Citizenship, or nationality, is a fundamental human right that facilitates the ability to exercise other human rights.4 The Rohingya's lack of citizenship lies at the heart of why they fled to Malaysia and why they cannot return to Burma. Human Rights Watch believes that all Rohingya born in Burma and their children have a right to Burmese citizenship. By denying them citizenship, Burma is violating international law. It is also forcingits neighbors to bear the burden of its actions. The international community should continue to put pressure on Burma to provide full citizenship and accompanying rights to its Rohingya population. Until Burma does so, the Rohingya who flee human rights abuses and ill-treatment in Burma should be provided with asylum and international refugee protection. In particular, Rohingya should not be detained or deprived freedom of movement in countries of asylum. They should receive temporary identification papers and their children should be registered at birth.This section first discusses the basis for the conclusion that Burma is violating international law. Second, it addresses how the denial of citizenship affects the Rohingya's rights once they have left Burma.
According to Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "[e]veryone has the right to a nationality," and "[n]o one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality." While issues of nationality are primarily within each state's jurisdiction, a state's laws must be in accord with general principles of international law.5 Nationality, according to the International Court of Justice, is "a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments."6 The court first articulated criteria for defining an individual's nationality in the pivotal Nottebohm Case, which gives "preference to the real and effective nationality, that which accord[s] with the facts, that based on stronger factual ties between the person concerned and one of these States whose nationality is involved." A "genuine and effective link," as the "real and effective nationality" has been termed, is determined by considering factors laid out in Nottebohm, including the "habitual residence of the individual concerned but also the centre of interests, his family ties, his participation in family life, attachment shown by him for a given country and inculcated in his children, etc."7 States are required by international standards described below to avoid acts that would render stateless anyone who has a genuine and effective link to that state.
The right to nationality without arbitrary deprivation is now recognized as a basic human right under international law, which, through legal instruments and the practice of many states, imposes the general duty on states not to create statelessness.8 The primary international legal instruments addressing the issue of statelessness are the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons9 and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.10 These conventions provide for the acquisition or retention of nationality by those who would otherwise be stateless and who have an effective link with the state through factors of birth, descent, or residency. The 1954 convention defines a "stateless person" as someone "who is not considered a national by any State under the operation of its law."11 Under Article 1 of the 1961 convention, a state "shall grant its nationality to a person born in its territory who would otherwise be stateless." Article 8 prohibits the deprivation of nationality if it results in statelessness, and Article 9 prohibits the discriminatory deprivation of nationality. Burma violates both of these articles. While Burma is not a party to these conventions, the general principles embodied in the conventions are drawn from the basic provisions found in nationality legislation and practice of the majority of states. The conventions, therefore, reflect an international consensus on the minimumlegal standards of nationality. In addition, provisions in other conventions support the principles underlying the instruments on statelessness.12
Nearly all Rohingya or their parents were born in Burma, have resided there, and have family there, all factors that establish a genuine and effective link to Burma. Burma, however, continues to treat the Rohingya as foreign residents and refuses to accept them back from Malaysia. It does this on the basis of the Rohingya's ethnic origin. Discriminatory denial of citizenship renders the Rohingya potentially stateless, as no other country recognizes them as its nationals. This violates Articles 8 and 9 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Burma, thus, bears clear responsibility for the Rohingya's plight.
and Refugee Status Determinations
Burma has created an intractable situation for Rohingya in Malaysia and elsewhere, and the international community's response must not been seen as endorsing Burma's abusive policies. Granting the Rohingya refugee status or any other form of institutionalized protection in the countries to which they have fled may appear to be acquiescing in Burma's illegal acts. Yet the Rohingya cannot be left in a state of legal limbo, and their rights should not be held hostage to the Burmese government's intransigence. Returning them to Burma, where they are currently denied citizenship and so made especially vulnerable to human rights abuses, should not be a permissible a option. Malaysia's failure to protect the Rohingya has heightened the need for UNHCR to act with particular care.UNHCR's high rejection rates, together with the testimonies Human Rights Watch gathered from Rohingya and the statements from UNHCR officials, all suggest that UNHCR in is not taking sufficient account in making its refugee status determinations of the pervasive abuses Rohingya continue to face in Burma and the impact that the denial of citizenship rights has in increasing their vulnerability to such abuses. Denied citizenship on the basis of their ethnicity, nearly all Rohingya in Burma have severely restricted rights to education, employment, and movement in Burma. Many are also subject to quasi-institutionalized forced labor practices.
