Humanity before security: The human face of the refugee crisis

Source: Asian Correspondent

WE must let humanity prevail over often baseless concerns of national insecurity in our treatment of refugees, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Malaysia Richard Towle told a crowd at The Refugee Fest in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.


A dancer performs at The Refugee Fest. Source: Facebook

In his opening statement, Towle spoke of society’s choice when it comes to our handling of the refugee community, saying it was a test of our resolve as a civilised species as to whether we choose to treat the vulnerable with compassion and humanity over unsubstantiated national security threats and our inclination to demonise.

“The issue of refugees is truly a global one and how we respond to it globally reflects how we are as people,” he said.

“If we respond – despite the threats to global insecurity – in a way that is humanitarian and respects human rights, then I think that is a badge of us as a civilised species.”

“Any discussion that puts the human being first, puts the women, the family, the children and the vulnerable first, and then looks at the implications for security as a secondary consideration, has got it the right way around.”

His comments come two weeks after the Malaysian government urged the refugee agency to share its database of some 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers in an effort to prevent Islamic State militants from entering the country. Read more

Sept 30 deadline for UNHCR cardholders to get MyRC card

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: About 150,000 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders in Malaysia have until Sept 30 to apply for the special MyRC identity card issued by the home ministry after registering under the Tracking Refugees Information System (TRIS).

As such, Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said refugees currently in the country were encouraged to input their biometric data under the new TRIS to ensure the government had updated and extensive data on them.

To date, only 321 UNHCR refugees have registered to get the MyRC, comprising Myanmar nationals (98%), Pakistanis (1.25%) and Sri Lankans (0.31%), he said.

Nur Jazlan said the MyRC initiative was implemented under the “Proof of Concept (POC)” programme on April 1.

 He said the POC programme would enable the government to obtain information and the biometric data of refugees and asylum seekers, currently in the UNHCR database.

Read more

UNHCR says it cooperates with home ministry on refugees

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is cooperating with the Malaysian government over the issue of refugees under its care in the country.

“We are fully committed to find ways that better protect refugees, and at the same time address any legitimate concerns about security, law and order,” the agency said in a statement today.

The UNHCR was responding to a comment by Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed last week that the ministry had not been getting the appropriate cooperation from UNHCR to implement the Proof of Concept (POC) programme to vet 150,000 UNHCR refugees in the country.

He said the ministry had then decided to directly obtain biometric information from those seeking asylum.

However, UNHCR said there is already cooperation taking place on the issue of registration. Read more

Let us vet your refugee database, govt tells UNHCR

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: With concerns over the movement of Islamic State (IS) militants into Sabah and other entry points in the country, the government has asked the United Nations agency responsible for refugees to share its database of refugees in Malaysia, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan spoke of the fear that some IS militants may have slipped into Malaysia and obtained refugee cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to move freely in the country.

“The UNHCR has issued cards but the home ministry is not involved in the process of vetting at all. They don’t collect biometric data.

“This does not help our enforcement effort especially on transnational crime, human trafficking and terrorism. So we want to know whether any IS links have penetrated their numbers,” Nur Jazlan was quoted as saying by the Singapore-based news broadcaster.

There are said to be about 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently carrying the UNHCR card. Read more

Nur Jazlan: UNHCR not cooperating on issue of refugee ID

Source: FMT News 

SINTOK: The Home Ministry (KDN) has not received the appropriate cooperation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement the Proof of Concept (POC) programme to vet 150,000 UNHCR refugees in the country, says Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

He said, as a result, KDN had decided to obtain biometric information directly from refugees without going through the UNHCR.

“At the Proof of Concept level, we have not got the due cooperation from the UNHCR. So we have made the decision to obtain biometric information from those seeking asylum directly,” he told reporters after opening the Immigration Department’s Sports Convention and Council here today. Read more

More than 150,000 refugees, asylum seekers in Malaysia

Source: Astro Awani 

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 150, 204 refugees and asylum seekers from 59 countries are registered with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were recorded in this country since last May 31.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said, 94,361 from the total are refugees whereas the balance 55, 843 are asylum seekers.

He said Myanmar has the largest number with 133, 725 people. The other countries involved are Pakistan (3,548), Sri Lanka (2,328), Yemen (2,095), Somalia (2,062), Syria (1,980), Iraq (1,461), Afghanistan (1,082), Palestine (698) and Iran (440). Read more