Red Cross: NZ can help refugees in Asia

  • 04/09/2015
Refugees in Myanmar (Reuters)
Refugees in Myanmar (Reuters)

By Kim Vinnell

As the world turns its focus to Europe and the refugees coming from Syria and north Africa, the refugee crisis in New Zealand's corner of the world continues.

Almost 30,000 people have made the dangerous journey by sea from Thailand and Bangladesh towards Malaysia and Indonesia so far this year.

For Myanmar's Rohingya, life in western Rakhine State is hard. Regarded as illegal immigrants, thousands are fleeing every week.

Rohingya are ethnic Muslims, born in the west of Buddhist Myanmar. The government denies them citizenship and basic rights.

Fleeing persecution, tens of thousands are making the journey south across the Andaman Sea, heading towards Malaysia and Indonesia.

In May, the world was shocked to discover mass graves of migrants near the Thai border - it's thought they were killed by traffickers.

Just last month Myanmar's navy blocked two ships carrying hundreds of mostly Bangladeshi refugees. They were kept adrift for days and were eventually turned back.

In the face of the global crisis, it can seem overwhelming – but the New Zealand Red Cross says Kiwis can do their part.

Watch the video for the full 3 News report.