The Danish Refugee Council’s Mixed Migration Centre Regional Office seeks proposals from a consultant to research the impact of prolonged detention of Rohingya refugees – including children – on their families and immediate communities in exile. It aims to cover aspects of security and safety, child protection, food and livelihood security, gender-based violence, and other issues affected by Rohingya detention. This will fill a gap in detention research by shedding light upon the broader effects of criminalizing refugees in Malaysia and will expand upon and inform existing alternatives to detention (ATD) initiatives.
The “Protecting Rohingya Refugees in Asia” (PRRiA) project brings together the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the Asia Displacement Solutions Platform (ADSP), the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) and the Geutanyoë Foundation (GF) to enhance regional protection responses in support of Rohingya refugees.
Through support from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), the project aims to identify and address the protection risks and needs of Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia with a particular focus on Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It combines evidence-based research with programmatic and advocacy expertise to allow project partners, through their comparative advantages, to explore and advocate through new paths to support Rohingya refugees and the communities hosting them.
For more information on PRRiA, please visit: (https://drc.ngo/our-work/resources/protecting-rohingya-refugees-in-asia/).
Rohingya refugees have sought international protection for decades. As a result of increased violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017, hundreds of thousands crossed the border into Bangladesh and elsewhere. Bangladesh alone now hosts more than 925,000. However, a lack of effective protection, coupled with growing insecurity, undefined legal standing, increased restriction and isolation, and difficulty accessing fundamental needs, has forced many onward, most often to Malaysia.
While Malaysia has long history of hosting – and tacitly tolerating – Rohingya refugees, a lack of legislative and administrative provisions leads to the classification of Rohingya and other refugees as ‘illegal’ migrants in the country. They are thereby excluded from the entitlements and benefits of regularized presence, including access to basic services such as healthcare and education, access to justice, and safe and legal employment. Rohingya refugees remain trapped in legal precarity indefinitely, awaiting any opportunity for forward movement, whether resettlement, return in and to safety, or regularization. While in this state of precarity, Rohingya refugees are at high risk of arrest and detention for “illegal entry”.
As of end of April 2022, the Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Seri Dzaimee Daud reported a total of 2,264 Rohingya detainees held in immigration depots nationwide.Many are reported to have been held for years. The Home Ministry reported 208 deaths in immigration detention between 2018 and February 2022.
Objective of the consultancy
This research aims to take the next step from existing research on detention of refugees and ATD initiatives in Malaysia by exploring the impact of policy and practice of detaining Rohingya refugees on their families and communities. It aims to provide a better understanding of the profiles of detainees, on what basis they are being detained, and the immediate and long-term impacts of prolonged detention. It aims to support the advocacy strategies and efforts for ATD and a victim-centred approach in policy and responses at both national and regional levels in line with international protection standards.
This research has the following objectives:
- To explore the impact of prolonged detention, including child detention, of Rohingya refugees on the families and immediate communities of those detained;
- To provide strategic and relevant recommendations to authorities in Malaysia to soften their approach to the detention of Rohingya refugees
- To provide strategic and relevant recommendations for other actors advocating for Rohingya in the country, as well as to leverage ATD discussions in other contexts;
- To create an evidence base showcasing in the impact of detention for families, to catalyze discussions for improved and more targeted services to them.
- To provide ASEAN-relevant recommendations, including, for example, engagement with the ASEAN Declaration and Regional Plan of Action on the Rights of Children in the Context of Migration, and recommendations on learning from good practices on alternatives to detention and/or screening in other ASEAN countries.
Key Research Questions
- What are the profiles of Rohingya refugees who are/were being detained in Malaysia?
- Why are Rohingya refugees being detained and remaining in detention?
- What are the current gaps in the legal framework around detention, detention of refugees, and detention of children in Malaysia?
- How does prolonged detention impact the detainees’ families and/or immediate communities livelihood strategies, support structures, and risk mitigation while detainees are released from detention, and how does this change after release?
- How are Rohingya communities in Malaysia impacted by the short- and long-term detention of family and community members in terms of protection?
- What strategies exist in the short- and long-term to end detention, provide alternatives, and soften or relieve the negative effects of current practice, and what is required to realize these objectives?
- Who are the key actors to engage in order to progress positive protection for Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, particularly around detention, and how can these actors be appealed to?
- What non-traditional actors may support advocacy, and how might these be approached?
Scope of work and Methodology
The Consultant will be required to prepare a detailed methodology and work plan indicating how
the objectives of the project will be achieved, and the support required from DRC.
This research will rely on a review of relevant research, literature, and policy documents; qualitative in-depth key informant interviews with a variety of stakeholders; and where available, extant quantitative data sources. The research will also utilize data from MMC’s 4Mi migrant survey program in Malaysia. In addition, it is expected that this research will draw from diverse and inclusive perspectives from civil society, refugee-led organisations, international organisations, and non-governmental organizations. The research will progress in line with the ethical research standards defined by MMC, ensuring informed consent, confidentiality, and best practice in refugee-specific research informant protection.
While the research intends to look specifically at the Malaysian context, it is produced as part of a larger regional initiative covering Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These contexts may inform the research.
