Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Malaysia should have OWN law about refugee/asylum seeker recognition process..rights, etc

It has always been an embarrassment when United Nation's recognized refugees and asylum seekers were being arrested, detained, .... just like any other undocumented migrant.
True, Malaysia has not ratified the 1951UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees - but still, Malaysia do recognize refugees in practice...
Maybe the time has come for Malaysia to legislate laws governing not just refugees but also asylum seekers. Maybe, Malaysia should have its own procedure leading towards recognition of a person's refugee, asylum seeking status. This law should have provisions as to the application method/procedure, appeals procedure, provisions for judicial review, right to stay in Malaysia during the process of application,appeal, review, etc.., provisions as to right to work, stay, movement, etc.. We can have our own 1Malaysia law that deals with the issue of refugees and asylum seekers. The control will then be with the government - not some UN Agency. 

Today, when a person runs to Malaysia claiming asylum - what happens? Is there any law that deals with this area?

The recent move for the government of Malaysia to issue 'Refugee ID Cards' is a good move but really more can be done for Malaysians are a caring compassionate people - and these values must also manifest itself in its government..

Malaysia plans IDs for refugees to prevent arrest

The Associated Press ,  Kuala Lumpur   |  Mon, 02/01/2010 1:14 PM  |  World 

Malaysia plans to issue identification cards to refugees who are recognized by the United Nations, allowing them to stay in the country temporarily and avoid arrest as illegal immigrants.
Malaysia, which has declined to join the U.N. convention on refugees for fear of attracting a flood of migrants, previously has arrested refugees frequently as illegal aliens. Mostly from Myanmar, the refugees often have spent months in overcrowded detention center and faced caning and deportation. 

The plans announced Monday reflect a softening of Malaysia's position toward the refugees, although it continues to refuse them official recognition. 

Home Ministry Secretary General Mahmood Adam said the government would work with the U.N. refugee agency to issue the cards so immigration enfocement personnel would recognize and spare U.N.-designated refugees. 

"As long as they are recognized as refugees by the U.N., they can stay here temporarily," he told The Associate Press. "They cannot work here, but they can do odd jobs." 

He could not give an exact timeline but said the initiative was in the "final stage." 

According to the U.N. agency, about 75,600 refugees and asylum-seekers were in Malaysia as of November. Most fled persecution in Myanmar. 

Yante Ismal, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, welcomed the development and further discussions to form a documentation system. 

"Proper documentation for refugees is essential to their protection," she said. 

All of the refugees in Malaysia are waiting to be resettled to a third country that officially accepts refugees, which grants them legal status and the right to work.- Jakarta Post, 2/2/2010, Malaysia plans IDs for refugees to prevent arrest

1 comment:

CNY blogger said...

This Refugee ID issued by the Malaysian government may be able to protect refugees from being detained but not from being arrested against violation of immigration Acts Sec 6.

In my understanding if refugee commit illegal activities, he/she will surely still be arrested and detained.

It also implied that a refugee will still be stopped by police and possibly demanded cash as ransom to avoid ID confiscation. Because there has been hundreds of cases that claimed that their UNHCR ID were confiscated and destroyed by the Police. And there has been hundreds of cases that polices demanded money from refugees.

Refugees are still not safe in Malaysia. This ID won't help them get job and protect them from neighborhood bullies. Moreover, this card won't help refugees to become PR or Citizens in Malaysia.

Therefore, refugees in Malaysia still need resettlement process.