KUALA LUMPUR, 26 January 2017 (UNHCR) - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency hosted a two-day visit of New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to its operations, here yesterday.
The Minister’s visit to the UNHCR operation was to see first hand the challenges faced by refugees in the country and New Zealand’s immigration processing for refugees selected for resettlement to the country.
“UNHCR welcomes and is deeply appreciative of the support provided by the New Zealand Government towards our refugee programme in Malaysia,” said Richard Towle, UNHCR Representative.
“Resettlement to a third country is a protection solution for refugees for whom return is not possible but who are unable to safely remain in the country of asylum. Since the resettlement programme in Malaysia began in 2005, UNHCR has faciliated the resettlement of over 110,000 refugees to other countries.”
“Since 2005, New Zealand has provided a home for nearly 2,500 refugees from Malaysia as part of its commitment in sharing the burden of refugee protection with other countries in the region.”
During the visit, the Minister and other representatives of the New Zealand Government were provided briefings on the processing aspects of UNHCR’s operations.
The Minister’s itinerary also included a visit to a refugee learning centre and a refugee clinic in Kuala Lumpur, and a closed meeting with a group of Rohingya refugees to listen to their protection challenges in Malaysia.
As at January 2017, there are some 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia, most of whom are from Myanmar including some 50,000 ethnic Rohingya refugees.