Quarterly Mixed Migration Update Asia, Quarter 2, 2020

This Quarterly Mixed Migration Update (QMMU) covers Southern and Southeast Asia. The core countries of focus for this region are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand. Depending on the quarterly trends and migration-related updates, more attention may be given to any of the countries over the rest.

The QMMUs offer a quarterly update on new trends and dynamics related to mixed migration and relevant policy developments in the region. These updates are based on a compilation of a wide range of secondary (data) sources, brought together within a regional framework and applying a mixed migration analytical lens. Similar QMMUs are available for all MMC regions.

Key Updates

  • Rising concerns over COVID-19 cases in refugee camps, shelters, and immigration detention facilities across the region: The first COVID-19 cases were detected in a refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazar region and in a refugee shelter in Indonesia, where overcrowding and limited sanitation supplies exacerbate the likelihood of an outbreak. Numerous cases were also recorded in detentions centers in Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Rising xenophobia and abuse against Afghans in Iran: In May, 17 Afghans were murdered by Iranian border guards while attempting to enter Iran irregularly from Herat. This incident occurred amid rising abuse of Afghans across Iran, increased arrests and deportations of undocumented Afghans, and the murder of three Afghans in central Yazd province.
  • Returning migrant workers face discrimination and unsafe quarantine conditions: As hundreds of thousands of migrants return to their homelands due to job loss amid widespread lockdowns, they have been subject to unsafe quarantine conditions and met with mistrust and stigma due to fears of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Fears border closures could increase instances of exploitation and trafficking: With borders closed and regular avenues of recruitment temporarily suspended, there are growing concerns over the possibility of rising incidents of debt bondage, trafficking, and exploitation as migrants seek employment opportunities abroad.
  • Immigration crackdowns in Malaysia: Amid rising xenophobia, Malaysian authorities have conducted a series of police raids, resulting in the arrest and detention of refugees and migrants. Meanwhile,
    Malaysia has pushed back several boats carrying hundreds of Rohingya trying to seek protection.
  • Continued concerns over immigration detention conditions in Australia: Numerous protests have been held in Melbourne and Sydney, protesting overcrowding and high-risk conditions in immigration detention facilities. A chronically ill refugee held in an immigration detention facility has launched a landmark case in the high court, seeking his release to protect him from contracting COVID-19.



Source: Mixed Migration Centre