A photo from the Airbel Impact Lab archive

In Search of Survival and Sanctuary in the City

Over  120,000  refugees and  stateless persons  from all parts of  the globe have made their  way to Malaysia’s cities and  towns in search of sanctuary and  survival. Ninety five percent of Malaysia’s  refugees are from Myanmar/Burma. They have escaped armed conflict; attacks on  their mores and villages; forced labor by the military; communal violence; and ethnic, political and religious persecution. Refugees from Myanmar now live in communities scattered throughout Kuala Lumpur’s Klang Valley  and other areas of the country. This study consisted of a quantitative survey of 1,003 randomly selected Burmese refugee households and 10 focus group discussions, some of which included more than 20 participants.  The study found that there are a range of unmet needs impacting the lives and ability of refugees from Myanmar to survive in Kuala Lumpur. The data indicated that refugees from Burma continue to face substantial and constant  protection abuses from a range of actors, and that refugees were economically struggling to meet their most basic of needs. Refugees from Myanmar had access to few resources and little recourse from abuses. Based on the study findings, the recommendations focused on five key areas—protection, refugee  community development, livelihoods, health, and children and youth—and are available at the conclusion of the report.


  • Final Report