Agreement For Better Access To Legal Aid For Refugees In Malaysia

UNHCR and Asylum Access signed an agreement to provide asylum-seekers in Malaysia with access to legal representation in their refugee status determination process.

 

Mr Richard Towle - UNHCR Malaysia Representative signing the Agreement with Asylum Access Country Director, Ms Deepa Nambiar.  © Asylum Access Malaysia Berhad

Kuala Lumpur, 23 January 2018 - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and non-governmental organisation Asylum Access Malaysia today signed an agreement to provide asylum-seekers in Malaysia with access to legal representation in their refugee status determination process.

Asylum Access Malaysia provides free legal services for asylum-seekers and refugees in the country. Through this Agreement, asylum-seekers who undergo the Refugee Status Determination process by UNHCR can seek legal representation by Asylum Access Malaysia.

“UNHCR recognises the importance of legal representation in establishing fair and transparent refugee status determination procedures under our mandate,” said Richard Towle, UNHCR Representative.

“Asylum Access Malaysia is a reputable legal aid provider, and this new partnership will assist UNHCR to strengthen the quality of its decision-making processes when it comes to determining the status of refugees.”

There are some 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia, the majority coming from Myanmar.

As there are currently no legislative or administrative provisions in place for dealing with the situation of asylum-seekers or refugees in the country, UNHCR conducts all activities related to the reception, registration, documentation and status determination of asylum-seekers and refugees.

As part of the status determination process, qualified UNHCR officers conduct a thorough scrutiny of the claims made by asylum-seekers to determine if they qualify for refugee status and should be issued with a UNHCR card.

UNHCR Malaysia is one of the first UNHCR field operations to sign a formal partnership agreement with a legal aid provider.