Our Program Coordinator, Melinda Anne Sharlini, represented NFA (and our partner organization Family Frontiers) at the pre-session of Malaysia’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva from 28th November to 1st December. Joined by Maalini Ramalo from the Development of Human Resources for Rural Areas and Zaid Malek from Lawyers for Liberty, this participation was part of a joint global submission co-drafted by NFA. The submission represented eight national Malaysian organizations and two global organizations.
As Malaysia approaches its UPR in January 2024, this international mechanism serves as a crucial platform to raise awareness about the status of nationality rights and statelessness in the country. It also serves as a means to mobilize international pressure aimed at achieving national reform.
During their time in Geneva, the delegation engaged with several permanent missions to the UN in Geneva and provided them with updates on the national situation concerning nationality rights and statelessness. Key discussions highlighted recent proposed citizenship amendments, urging permanent missions to propose recommendations to the Malaysian government during the UPR. The focus was on ensuring equal citizenship rights for Malaysian women and the issue of statelessness is not worsened and is addressed effectively.
The delegation also took the opportunity to meet with UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Ms Gillian Triggs, as well as Monika Sandvik and Anne Lakko from the statelessness section of UNHCR. These discussions centered around the role of UNHCR Geneva and the country team in supporting national efforts towards achieving gender equal nationality rights and addressing statelessness in Malaysia.
In summary, Our Program Coordinator’s involvement in Geneva showcases NFA’s commitment to strategically utilizing international mechanisms to advocate for equal nationality rights and address statelessness.