Under its statute, UNHCR is charged with "providing international protection" and with "seeking permanent solutions for the problem of refugees."13 A refugee, as defined by the 1951 Refugee Convention, is:
any person who . . . owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
While the Refugee Convention does not define "persecution," UNHCR in its Handbook interprets it to include the threat to life or freedom on one of the five grounds listed in the definition of a refugee-"race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion"-as well as other serious human rightsviolations.14 Regarding persecution on the basis of nationality, the Handbook specifies that the term "nationality" in the refugee definition should be interpreted more broadly than "citizenship":
It refers also to membership of an ethnic or linguistic group and may occasionally overlap with the term `race.' Persecution for reasons of nationality may consist of adverse attitudes and measures directed against a national (ethnic, linguistic) minority and in certain circumstances the fact of belonging to such a minority may in itself give rise to well-founded fear of persecution.15
The Rohingya constitute such a distinct ethnic, linguistic, and racial group, and the discrimination they experience in Burma is based on their status as members of that group. Therefore they fit squarely under the Handbook's definition of nationality.
The Handbook goes on to assert that discrimination may amount to persecution "if measures of discrimination lead to consequences of a substantially prejudicial nature for the person concerned, e.g. serious restrictions on his right to earn a livelihood, his right to practise his religion, or his access to normally available educational facilities."16 All of these restrictions apply to the Rohingya in Burma, who because of their lack of full citizenship rights experience severe and "substantially prejudicial" social, economic, and legal exclusion.
Even a person who at first appears to be an economic migrant may still be a refugee, according to the Handbook:
The distinction between an economic migrant and a refugee is, however, sometimes blurred in the same ways as the distinction between economic and political measures in an applicant's country of origin is not always clear. Behind economic measures affecting a person's livelihood there may be racial, religious or political aims or intentions directed against a particular group. Where economic measures destroy the economic existence of a particular section of the population (e.g. withdrawal of trading rights from, or discriminatory or excessive taxation of, a specific ethnic or religious group), the victims may according to the circumstances become refugees on leaving the country.17
The Rohingya are subjected to arbitrary confiscation of their property and other economic restrictions precisely because of their membership of a specific ethnic and religious group.
The Rohingya's inability to acquire citizenship status is thus integral to the discrimination and human rights abuses they suffer in Burma. Where an entire group is arbitrarily denied or deprived of citizenship on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, there is a strong argument to be made that this constitutes discrimination rising to the level of persecution. In addition, because important legally enforceable rights are associated with citizenship, arbitrary denial or deprivation of citizenship deprives individuals of legal remedies for a variety of restrictions. At minimum, therefore, Human Rights Watch argues that discriminatory denial of citizenship should weigh heavily in favor of a finding of persecution. The refugee legal scholar Guy Goodwin-Gill has addressed this issue in the context of Soviet Jews, who were subjected to repressive measures when they expressed a wish to leave the USSR and who, when they were finally allowed to leave, were forced to renounce their citizenship. Goodwin-Gill reasoned that, in such cases, "the denationalization itself provided compelling testimony of denial ofprotection," and weighed in favor of eligibility for asylum.18 This reasoning applies even more strongly in the Rohingya's case, where citizenship is denied across the board and not simply to those attempting to leave the country.
