there or think they are more welcome to refugees than other Southeast Asian countries. [Cek Mad/AFP]

But like most countries in Southeast Asia, Malaysia does not sign the United Nations Refugee Convention and, while the government offers immunizations to all its citizens, has also taken a strong toll on migrants and refugees, including Rohingya.

“In February, the minister decided that in order to combat the epidemic, all foreigners would receive free vaccines, including refugees and migrants without documents,” said Lilianne Fan, co-founder of the Geutanyoe Foundation in Kuala. Lumpur, told Al Jazeera.

“The COVID-19 Vaccine Control Group and the Minister of Science Khairy Jamaluddin as the vaccine coordinator, have been very supportive of this approach.

“However, the recent statement by the Minister of Housing that those who do not have valid documents should not be vaccinated, including the re-marriage of undocumented migrants, is against the government’s past efforts and will end. driving more people into hiding and reduce the epidemic in Malaysia. ”

Malaysia has entered second solid closure in early June after the coronavirus progressed – a wide range of hospitals and major hospitals to the end. The health ministry announced Friday 6,440 new cases.

The government has said it will help increase the number of vaccines because more people will be vaccinated, and Khairy has been pushing for the program to be included. everyone living in the world.

As in the first year of its closure, Malaysia also intensified its efforts to combat undocumented migrants.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainudin has announced that PATI – the name of undocumented people in Malay – will be detained and sent to refugee camps.

This month, he determined that undocumented migrants should “volunteer” before receiving the vaccine.

In early June, a video of the state-run news agency Bernama showed 156 undocumented migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar spraying pesticides at Cyberjaya, near the Malaysian international airport, after their arrest.

Last week the immigration department posted on its Facebook page – a screenshot of a security video – titled “Rohingya immigrants are not welcome”. After the shout, but before it was published among the refugees, it was removed.

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission on Monday expressed concern over “recent reports of illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers as a threat to national security and a threat to the health of Malawians” and urged the government to reconsider his approach.

“Intimidation of threats through the arrest and detention of undocumented immigrants is a response to ongoing efforts to combat the epidemic and achieve animal protection,” it said, emphasizing the clear diversity of conditions for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers.

Malaysia closed its borders for the first time closing last year when immigration officials held a series of demonstrations in “reserved” areas. Human rights groups fear that the strike will prevent people from coming to Malaysia to receive the vaccine, the most important in Malaysia to end the COVID epidemic. [File: Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

Rohingya was about 57 per cent of the 179,570 refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia at the end of May.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the country may have at least three million undocumented migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration.

A common problem

Information mixed with the refugee vaccine is not limited to Malaysia.

In a statement issued in early June, the UN refugee agency warned that the lack of vaccines in the Asia Pacific region was putting the lives of refugees and refugees at risk.

“Refugees remain at risk of the spread of COVID-19. More densely populated areas, combined with poor sanitation and sanitation, could lead to increased risk and the spread of the virus,” UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said in a statement.

There are about 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, making it one of the most populous groups in the world. According to Mahecic, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the camps increased significantly in the last two months.

As of May 31, there were more than 1,188 confirmed cases among refugees, and more than half of these cases were registered in May alone.

None of the Cox’s Bazar refugees received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mahecic added that, in many countries in the Asia Pacific region, there was a lack of adequate vaccines, which led to the withdrawal of groups such as migrant workers and those seeking refuge.

UNHCR has seen a “significant increase” in cases of coronavirus infections among refugees and asylum seekers in countries including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, it said.

Indonesia, seems to be starting to do more to address the problem.

UNHCR says COVID-19 has begun rushing to the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, but no local Rohingya has been vaccinated [File: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters]

Other parts of the country have begun following Aceh’s claim, according to IOM, which received more than 900 vaccines in the Indonesian city of Pekanbaru in Riau in early June in collaboration with the government.

“IOM appreciates the response of the City of Pekanbaru government in providing vaccines to refugees in the city,” Ariani Hasanah Soejoeti, IOM Indonesia’s media and liaison officer, told Al Jazeera, adding that all 18-year-old refugees in the city have now been vaccinated.

“Vaccines are our most important and affordable tool to prevent outbreaks and to keep people safe so all areas are safe and healthy,” he said.

“The virus knows no bounds or type; neither should we. ”

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