DHRRA Malaysia began to work extensively in addressing statelessness in Malaysia in 2014 by carrying out a comprehensive and structured mapping, registration and paralegal aid services in four states (Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor) with the technical support provided by UN agencies and several international organizations focusing on statelessness. We continue to work on addressing this crucial issue through the following initiatives:
• Legal Empowerment through Community Based Paralegals
Over the years we continue to successfully capacitate and engage community leaders as Community Based Paralegals in the legal empowerment of the stateless community in Malaysia, including our recent initiative to empower Community paralegals in engaging government agencies towards addressing and resolving statelessness caused by gender inequality practices.
• Increasing Stateless Children’s Access to School
Accessing education remain a challenge for stateless children in Malaysia. We support the stateless children by assisting in the payment of levy to ease their financial burden and to reduce the number of dropouts caused by non-payment of the fees, with the support of Rhythm Foundation. We also assist stateless children who do not have equal access to online learning by bridging the digital gap by purchasing and providing digital devices and internet connectivity to students identified through PIBG.
• Awareness Building on Statelessness
In order to reach out and engage and engage a wider part of the Malaysian population in the effort to resolve statelessness in the country, we capacitate key stakeholders and community members including teachers, PIBGs, CSOs, RPOs and community leaders through a series of workshops on stateless children’s access to education in Malaysia. In addition, Stateless Awareness Campaign is organized to create better understanding and awareness among the policy makers and the general public on the issue. Two infographic handbooks entitled “Understanding Statelessness in Malaysia” and “Resolving Statelessness in Malaysia”, as well as a handbook entitled Gender Equality Nationality Law are also developed for the purpose.
• Advocacy on Statelessness
Through our consistent evidence based advocacy, we are able to encourage the Government of Malaysia and relevant key stakeholders to be more responsive towards statelessness, and other emerging concerns of the communities. In addition to conducting a high number of policy lobbying with MPs and ADUNs to share policy recommendation on statelessness and to sensitize individual policymakers on the issue, we have also been working closely with local MPs by providing free consultations at the ADUN offices for the stateless community in the respective constituent. We have also successfully organised several family support groups of those affected by statelessness into self-help groups. A multidimensional advocacy network on stateless is created through collaboration with other civil society organisations and academic institutions.