KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomes Malaysia’s renewed commitment to reduce and prevent statelessness in the country, in line with the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness by 2024.
UNHCR, in a statement here today, said that the UN’s humanitarian body also acknowledges steps taken by Malaysia to adopt more transparent procedures in facilitating the application of citizenship and to prevent Malaysian children from becoming stateless.
“These are people who may have lived in Malaysia for generations but have never been registered as a Malaysian national, or who have lost their connection to the countries their families had formerly come from.
“Many of these communities live in remote or border areas, and have very limited access to information about documentation procedures, including how to register their children at birth”, UNHCR Representative to Malaysia Thomas Albrecht was quoted as saying in the statement.
“Malaysia’s continued commitment to resolve existing major situations of statelessness, preventing new cases of statelessness from emerging and better identifying and protecting stateless populations, provides these communities the chance to fully participate in Malaysian society,” he added in the statement.
In 2014, UNHCR launched a global #IBelong’ Campaign, aimed at ending statelessness by 2024.
Since then, some 15 countries have newly acceded to the two major treaties on statelessness, the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Total accessions to the first of these treaties, the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, could soon exceed the notable threshold of 100 countries. In the first five years of the Campaign, more than 220,000 stateless people have now acquired a nationality.
The Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin spoke in Geneva, Switzerland on October 7, during a special session of UNHCR’s Executive Committee meeting known as the High-Level Segment on Statelessness, to take stock of progress halfway through its #IBelong Campaign to end statelessness by 2024.
Previously, Muhyiddin stressed that Malaysia remains committed to working with UNHCR in its efforts to tackle statelessness. — Bernama