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Malaysian officials say government needs to take over RSD

July 11, 2005

According to a report on Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency, a committee of government officials decided on 2 July that the Malaysian government needs to develop its own “mechanism” to handle asylum applications.

Malaysia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. According to Bernama, the government committee expressed a desire to develop standard criteria for judging refugee cases.

Meanwhile, UNHCR called on Malaysia to respect protection papers issued by the Office of the High Commissioner. Malaysia was by far UNHCR’s largest refugee status determination office in 2004, receiving more than 20,000 applications.

Earlier this year, refugee rights advocates and UNHCR expressed alarm at a police crackdown on asylum-seekers, including people trying to register with UNHCR.

Human rights group makes a similar call in Hong Kong

Voice of America reports that the private Asian Human Rights Commission has called on the Hong Kong government to develop a legal system for receiving asylum applications.  Advocates and UNHCR have called on Hong Kong to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention, but the government said it has no plans to do so.

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