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MALAYSIA – Between a rock and a hard place: Afghan refugees and asylum seekers

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Afghanistan has been the source of one of the world’s largest and most enduring protracted refugee situations.  However, Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia are a relatively recent phenomenon.

Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), today, released the report of a study on the situation of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia.  Through 73 interviews with Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, data from its case management and mental health services, and interviews with UNHCR and other non-profit organizations providing educational services to this population, the report highlights the chronic multi-dimensional deprivation experienced by this population.

The report also provides insights into the refugees’ dilemmas, especially with regard to the way in which global events and developments related to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees intersect with their daily lives, influencing the decisions they make and sometimes even dangerous options they consider in their quest for effective refugee protection and more sustainable life solutions.

The report calls on countries: Hosting refugees fromAfghanistan including Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, India to recognize refugees and accord them the protection required under international law including the right to work and access to health care services and education; Countries of resettlement to increase resettlement quotas for Afghan refugees; Countries of transit and destination of Afghan refugees to recognize and integrate the special protection needs of refugees and asylum seekers within enforcement of border control and anti-trafficking strategies.

Link to full report and executive summary.

(Source: Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, 8 June 2010)