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Malaysia is a peaceful and vibrant country in the heart of South East Asia with approximately 28 million people of different cultures, races and ethnicities.

The modern and ambitious nation is exemplified by the Petronas Twin Towers at the centre of Kuala Lumpur, a bustling capital city of over 7 million people, considered a critical node in the global economic system.

Malaysia is also a place of refuge to over 200,000 refugees stuck in an unusual situation: Not party to the Refugee Convention, Malaysia lacks a legislative and administrative framework to address refugee matters and does not have a formal legal status for people who have escaped death by persecution in neighboring countries.

All asylum-seekers and refugees in Malaysia are designated as illegal migrants.

As illegal migrants, refugees are not able to obtain public services, engage in legal contracts, work or attend school, have little access to medical facilities and are subject to arrest on a day-to-day basis.

Unable to stay, but with nowhere else to go, many have waited twenty years, with new generations of stateless children born in Malaysia as refugees. With no camps and few social support organizations, the majority remain hidden deep within Kuala Lumpur, living in the shadows of society to fend for themselves.


Over 80% of the refugees living in Malaysia escaped from Myanmar, also known as Burma.

For decades international human rights organizations and governments have repeatedly documented widespread persecution and human rights violations in Myanmar/Burma. Most who flee death by land or sea will be refused entry into nearby countries and returned, and thus, must often be smuggled out to survive.

One obvious destination by proximity is Malaysia, though, once inside, it’s very difficult to get out. As illegal migrants, refugees are restricted from departing through the airports or crossing borders by land or sea for they have no legal documents for customs to approve international departure.


Humanwire’s objective in Malaysia is to provide our unique method of support services to refugees in need of imminent, life-sustaining support while enabling a connection to others, to help provide focus to each person’s unique situation on a long-term, one-to-one basis.

Burmese refugees typically have no desire to ever return and in most cases the desired long-term solution for refugees in Malaysia is to seek asylum in other countries. Unlike our objectives in other countries designed to support refugees who ultimately desire to return home, Humanwire is tailoring our work to provide more effective support for successful asylum applications to safe, 3rd-party countries that will grant citizenship.