In several countries across Southeast Asia, the absence of a proper legal framework for refugees means that they are often considered as 'illegal aliens', which puts them in a situation of extreme vulnerability. Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are not signatory to the Refugee Convention and do not have specific laws for the protection of refugees. While the region’s economy is thriving and its population is booming, refugees and asylum seekers in these countries are forced into a life of invisibility.
"I didn't know we would come here and stay here. I didn't know that my children would face an uncertain future," says Khadija from Afghanistan. 'Here' is Thailand. With support from EU humanitarian aid, UNHCR has reduced the processing time for refugee status. Since Khadija was granted refugee status, she no longer feels "trapped" and her outlook on life has changed.
The European Union partners with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to protect refugees.
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