Rohingya women in Malaysia : decision-making and information sharing in the course of irregular migration
This paper presents major findings of a project focused on the experiences of Rohingya women in Malaysia, categorised as ‘irregular migrants’. Malaysia has become a key destination and country of transit for many Rohingya fleeing Myanmar. The paper presents and analyses the influences on decision-making; the role of family; information sources used and their trustworthiness and gendered violence. The fieldwork was conducted in late 2015, including 350 surveys and 35 in-depth interviews. The research findings reveal a range of factors that affect the lives of Rohingya women and their families before and during journeys, as well as in Malaysia. These factors affect planning for the future and decision for onward migration. The paper discusses the details of decision-making and information sharing during migration journeys and provides analysis of women’s choices and the factors that condition decision-making. Given that onward journeys are often difficult or impossible, the conditions irregular migrants face during periods of transit are also a key focus of the paper.