Ensuring Refugee Children’s Rights

By:

CSO Platform For Reform – Child Cluster

Affiliations:

Child Rights Coalition Malaysia (CRCM)

Policy Code:

2e Child

Problem Statement:

1. Despite Malaysia’s ratification of CRC, CEDAW and the existence of Child Act 2001, SOACA,
Domestic Violence Act 1994, anti-trafficking and labour laws to protect children, refugee
children continue to experience discriminatory access to national child protection systems
and services, including education, healthcare systems and vaccinations.
2. Refugee children face arrest, detention, deportation, abuse, neglect, exploitation including
child marriage, statutory rape, online crimes, poverty and mental health issues.
3. Poor community structures, harmful traditional practices and limited service providers
availing services to this population exacerbate the vulnerabilities of refugee children.
4. During the Covid-19 crisis, refugee children experienced xenophobia, unsafe care
arrangements, constraints with livelihood, food aid and accessing helplines due to their
illegal status, language barrier and poor awareness on refugee issues.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

Include refugee children in national action plans, programmes and services on child protection
prevention and response. Allow them non-discriminatory access to Child Protectors and Assistants,
D11, national education and healthcare including SCAN, psychosocial, welfare, comprehensive
sexuality education and services, justice, case management and income generating activities for
their families.

Proposal of Solution:

1. Ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention Relating and 1967 Protocol, withdraw all reservations to
the CRC (Article 2 and 37), harmonize Immigration Act with Child Act 2001, SOACA and
anti-trafficking laws, CRC (Article 22), CEDAW to prevent immigration offences, arrest,
detention and deportation of refugee.
2. Amplify evidence-based and action-oriented research on refugee children
3. Provide alternatives to detention, particularly non-institutionalised care for all children
including refugees and their families.
4. Institutionalise dialogues, regular awareness raising and capacity building on refugee issues,
relevant laws and policies, best interest procedure and determination, confidential reporting
mechanisms with all stakeholders to maximize resources, enable fair access, strengthen
quality of services and ensure perpetrators are convicted and punished.
5. Avail interpretation services and child friendly, gender sensitive, culturally appropriate
information, education and communication materials in refugee languages on protection
and support services.
6. Establish an interagency disaggregated data collection mechanism on refugee children with
police, JKM, hospitals, NGOs, UN agencies, schools, community-based organisations and
learning centres.
7. Include refugee children in child parliament or child participation groups to nurture their
participation in programming and policymaking processes and decisions.

Additional Information:

1. 2019 CRCM Status Report
2. Refugee children at risk cases include unaccompanied and separated children.
3. Relevant bodies and stakeholders include immigration, judicial officers, prosecutors,
enforcement bodies, medical authorities including SCAN and OSCC staff, child protectors,
social workers, teachers, school staff, NGOs, religious authorities, refugee children, their
families and communities.

Translation

Isu dan Polisi Semasa:

Walaupun Malaysia telah meratifikasi CRC, CEDAW dan adanya Akta Kanak-kanak 2001, SOACA, Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga 1994, undang-undang anti-pemerdagangan manusia dan buruh untuk melindungi kanak-kanak, anak-anak pelarian terus mengalami diskriminasi semasa mengakses sistem dan perkhidmatan perlindungan kanak-kanak nasional, termasuk pendidikan, sistem penjagaan kesihatan dan vaksinasi.
Anak-anak pelarian menghadapi penangkapan, penahanan, pengusiran, penyalahgunaan, pengabaian, eksploitasi termasuk perkahwinan anak, rogol berkanun, jenayah dalam talian, kemiskinan dan masalah kesihatan mental.
Struktur masyarakat yang lemah, amalan tradisional yang berbahaya dan penyediaan perkhidmatan terhad yang memanfaatkan perkhidmatan kepada penduduk ini akan memperbesar kerentanan anak-anak pelarian.
Semasa krisis Covid-19, anak-anak pelarian mengalami xenofobia, pengaturan penjagaan yang tidak selamat, kekangan dalam mencari nafkah, bantuan makanan dan kesusahan mengakses talian bantuan kerana status mereka yang tidak sah,tidak fasih bahasa dan kesedaran yang kurang baik mengenai isu-isu pelarian.

Nilai-nilai dan Kepercayaan:

Menyertai anak-anak pelarian dalam rancangan tindakan nasional, program dan perkhidmatan mengenai pencegahan dan tindak balas perlindungan anak. Membenarkan mereka akses tanpa diskriminasi dalam program Pelindung dan Pembantu Kanak-kanak, D11, pendidikan nasional dan penjagaan kesihatan termasuk SCAN, psikososial, kebajikan, pendidikan dan pendidikan seksualiti yang komprehensif, keadilan, pengurusan kes dan aktiviti menjana pendapatan untuk keluarga mereka.

Penyelesaian:

Ratifikasi 1951 Konvensyen Pengungsi dan Protokol 1967, tarik balik semua tempahan kepada CRC (Artikel 2 dan 37), selaraskan Akta Imigresen dengan Akta Kanak-kanak 2001, SOACA dan undang-undang anti-pemerdagangan manusia, CRC (Artikel 22), CEDAW untuk mencegah kesalahan imigresen, penangkapan, penahanan dan pengusiran pelarian.
Memperkuat penyelidikan berdasarkan bukti dan berorientasikan tindakan pada anak- anak pelarian
Memberi alternatif kepada penahanan, terutamanya penjagaan yang tidak dilembagakan untuk semua kanak-kanak termasuk pelarian dan keluarganya.
Melembagakan dialog, peningkatan kesedaran berkala dan pengembangan kapasiti mengenai masalah pelarian, undang-undang dan kebijakan yang relevan, prosedur dan penentuan kepentingan terbaik, mekanisme pelaporan rahsia dengan semua pihak yang berkepentingan untuk memaksimumkan sumber daya, memungkinkan akses yang adil, memperkuat kualiti perkhidmatan dan memastikan pelaku disabitkan kesalahan dan dihukum.
Dapatkan perkhidmatan pentafsiran dan bahan maklumat, pendidikan dan komunikasi yang mesra kanak-kanak, sesuai dengan budaya, bahan komunikasi dan bahasa komunikasi dalam bahasa pelarian mengenai perkhidmatan perlindungan dan sokongan.
Membentuk mekanisme pengumpulan data terpilih antara agensi mengenai anak-anak pelarian dengan polis, JKM, hospital, NGO, agensi PBB, sekolah, organisasi berasaskan komuniti dan pusat pembelajaran.
Sertakan anak-anak pelarian di parlimen kanak-kanak atau kumpulan penyertaan kanak- kanak untuk memelihara penyertaan mereka dalam proses dan keputusan pengaturcaraan dan pembuatan dasar.

Informasi Tambahan:

1. 2019 CRCM Status Report
2. Refugee children at risk cases include unaccompanied and separated children.
3. Relevant bodies and stakeholders include immigration, judicial officers, prosecutors,
enforcement bodies, medical authorities including SCAN and OSCC staff, child protectors,
social workers, teachers, school staff, NGOs, religious authorities, refugee children, their
families and communities.