UNHCR organizes Judicial Engagement Workshop for Members of the Bench


UNHCR Malaysia News   © UNHCR Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, (UNHCR) – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency organized a two-day workshop on judicial engagement to discuss legal issues and the protection needs for refugees in Malaysia. This is the first collaboration between UNHCR and the Judiciary of Malaysia, held at the end of 2019.

“This workshop was held following interest from several Sessions Court Judges and Magistrates to have focused discussions on refugee issues in Malaysia,” said Thomas Albrecht, Representative of UNHCR Malaysia.

“What we hope is that sessions like this will inspire participants to advocate for better protection of refugees in Malaysia through judicial activism.”

The workshop was attended by Chief Registrar of the Federal Court, Tuan Ahmad Terrrirudin bin Mohd Salleh, the Director of Training and Judicial Capacity Division, Puan Arleen Binti Ramly, and Sessions Judges and Magistrates.

“By continuing the work with UNHCR, we hope to establish a mutually beneficial collaboration in that the officers who dispense justice will continue to understand the emerging and evolving legal and social problems associated with refugees,” said Tuan Ahmad Terrrirudin bin Mohd Salleh, Chief Registrar of the Federal Court.

The Judicial Engagement Workshop allowed for dialogue between the members of the Judiciary and UNHCR regarding UNHCR’s refugee mandate and its activities in Malaysia, which include UNHCR’s process of refugee verification, as well as refugee protection topics such as immigration detention and alternatives to detention.

Participants were also provided access to UNHCR’s refugee centre to observe and understand UNHCR’s registration and status determination processes.

Malaysia currently hosts approximately 178,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Myanmar and other countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria.

The workshop overall was well-received by the participants, with many expressing appreciation for the information received, the rich discussions, as well as the exposure to the complexities in refugee protection.

UNHCR plans to continue its work with the Judiciary of Malaysia on refugee-related matters, including to conduct similar workshops for other members of the Judiciary in the near future.