UNHCR issues refugee document only to those genuinely needing international protection, no matter their country
Kuala Lumpur, 30 May 2022 - UNHCR asserts that its documentation is only issued to individuals who are verified to be refugees or asylum-seekers and in need of international protection – regardless of which country they are from.
The Agency was seeking to clarify recent news articles that alleged it issued its documents indiscriminately, including to individuals perceived to not require international protection.
A refugee is defined as someone who has fled their country due to war and conflict, or who has fled due to a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country on the grounds of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. They have lost the protection of their own countries and are unable to return home safely.
According to UNHCR, regardless of which country a person may have come from, they can be verified to be a refugee and in need of international protection, if they fulfil these criteria.
Globally, there are some 25 million refugees and asylum-seekers emanating from a variety of countries who are considered to be in need of international protection.
UNHCR added that, in Malaysia, in the absence of a national asylum framework, the Agency undertakes the process of determining the status of refugees under its Mandate, which was established by the UN General Assembly [GA] in 1950.
UNHCR’s Refugee Status Determination process involves a thorough interview and investigative procedure measured against international refugee criteria established by the United Nations and its member States, and assessed against country of origin information.
It is through this robust processing and rigorous assessment that UNHCR determines that a person has a valid claim for international protection, and is not an economic migrant. Its documentation is issued to individuals who satisfy the accepted international definition of needing refugee protection.
This is done without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or nationality. In line with the internationally recognized human rights principle of family unity this includes immediate dependent family members.