KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir has urged the government to review its policy which denies children who are refugees or stateless access to formal education.
In a royal address for the Human Rights Day 2022 Forum today, he called for the review of the policy to break the generational cycle of poverty among refugees or stateless people and said the review will be a significant step to benefit the country.
“Government policy has denied children who are refugees or stateless access to formal education. This policy results in a generational cycle of poverty and destitution which imposes a burden on society.
“If these children are given access to education they can eventually be able to fend for themselves and be independent of governmental assistance,” the Negeri Sembilan ruler said.
According to Tuanku Muhriz, some civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have taken up the call to provide assistance to this group, and within their means have managed to create some success stories.
He said one such example of this is the initiative taken by Yayasan Chow Kit – a non-profit organisation that operates a 24-hour crisis and drop-in centre providing meals, therapy, case management, and educational programmes for at-risk children who live around Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur.
“To date, the foundation has over 100 successful youths who are able to pursue tertiary education or become owners of business enterprises. This success is due to some relaxation of the government policy,” he added.
Tuanku Muhriz said since 2017, the education ministry has registered 15 refugee learning centres as private education institutions.
“But much more needs to be done, as according to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) there are some 40,000 refugee and asylum seeker children registered in Malaysia,” he said.
On the poverty issue, particularly with regard to the hard core poor and the homeless, Tuanku Muhriz said the government has taken many initiatives towards this end, but more needs to be done.
He said many CSOs have stepped up to provide care for them but holistic and long-term solutions were needed and hoped that government agencies will work together with these CSOs to overcome these issues of destitution and homelessness.
Tuanku Muhriz urged the government to interact more closely with those CSOs and NGOs and review some of its policies.
“With these steps the country can get closer to ensuring that ‘No One is Left Behind’,” he added.
On health, Tuanku Muhriz thanked the frontliners for putting themselves at risk in the discharge of their duties.
“I urge the relevant authorities to constantly review the accessibility by marginalised groups to healthcare facilities,” he added.
He said over the years, the government had done much to alleviate the lives of marginalised persons while CSOs and NGOs on their own initiatives have filled the gaps to improve further the livelihood of this group.
Human Rights Day is celebrated on Dec 10 every year and this year the theme is ‘Strengthening and Enhancing Human Rights Towards Leaving No One Behind’.
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