When the deprivation of citizenship is accompanied by other acts of discrimination and human rights violations are perpetuated on the basis of the victims' nationality, the argument that a group member has a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" as defined by the UNHCR Handbook is even stronger. Lack of citizenship exposes the Rohingya to serious human rights violations including restrictions on their freedom of movement, exclusion from some educational and employment opportunities, and arbitrary confiscation of property. And without citizenship and its accompanying rights, the Rohingya are excluded from Burma's protection. These factors, taken together with the exposure to forced labor and the constraints on political rights faced by all Burmese, provide a compelling case that many Rohingya have "a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of . . . nationality," are outside of their home country, and are "unable . . . to avail [themselves] of the protection of that country."19
for the Stateless Independent of Refugee Status
Regardless of whether Rohingya meet the criteria for refugee status, they continue to face the perils of statelessness. UNHCR has a clear role to play in this situation. Article 11 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness provides for "a body to which a person claiming the benefit of this Convention may apply for the examination of his claim and for assistance in presenting it to the appropriate authority." This function has been entrusted to UNHCR and affirmed by General Assembly resolutions 3274 (XXIV) of December 10, 1974, and 31/36 of November 30, 1976. More recently, the Executive Committee of UNHCR issued a Conclusion in 1995 which significantly broadened UNHCR's role concerning statelessness. Executive Committee Conclusion 78 on the Prevention and Reduction of Statelessness and the Protection of Stateless Persons "acknowledges the responsibilities already entrusted to the High Commissioner for stateless refugees and with respect to the reduction of statelessness, and encourages UNHCR to continue its activities on behalf of stateless persons, as part of its statutory function of providing international protection and of seeking preventive action."20 The Executive Committee further requested in its Conclusion that UNHCR "provide relevant technical and advisory services pertaining to the preparation and implementation of nationality legislation to interested States."21 This Conclusion broadened UNHCR's role in relation to statelessness. These requirements were confirmed in General Assembly Resolution 50/152 of December 21, 1995. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, reiterated this mandate in a statement before the 51st session of the Commission for Human Rights in 1995:
Stateless persons are another category in need of international protection, for whom UNHCR has a special responsibility. My Office has been designated as an intermediary between States and stateless persons under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Most recently, UNHCR has been requested by its Executive Committee to place the matter of statelessness on its agenda this year. We will explore promotional and preventive activities to which UNHCR can contribute in collaboration with concerned States. There is an obvious link between the loss ordenial of national protection and the loss or denial of nationality. On the place of rights, the prevention and reduction of statelessness is an important aspect of securing minority rights. Although neither Malaysia nor Burma are parties to the 1954 and 1961 conventions on statelessness, UNHCR's mandate is based on the General Assembly resolution and conclusion of UNHCR's Executive Committee, on which Malaysia has observer status.UNHCR has thus been mandated to undertake a variety of different activities in the field of prevention and reduction of statelessness. These include: · providing technical and advisory services to interested states in the drafting and implementation of nationality legislation, so as to avoid and reduce statelessness;
· promoting accession to and implementation of the two international instruments designed to promote the avoidance and reduction of statelessness, and to ensure a minimum legal status for all stateless persons;
· cooperating with relevant agencies and partners toward this end;
· training staff and government officials as part of the promotion of the prevention and reduction of statelessness; and
· disseminating information and cooperating with states in avoiding arbitrary deprivation of citizenship or other actions which often result in statelessness.UNHCR, under its mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness, should address the problem of the Rohingya's lack of citizenship and their potential for statelessness, regardless of whether it has formally recognized the Rohingya in Malaysia as refugees. Primary responsibility for addressing the problem of statelessness lies with the Burmese government. The UNHCR Burma office, as a part of its repatriation and reintegration activities, should to seek to prevent and reduce statelessness in Burma, including by continuing to offer technical assistance and guidance to the Burmese government on its national laws and on measures to avoid and reduce statelessness.
UNHCR's Malaysia office must also activate its mandate for statelessness as regards to the Rohingya in Malaysia. The office currently provides some emergency medical care to rejected Rohingya asylum-seekers and intervenes with the Malaysian government on humanitarian grounds. It has registered Rohingya who arrived through 1993-this registration could be reinstated and some form of identification documents (such as the certificates) issued. UNHCR should also offer technical advice, assistance, and training to the Malaysian government on its nationality legislation. Providing birth certificates or similar documentation to all children is critical, and training could be provided on this. If necessary, UNHCR could conduct its own system of birth registration, as described in UNHCR's own guidelines.22 Finally, UNHCR should encourage the Malaysian government to accede without reservations to the international conventions on statelessness.
