Wake up call for UNHCR

Wake up call for UNHCR

_ By Dr Zafar Shah

In the March 15 Malaysiakini, A Burmese refugee who served as an interpreter with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Kuala Lumpur accused his former colleagues of discrimination. He claimed that the Rohingyas were sidelined and he requested to give an equal treatment. UNCHR denied the allegation because it cannot reveal the truth behind this episode. Before that, there were posters condemning UNHCR in downtown Kuala Lumpur and some refugees protested in front of UNHCR head office. Previously there were also protests against UNHCR in Thailand, India and Bangladesh by the Myanmar refugees. There were also strong exchanges of words between UNHCR and Malaysian authorities off and on.

Myanmar refugees accused UNHCR officers that they are sleeping on the job after taking five figure salaries. Actually, UNHCR’s hands were virtually tied because they have to search for the volunteer third party countries that would accept and allow settling of refugees.  Nowadays these countries told unofficially but firmly to the UNHCR that they are only willing to accept the non-Muslim refugees only. 

(Muslims could not blame them because that is the result of the acts of our fellow Muslim Refugees settled in Denmark, UK, French and Australia and because of the 9-11 incident in US.)

It is time to wake up and face the reality, UNHCR officers. You need to think out of the box to free the refugees out of this dilemma. Let’s see what is beyond UNHCR’s capacity and later search for what they could do. 

A.      UNHCR could not do the followings_

1.      UNHCR have to accept that they cannot do anything to improve the socio-political conditions back in the source country, Myanmar. (They cold not force the regime change of Myanmar nor even force the Myanmar to change the policy on its minorities. Even at the UNSC the western countries’ resolution on Myanmar was blocked.)

2.      UNHCR could not force the present third countries accepting refugees to accept more refugees or to take Muslim refugees.

3.      UNHCR’s present blaming and pressuring of Malaysian Home Ministry or other host countries could not generate any fruitful results.

4.      As the democratic countries, host countries have to consider the sensitivities of their voters and their countries’ politico-religious conditions. (The western countries would never reveal officially that they do not want the Muslim refugees and Malaysia would never tell that they prefer Malay-Indonesian blooded Refugees only.)

B.      UNHCR should  try to do the followings_

1.      Persuade OIC member Muslim countries with the help of Malaysian Government and UNSG’s office to start to accept Myanmar Refugees.

2.      Actually, refugees are like unpolished gemstones. Most of the countries do not know the true value of the refugees. UNHCR should shine them so that other countries would appreciate them.

(a)     UNHCR should polish the refugees of their basic skills to turn them into a good workforce. UNHCR should open vocational training and language training centres according to the demand.

(b)     UNHCR should form a work force training, management and supply company.

(c)      UNHCR should negotiate with multinational companies and countries around the world to accept them on contract basis.

(d)     UNHCR should issue Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports for all the refugees, political or economic migrants in Malaysia.

3.      Then only UNHCR could do away with the present prolonged period for the interviews and investigations. In Burma, there is a widespread socio-economic problem which is difficult to resolve. As almost the whole population of Burma is suffering under the autocratic Junta, we hope it is not necessary to differentiate between these two categories. If we do away with this differentiation, the resettlement process will be faster. 

4.      Once UNHCR issued the Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports (C of I or PP) to all the Burmese refugees, illegal immigrants, all of them can freely apply for visas and search for jobs around the world.

5.      UNHCR has to work with its parent United Nations, ILO, WTO, WHO, UNDP, UNICEF, international and local NGOs, World Bank, Interpol and the countries around the world so that they could successfully implement this project.

6.      With the GLOBLISATION, UNHCR and UN should initiate, persuade, negotiate, and press for the free manpower mobilization to balance the socio-economic imbalances around the world.

7.      To fund this project, UNHCR could start with its budget but could re quest funds from the donor countries that used to accept the refugees.  UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, EU, ASEAN countries and host countries could also chip in.

8.      UNHCR could strike deals as a Manpower Management Company and charge the employers, request rebates from the income tax departments and other levies charged by the employer countries. 

9.      UNHCR could even charge some fees from the refugees who become high-income earners. 

10. UNHCR could arrange with some international insurance companies for the refugees’ social security, future health and financial needs, and the education needs of their children.  They should be made to pay a portion of their monthly salary as instalments via a monthly deduction from their salary.  Their employers and the related governments should arrange for rebates, contributions or income tax exemptions e.t.c. into this fund.

11. UNHCR could arrange for or coordinate with some multinational companies and some host countries or neighbours of Burma/Myanmar to form joint venture industrial towns.  The local government’s investment would be land and some infrastructure necessities, UNHCR could manage the work force, and multinational companies could provide the financing and technology.

12. UNHCR could use this manpower pool for the UN’s various development projects around the world and for its HQ.  UNHCR could even use some suitable persons as security personnel in UN related offices and projects worldwide, and could recruit some of the suitable persons to help the UN peacekeepers around the world.

C.      UNHCR should guarantee that_

1.        Those refugee workers who hold the UNHCR Certificate of Identity Card (PP) would be working only on normal temporary contract basis.

2.        If there are any problems, UNHCR must take the undertaking to repatriate the workers, to the UNCHR controlled camps near the Burmese border.

3.        Promise that there are no obligations on the host countries to accept these workers permanently as citizens.

4.        If a refugee finished his contract with an unblemished record, UNHCR could search a job for him in other countries or temporarily repatriate him to the UNHCR camps at the border.

5.        If a refugee committed any crime, or has a disciplinary problem, he should be blacklisted and may be permanently sent back to the UNHCR camps at the Burmese border. 

6.        If UNHCR could guarantee that kind of undertaking or repatriation only, many countries would dare to issue work visas to the refugees. 

7.        To repatriate the sailors, there are fixed airfares from anywhere back to the country of origin.  UNHCR could negotiate that kind of repatriation fares.

It is the time to reform and revamp UNHCR. Even if it is difficult to issue the Certificate of Identity in lieu of International Passports (C of I or PP) to all the Burmese refugees, UNHCR must persuade OIC member Muslim countries with the help of Malaysian Government and UNSG’s office to start to accept Myanmar Refugees.

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Read this author’s other articles.

Comments:

Aung Zaw said _

Its is really nice and constructive for the sake of humanity. The UNHCR would do everything for the welfare of refugees, rather than doing for a single group.

Actually, Dr. Volker Turk is not only a professonalist but also a racist on refugee issues.

Dr. Volker Turk created a conflict among the refugee communities in Malaysia as he closed registration for all nationals on May 15, 2007 but hiddenly registered more than 3000 Chin Christians.

In my opinion, all the staff of the UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur would change as early as possible. Because they are directly or indirectly involved in corruption.

On behalf of all Burmese non-Chin appeal to the International community to form an immediate investigation team for UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur, in order to find a permanent solution for every one, rather than marginalizing with temporary stay permit that is not fall under the UN Convention.

Maung Soe said _

Volker Turk is destroying our national solidarity among the Burmese refugee community. So, we call upon the International Community to form an international investigation team to find out the reality of corruption and discrimination that has been exercising in the UNHCR local office in Kuala Lumpur under the patronization of criminal Volker Turk. I also strongly support the writer and commenter in this regards for the sake of humanity.
I also want to say the contributors to write more about stateless Muslims from Burma to find a permanent solution.

3 Responses

  1. link up

    http://www.politicalhumanwrites.com

    good luck you have a tough job my friend

    william

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