UNHCR Malaysia’s new Representative presents credentials to Foreign Minister
Kuala Lumpur, 29 January 2014 - The new Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia, Richard Towle, presented his credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman at the Institute of Diplomatic and Foreign Relations here today.
During the meeting, Minister Anifah stated his commitment in ensuring that the Ministry continued its strong relations with UNHCR in finding solutions for refugees in the country, a statement that was well received by Mr Towle.
“We know that the irregular movement of people into and through the region poses many complex challenges for states, and we appreciate Malaysia’s continued commitment to hosting the many refugees in the country. I am eager to work closely with the Government of Malaysia on emerging issues related to refugees and how we can best support the Government in finding solutions to these complex challenges,” said Mr Towle.
Mr Towle, a New Zealander, arrives in Malaysia from his most recent posting as the UNHCR Regional Representative for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, a post he held from 2007 till 2013.
He joined UNHCR in Hong Kong in the early 1990s, working in a variety of capacities dealing with the Vietnamese boat people, then moved to the London office of UNHCR. He has since held various senior legal roles in the Department of International Protection at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva and has been involved in the UNHCR development of polities and operations relating to human rights, internally displaced persons, and asylum-migration issues.
His other UN experience includes a role as Chief of Mission for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, from 2001 to 2003. Towle was also a Member of the New Zealand Refugee Status Appeal Authority during a temporary absence from UNHCR from 2005 - 2006. Prior to joining the UN, he was a Deputy Chair of the Hong Kong Refugee Status Review Board, after working as a lawyer in New Zealand specializing in refugee and human rights issues.