Mohamed Shah’s Story, New Zealand


This is my pathway to freedom.

“I belong to the Rohingya ethnic minority group that has been facing persecution for many decades. I feel that I am deprived of fundamental rights and have faced harassment in my country since I was young.

Thus, I have grown up as persecuted person who has been mentally affected by fear. The restriction of freedom of movement against the Rohingyas has forced me to be separated from my mother and siblings. Since I left my home town, Sittwe, I have never seen my family again.

The situation suddenly changed as authorities were detaining more Rohingyas and harming them for no reason in 2005. They went door-to-door and arrested undocumented Rohingyas in Yangon. Thus, I decided to leave as I knew about the brutality and inhumane treatment against the Rohingyas in the detention.

My life totally changed when I went to Malaysia. I now finally own my freedom. I have received proper treatment. – being respected by local society and given opportunity to improve my education.

After arriving in New Zealand, I worked with Statistic New Zealand as a census collector. I joined the Auckland University of Technology to continue my bachelor’s degree in Faculty of Business & Law. I am now working with Red Cross New Zealand as a cross cultural worker on a casual basis. I am also working as Fork lift operator at a firm. I am still single and hoping to be reunited with my fiancé soon.

I have a younger brother living in Auckland with his family who resettled here together with me. I also have a younger brother who fled the recent violence and he is currently living in Malaysia. He is registered refugee under UNHCR. I am worrying for his life. I want to be reunited with him as I haven’t seen him for nearly 15 years.

I am now fighting for the rights of other Rohingyas suffering in Rakhine State, Myanmar. My parents passed away but I still hope to be reunited with the rest of my siblings before I die. I am also hoping that UNHCR will render humanitarian assistance to all those who are oppressed. So that they can live peacefully, their children can go to the formal school and help each other make changes for other Rohingya people.”


Name: Mohamed Shah Alam Ali

Nationality: Myanmar (Rohingya)


1 family torn apart by war is too many

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