KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — “My vaccination appointment is on July 8. I’m very excited and really look forward to it,” says Hasan Al-Akraa, a refugee activist in Malaysia and a refugee himself.

The Co-Founder of Refugee Emergency Fund (REF) and Al-Hasan Volunteer Network (AHVN) welcomed the Malaysian government’s goodwill in extending the COVID-19 vaccination to all foreigners residing in the country, including students, refugees and undocumented migrants.

In fact, Hassan, who is a Syrian refugee living in Malaysia with his family for the past 12 years said his non-profit organisation together with Asylum Access Malaysia have been working hand-in-hand to disseminate the information on the vaccine rollout to other refugees.

“This year, what we’ve done for the past one month is creating a video tutorial in several languages on how refugees could reserve a spot in MySejahtera app, as well as on the vaccination programme’s official website.

“We put into words for refugees out there, encouraging them to register and soon, we are planning to conduct online workshops for refugees to come forward and ask questions that they might have about the vaccine,” said Hassan during an interview on Bernama TV “Mid-Day Update” programme, today.

Hassan, who is also a Refugee Rights Activist was interviewed in conjunction with World Refugee Day, observed on June 20.

Recently, it is reported that the Home Ministry requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to hand over the list and information on refugees in the country for COVID-19 vaccination. 

At present, there are 178,715 UNHCR cardholders and the ministry has identified almost 2.5 million foreigners in the country who held various documents issued by the government or third parties such as UNHCR, including prisoners and Immigration detainees, for COVID-19 vaccination. 

Elaborating on how Malaysians could further help the refugees living in the country, Hassan said raising awareness and getting the right information about refugees is important.

“Start with your own circle of friends, get the right information and share possible stories about refugees’ contribution to Malaysia as well as, try to make friends with the refugee community,” said Hassan adding voluntary works and donation would also help those refugees in need of basic healthcare necessities.

Themed “Together We Heal, Learn and Shine” this year, World Refugee Day celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. 


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