The consultant will be expected to engage with stakeholders across the region throughout the consultancy. Stakeholder engagement is essential to ensure that the research is relevant to shared advocacy goals and program responses; will assist in the further validation of findings; and increase the usefulness and uptake of recommendations. This includes engaging and coordinating with the PRRiA Project Technical Committee and meeting at regular intervals to gather input into the research design, implementation, and reporting. Key stakeholders include refugees and migrants, as well as advocates, CSOs, NGOs, refugee-led organizations, criminal justice stakeholders, INGOs/UN, government representatives and subregional/regional bodies.
Dissemination of research findings
Final research findings will be disseminated through PRRiA project partner networks in the form of a written report, as well as an online webinar (an in-person launch may also be considered pending COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions). It is envisaged that intermediary dissemination sessions may also be conducted by the consultant in order to share and validate preliminary research findings.
At the start of the assignment, the consultant will develop a brief inception document, detailing the research approach, a preliminary bibliography and data sources, a sampling approach for in-depth interviews, and draft interview tools.
The consultancy will culminate in a substantive research paper concisely presenting findings in clear language, adhering to the PRRiA’s Terminology Guides and publishable upon completion.
A draft of the research paper will be shared with PRRiA project partners for comment and input, with the final draft to be delivered by the consultant within two weeks of receiving the comments.
The research will be conducted between September and December 2022. The estimated duration of this assignment is 40-50 working days (negotiable depending on the breadth of the proposal). The tentative schedule of deliverables follows.
The final paper will be presented in MMC format and carry the logos of ECHO, DRC, MMC, ADSP, and GF, acknowledging the authorship of the consultant.
The Consultant will submit the following deliverables as mentioned below:
Inception – Inception Report
Thorough Inception Report (10 pages minimum) including initial desk research, revised research methodology, interview design, sampling and tools, initial list of organisational stakeholders to be consulted as part of the research.
Initial consultation held with key stakeholders. 10 working days
Data Collection – Submission of the draft report
Transcripts of interviews and draft report based on desk research, and initial findings from data collection and 4Mi analysis, evidence of stakeholder engagement (ie key findings dissemination and validation, notes from interviews)
Preliminary findings dissemination and validation with key stakeholders. 20 working days
Full data analysis and satisfactory completion of the services
Full data analysis and the final report, including a presentation of key findings to the project team (remote)
Presentation of key findings to key stakeholders. 15 working days
The Consultant will provide the documentation by email.
Duration, timeline, and payment
The total expected duration to complete the assignment will be no more than 40 Working days.
The consultant shall be prepared to complete the assignment no later than 31 December 2022 (Final report release date). The Consultancy timeframe is 01 October – 31 December 2022.
Proposed Composition of Team
Interested teams or consultants are expected to include list of positions required in the consultant team.
Eligibility, qualification, and experience required
Demonstrable experience engaging issues of forced migration (Rohingya experience preferred);
Experience engaging issues of detention and ATD in Malaysia and the region;
Demonstrable research experience, including quantitative and qualitative analysis;
Established stakeholder networks in Asia with the ability to work consultatively with key stakeholders throughout the research process;
Sound understanding of legal and policy frameworks relating to refugee protection and detention (national, regional, and international);
Fluency in writing and speaking English.
Eligibility: The consultant has the authorisation to work in Malaysia
Qualification: Advanced degree in Law, Social Sciences, International Relations, Migration, Refugee Studies or related field;
Skills and knowledge: Excellent analytical and reporting skills. A solid understanding of research methodology, research ethics, and detention in Malaysia.
Language requirements: Written and spoken fluency in English and Bahasa Malay
Location and support
This consultancy is home-based but must be completed in Malaysia with legal rights to work in Malaysia. The Consultant will provide her/his own computer and mobile telephone.
Some travel within Malaysia may be required. In this case, the consultant will be required to travel to the locations, and the legal right to work in Malaysia is required.
Evaluation of bids
The following evaluation criteria will govern the selection of offers received. The evaluation is made on a technical and financial basis.
- Consultant qualifications (30 %)
(Documented with the filled-out Supplier Registration Form and a list of at least one similar assignment executed, including sample(s), as well as CV.)
– Documented experience in conducting scoping missions (10%)
– Documented experience in conducting needs assessments (20 %)
- Proposed services (40 %)
(Documented with the technical proposal)
-Content of the proposal suitable for and meeting the requirements (20 %)
-A proposed complementary methodology for the assignment (20 %)
- Interview (30%)
(To be conducted online after the tender closing date, and only with the three bidders that score highest on the technical evaluation (points 1 and 2 from above)
-Personal interview on professional skills; based on the two points above (30 %).
How to apply
All applications should clearly be marked as ‘The Impact of Prolonged Detention of Rohingya Refugees on their Families and Communities in Malaysia’ in the subject line and emailed to email@example.com by 22 September 2022 5 pm (GMT +6, Dhaka, BGD).
The total cost of the financial offer should be mentioned in the DRC Bid Form (RFQ), while the breakdown of the budget should be attached separately. The tender forms can be downloaded from DRC | Tenders
The budget should be broken down as follows:
A. Consultancy fees – daily and total
B. Data collection/analysis costs
C. Travel costs
Submission close date: 22 September 2022 at 5 pm (GMT +6, Dhaka, BGD).
Only those shortlisted will be contacted for an interview with the panel to ensure their understanding of the consultancy services.