Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia Sign MoU on Finding Solutions for Stateless People

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The national human rights commissions of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have signed an extension to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on finding solutions for stateless people.

“The signing of this cooperation shows the efforts that have been made by the three national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in recent years to raise awareness about the fact that there are many stateless people in the Southeast Asian region,” Chair of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Atnike Nova Sigiro said on Saturday, September 9, 2023.

The cooperation, which was signed by Komnas HAM, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP), refers to the defense, security, law enforcement, and human rights mechanisms agreed upon at the 43rd ASEAN Summit.

ASEAN member states have been encouraged to monitor the condition of stateless people in order to protect their human rights through inclusive dialogue and the consistent application of international law and regional agreements.

The mechanism is expected to change the perspective of competition into cooperation. That way, all ASEAN entities can strengthen regional cooperation on border management, cross-border legal assistance, and information exchange.

The scope of cooperation between Komnas HAM, SUHAKAM, and CHRP covers efforts to handle stateless people through a collaborative pattern.

As a follow-up, the three human rights institutions have carried out discussions on the draft action plan.

The cooperation, which was initiated on July 23, 2019, stemmed from the long history of migrant problems in the Southeast Asian region.

Stateless people have difficulty accessing basic rights, such as education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of mobility. This hinders the fulfillment of their human rights and the performance of NHRIs in each country.

Furthermore, as part of the Southeast Asia National Human Rights Institution Forum (SEANF), Komnas HAM is also paying attention to issues of nationality, citizenship, migration, and cross-border cooperation with other NHRIs.