Much of what UNHCR can do, however, depends on Malaysia's cooperation and its recognition of the international norms on preventing statelessness. Malaysia's observer status on the UNHCR Executive Committee imposes at least a moral obligation on it to abide by the Executive Committee Conclusion on statelessness. At minimum, therefore, Malaysia should assist with temporary identification papers for Rohingya adults and allow access to employment and health services.
for Stateless Children
Regarding Rohingya children, Malaysia has additional obligations under Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires Malaysia to "respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality[.]"23 This is of special concern for Rohingya children born on Malaysian soil. Over the last twenty years that Rohingya have been coming to Malaysia, at least one, and in some cases two, generations have been born in Malaysia. But under Malaysian law, children do not have a right to Malaysian citizenship merely by having been born in the country. Rather, Malaysia's Constitution provides that a person born within the country becomes a citizen only if one parent is a citizen or permanently resides in Malaysia at the time of his or her birth or if he or she "is not born a citizen of any country[.]"24 The former is inapplicable because the Rohingya lack papers. The latter would appear to apply, but Malaysia does not currently treat Rohingya children as citizens by birth. As a result, the children have no legal status in Malaysia.25
Rohingya children born in Malaysia are at even greater risk of statelessness than their parents. Burma does not grant citizenship to children whose parents are not recognized as citizens, even if the children are born in Burma. Thus the likelihood of Burma recognizing the citizenship of children born outside the country to former inhabitants whose citizenship is also disputed is remote in the extreme. It is appropriate, then, that Malaysia's constitutional provision granting citizenship to persons who are born in the country and who are not born citizens of any other country should apply to these children. However, the conferring of Malaysian citizenship should not restrict the child's right to return to Burma should that become possible.
At minimum, Malaysia should work to ensure that all children born within its borders, whether documented or not, are registered at birth. Yet while UNHCR continues to discuss the registration of refugee children born in the country with the Malaysian government, its efforts have so far not been productive.26 According to UNHCR's guidelines:
Birth registration is essential to enable date and place of birth to be conclusively established, thereby activating certain rights, including those rights which are dependant on nationality and personal status. Those basic human rights can be violated in refugee situations unless particular attention is given to ensure the proper documentation of children.27 Equally important is that parents receive validated birth certificates.28 Malaysia should therefore should develop viable procedures for birth registration and the issuance of birth certificates that take into account the needs of refugees. Requiring undocumented persons to register with the police, the current competent authority for registration, would not be an effective solution as long as refugees continue to be subject to arrest and harassment by Malaysian police.
One consequence of the Rohingya's disputed citizenship status and both Malaysia's and UNHCR's failure to afford them adequate protection is the Rohingya's inability to access vital education and health care in Malaysia. In the past, a UNHCR certificate and a Malaysian birth certificate were enough documentation to get access to these services. But UNHCR has stopped renewing the certificates and has offered most Rohingya no alternative. Malaysia, meanwhile, has begun excluding Rohingya children from schools and from health care, and not all Rohingya children born in Malaysia have been able to obtain birth certificates. Providing these documents now would reduce some of the hardship to which the Rohingya are subject due to their uncertain legal status. Temporary protection in Malaysia until the issue of their nationality is resolved or protection as refugees would also resolve these problems.
My four children used the UNHCR registry letter to go to school but when the letter was stopped, they had to stop school. -undocumented Rohingya man29None of the Rohingya Human Rights Watch interviewed in late 1999 had children enrolled in school; these included parents of twenty-five school-aged children. Three had children who had previously attended school in Malaysia until they were told by school authorities earlier in 1999 that their children could no longer be admitted. Those who had never been in school did not have Malaysian birth certificates. One parent told Human Rights Watch that after his child, now seven years old, was denied admittance because the child did not have a birth certificate, he and his wife decided not to have any more children.30 Up until 1999, Rohingya children with both Malaysian birth certificates and with their family's UNHCR letter were able to enroll in school. But when the Rohingya's certificates expired without being renewed, even those with birth certificates were no longer able to continue.
