The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons establishes the legal definition for stateless persons as individuals who are not considered citizens or nationals under the operation of the laws of any country. In Sabah, the issue of statelessness is a long-standing issue which requires immediate intervention as many have been deprived of their basic rights for a long period, some for generations.
Given the very nature of the South East Asia National Human Rights Institution Forum (SEANF) in promoting and protecting human rights in Southeast Asia through a collaborative framework, SUHAKAM spearheaded a tripartite partnership with the National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia (Komnas HAM) and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) to address the issues and challenges of statelessness in Sabah.
In July 2020, SUHAKAM, Komnas HAM and CHRP signed the MoU with the objective to identify a pragmatic solution to addressing the issue of statelessness in Sabah through a rights-based approach.
In order to implement the MoU, an action plan has been developed and adopted by the three parties. The action plan outlined the activities including, among others, engagement with the relevant government agencies, regional and international human rights mechanisms to seek potential way forward to mitigate the issue of statelessness in Sabah.
The MoU will remain in force until December 2021.