Tamil Refugee Assistance Network

Raising the voice of the invisible



  • Malaysia is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to neither the Status of Refugees nor its 1967 Protocol. As a result, the government authorizes UNHCR to carry out its refugee protection mandate in the country,
  • There are no refugee camp in Malaysia. Instead, refugees live in cities and towns across Malaysia in low cost flats or houses side by side local Malaysian homes,
  • Often, they live in small flats which are overcrowded. It is not uncommon for four or five families, or dozens of individuals to share a living space for cost-savings and security reasons,
  • There are no legal or administrative frameworks in place in the country in order to address the refugee situation. This creates a situation of great unpredictability and difficulty for refugees as a result of their lack of official status,
  • By law, refugees are not distinguished from undocumented migrants, and therefore refugees are at risk of arrest, detention, and deportation for immigration offenses,
  • They have no access to legal employment, but are allowed to work in the informed sector, and employers exploit their dire situation by paying extremely low or no wages at all.


Eelam Tamil refugees in Malaysia are not allowed to study in the public Tamil schools. Instead they go to refugee schools, partially funded by the UNHCR and partially funded by the refugees themselves. The UNHCR is aware of approximately 250 Eelam Tamil children of school-going age. This figure does not include children of those waiting to be registered with the UNHCR as well as children of those rejected in refugee status determination after appeal who remain in Malaysia.

With every day they are denied proper education, they are denied the ability to develop themselves morally and intellectually for their future. It inhibits them from opportunities to better their lives. Creating a generation of unskilled or even illiterate community, unable to be self-sufficient or provide for themselves in the future.


In Malaysia, refugees are able to access public and private healthcare facilities, just like any other resident of Malaysia,

However, the challenge of access to healthcare still remains. The health needs of refugees are often neglected due to the challenges they face in accessing healthcare services due to varies factors such as the cost of medical care language barriers and difficulties in physically accessing hospitals and cities.

According to UNHCR Malaysia as of January 31, 2016

  • Total of 1,715 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka,
  • Total of 1,546 refugees, for a total of 3,261,
  • In last ten years, 419 Sri Lankans have been resettled; and
  • Total volume of Sri Lankans persons of concerns since 2003 has been 10,000

I-TRAN for Refugees

Guided by Tamil values and experience, I-TRAN is working to address the global Tamil refugee crisis. We protect Tamil refugees throughout the world and displaced persons in home land, helping them to build new lives in safety and with dignity.

Why? Because as long as there are still places where it is a crime to be who you are, we have a mandate to be who we are

Join us today. Sign up to learn how you can make a difference on one of the most urgent issues of our time. If you would like to know more about our action, go to our website:

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This will help us our first project for displaced people and advocate for Tamil refugees in developing countries

You can make a donation either with your credit card, using the paypal button, or by check at the attention of I-TRAN at the below address

Subject: I-TRAN Fund

Unit C-1111 Henderson Hwy
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2G 1L4