When Eslam Khatun tried to reenroll her seven year-old daughter in 1999, the school asked her to bring a renewed UNHCR certificate because the one she presented had expired on February 10, 1999. She explained that the certificate had not been not renewed. The school then sent her to the general government education office where she was asked for the original UNHCR certificate issued for her entire family in 1992. However, the Malaysian police had confiscated that original when they arrested, detained, and deported her father in 1998. Because Eslam Khatun could not produce the letter, she was sent home.31
Bashar R. wept as he described his efforts to keep his child in school:
My son is 7 years old. He was born in Malaysia and has a Malaysian birth certificate . . . He completed two years of primary school in a government school but now . . . the school refuses to accept him. He wants to go to middle school next month. I went to the school and talked to the headmaster. He said that my son has no documents and they are worried. He said they cannot allow him to attend under the new system and under the new rules he must have an immigration visa. I went to the general office today and they are asking for a visa from immigration. . . . My children face the same problem I faced in a different country.32
Although both Eslam Khatun and Bashar R. had already been denied refugee status, each approached UNHCR for help. For Eslam Khatun, UNHCR wrote a letter to the principal of her child's school, stating that she and her family were registered with the UNHCR office and that they "fled their home country due to the problems they faced on account of their ethnic and religious background." The letter requested that the principal "renderwhatever assistance you could to enable [Eslam Khatun's] child to receive the very basic right to education."33 It did not mention that Eslam Khatun and her family had already been screened and rejected for refugee status and that her certificate (stating that she was registered) had not been renewed.
UNHCR also wrote a letter for Bashar R.. This letter, addressed to the government's immigration department, gives more information than Eslam Khatun's letter:
Mr. Bashar R. and his family have been registered with us as Muslims from the Arakan State/Myanmar. They fled their home country due to the problem they faced on account of their ethnic and religious background. Therefore they do not possess any valid travel documents which would prove that they are Myanmarese citizenship. So far Malaysia and Myanmar have not been able to agree on a procedure for the verification of the citizenship of these Muslims from Myanmar and for their return to their country of origin. Until their citizenship and their right to return has clarified they will not be able to return to Myanmar (our emphasis). . . . Mr. Bashar R. and his wife have been in Malaysia since 1989. Two children were born and bred in Malaysia. Mr. [Bashar R.'s] family has applied for refugee status. In this regard, we hope the Immigration Department would on humanitarian grounds, consider the issuance of an immigration student pass to Mr. [Bashar R.'s son] in order that he can be admitted into a government school in Cheras Baru.34
As in Eslam Khatun's case, this letter does not mention that Bashar R. and his family had been screened and rejected for refugee status.
When Human Rights Watch interviewed Eslam Khatun and Bashar R., they had just received the letters and had not yet delivered them. UNHCR told each that if the letters did not have the desired effect, there was nothing else UNHCR could do.
to Health Care
My wife gave birth in a hospital in 1997, but we had to pay double. Last time we went to the government subsidized clinic, I was told not to come again because we were not citizens. They said to go to a private clinic. They said, "Don't come here again." -undocumented Rohingya man35
In the last year, Rohingya have increasingly been denied access to public health care. Although there is no law that patients must produce identity documents, some government clinics have recently started turning away undocumented people. Human Rights Watch interviewed five individuals who were turned away from government clinics in the last year because they lacked identity documents, including one man whose wife gave birth at home as a result.36 Two others told us that they do not go to the hospital or take their children when they are sick because are undocumented.37 One man said that he had forged a passport so that his child could get treatment for a cut on his leg,38 and a woman reported that she had been given medicine at a government clinic when she showed a copy of her 1992 letter but was told not to come back again without the original, which she does not have because UNHCR took it back when it issued the certificates.39 All agreed, however, that theycould not afford to pay a private clinic: foreigners are charged at the highest rate health care-"first-class category fees"-which, reportedly, are about twice those charged to citizens.40
4 Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren has described citizenship as a "basic right for it is nothing less than the right to have rights." Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958).
5 Under Article 1 of the Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws, "It is for each State to determine under its own law who are its nationals. This law shall be recognized by other States in so far as it is consistent with international conventions, international custom, and the principles of law generally recognized with regard to nationality."
6 Nottebohm Case, I.C.J. Reports, 1955, p. 23.
7 Ibid. In the Nottebohm Case, brought by Liechtenstein against Guatemala, the court developed this analysis to determine an individual's nationality.
