“I think everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of your social status, colour of your skin, who you love, your gender etc.” – Deepa
The one thing Deepa would’ve never predicted is that one day she’ll be leading the international refugee rights organisation in Malaysia.
Having previously provided pro bono legal assistance to refugees in the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), she was surprised when she found out that there were just a handful of lawyers available in contrast to the hundred thousands of refugees in Malaysia. Fast forward to today, she is in the midst of developing a legal clinic to ensure that refugees have better access to their rights under the Malaysian laws.
They do in fact have rights
“Everyone assumes refugees have no rights in Malaysia as we have not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention. There is no legal framework that identifies and protects refugees. But it turns out that there are areas in which refugees may be able to obtain legal protection in Malaysia.”
“For example, there are court decisions that have held that all workers have the right to fair labour practices, regardless of their legal status. This can in theory apply to refugees who are being exploited by their employers who refuse to pay their salaries.”
They’ll help create a positive impact on our country
“Incorporating refugees into the economy has been shown to diversify the economy and increase revenue through taxes. Most refugees come with qualifications and can contribute to the economy and allow them to rebuild their lives.”
“Our government is also currently piloting a project to allow 300 Rohingya refugees to work in the plantation sector. This positive initiative not only allows them to attain a livelihood, it also supports the national economy.”
Everyone is created equal
“I think everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. It is really easy to criticise the bigots of the world, but all of us have inherent biasness and prejudice. I think it’s important to start with yourself and changing how you interact with people around you.”
Shizens: “I don’t usually wear foundation, so I was pleasantly surprised with its weightless and comfortable texture. My skin looks clear and radiant even after a long day.”
MIXXO: “This jacket is light and comfortable. I’m a shorts kind of person, and this pair fits me perfectly!”
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