Refugee kids deserve empathy, not condemnation

Josh Hong

Rather than deny refugees and asylum seekers the right to jobs, it is far more practical for the Malaysian government to allow them to work so that they can take care of themselves. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 17, 2022.

RECENTLY, a group of Rohingya refugee children begging in the streets of Malaysia caught the attention of the public after videos of them doing so went viral. Many Malaysians called on the authorities to take stern action against the street urchins who were “ungrateful” for our compassion and generosity.

What compassion and generosity these people had in mind is anyone’s guess, for Malaysia is not signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and is under no obligation to provide any assistance to those who have fled their home countries to seek asylum via the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Kuala Lumpur.

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