8 See, e.g. Carol A. Batchelor, "Statelessness and the Problem of Resolving Nationality Status," International Journal of Refugee Law, Vol. 10, No. ½, January/April 1998, p. 169.
9 Adopted on September 28, 1954 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries convened by Economic and Social Council resolution 526A(XVII) of April 26, 1954; entered into force June 6, 1960.
10 Adopted on August 30, 1961 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries convened pursuant to General Assembly resolution 896(IX) of December 4, 1954; entered into force December 13, 1975.
11 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, Art. 1(1).
12 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination seeks "to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law" in the enjoyment of the right to a nationality. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Article 5(d)(iv), adopted by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965, entry into force January 4, 1969. Article 1(3) provides that the convention does not affect a state's nationality laws so long as those laws do not discriminate against a particular nationality. Neither Burma nor Malaysia are parties to this treaty. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Burma is a party, specifies that children shall be registered at birth and have the right to acquire a nationality. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7. Article 24 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also states that every child shall be registered upon birth and have the right to acquire a nationality.
13 Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations General Assembly, December 14, 1950.
14 UNHCR, Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, paras. 51-53.
15 Ibid., para. 74.
16 Ibid., paras. 51-53. According to Guy Goodwin-Gill: "In its broader sense, however, [persecution] remains very much a question of degree and proportion; less overt measures may suffice, such as the imposition of serious economic disadvantage, denial of access to employment, to the professions, or to education, or other restrictions on the freedoms traditionally guaranteed in a democratic society, such as speech, assembly, worship and freedom of movement." Goodwin-Gill, The Refugee in International Law, p. 68.
17 UNHCR, Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, para. 63.
18 "Statelessness and refugee status are by no means identical phenomena. . . . [F]or years Soviet Jews leaving the country permanently were required to renounced their citizenship. Refugee status in such cases might appear determinable in the light of the situation prevailing in the country of origin as the country of former habitual residence. However, in addition to internal repressive measures applied to those seeking to leave that country, the denationalization itself provided compelling testimony of denial of protection. Whether it severs the effective link for all purposes of international law, including the responsibility of States, is less clear, but the expulsion of an unwanted minority could not justifiably be predicated upon the municipal act of deprivation of citizenship." Goodwin-Gill, The Refugee in International Law, p. 42 (emphasis added; internal footnotes and quotation omitted).
19 See the definition of a refugee in the 1951 Refugee Convention, Art. 1.
20 Executive Committee Conclusion No. 78 (XLVI) (1995), "The Prevention and Reduction of Statelessness and the Protection of Stateless Persons," para. a.
21 Ibid., para. c.
22 UNHCR, Refugee Children: Guidelines on Protection and Care, (Geneva: UNHCR, 1994), pp. 103-104.
23 Malaysia has entered a reservation to Article 7 of the convention which states that children shall be registered at birth and have the right to acquire a nationality. It has, however, agreed to be bound by Article 8.
24 Federal Constitution, Art. 14(1)(b) and Second Schedule, Part II.
25 Some Rohingya parents have been able to obtain birth certificates for their children, but this document does not legalize their status in Malaysia.
26 Letter from UNHCR Bureau for Asia and the Pacific to Human Rights Watch, dated May 16, 2000.
27 UNHCR, Refugee Children: Guidelines on Protection and Care, pp. 103-104.
29 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 13, 1999.
30 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 30, 1999.
31 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 30, 1999.
32 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 20, 30, and December 2, 1999. (20)
33 Letter dated October 4, 1999, copied verbatim at Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 30, 1999.
34 Letter dated December 2, 1999, copied verbatim at Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 20, 30, and December 2, 1999 (emphasis added).
35 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 30, 1999.
36 Human Rights Watch interviews with five people, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 15, 20, 30, and December 2, 1999.
37 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 2, 4, 1999.
38 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 2, 1999.
39 Human Rights Watch interview, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 30, 1999.
40 Ramlan Said, "At the Dewan Rakyat: Delinquent Foreign Patients," The New Straits Times (Malaysia), March 15, 2000.