Calls for better regional effort to stop influx of Rohingya

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups claim the outflow of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar can only be controlled through greater regional cooperation.

Responding to a statement yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, several human rights groups claimed a durable solution to the refugee crisis can only come about if there was a greater sharing of responsibilities by countries near Myanmar.

Zahid, who is also Home Minister, had said the Malaysian government would not arbitrarily issue the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) card to Rohingya refugees as it wanted to better manage their influx into the country.

“Our priority is our people and their welfare. It is not that we are not being humanitarian. I think the international community should show concern for the plight of the Rohingyas,” Zahid had said, but added that Malaysia did not wish to be a receiving country for Rohingya refugees whenever there were problems in Myanmar. Read more

DPM denies arbitrary issuance of UNHCR card for Rohingyas

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Malaysia will not arbitrarily issue the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card to the Rohingyas who have sought refuge in the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said this was to avoid Malaysia and its people from being overburdened with a flood of Rohingyas fleeing the ethnic clashes in Myanmar.

The decision to deny arbitrary granting of the refugee card to the Rohingyas had the cooperation of the UNHCR itself, he said to reporters after handing over sacrificial cows for Aidiladha in his parliamentary constituency of Bagan Datuk, here, today.

“Our priority is our people and their welfare. It is not that we are not being humanitarian. I think the international community should show concern for the plight of the Rohingyas,” he said. Read more

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

Foreigners using UNHCR programme to be ‘ghosts’ here, deputy home minister says

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Malaysia is aiming to prevent foreigners from misusing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee system to turn “ghosts” in this country, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said today.

The deputy home minister said many migrants and refugees were found throwing away identifications from their countries of origin, and then registering using the United Nations (UN) system to remain in Malaysia for a lengthy period of time.

“We don’t want to have ‘ghosts’ in our system. This system can be open to abuse. That’s why we need to close the loophole in the UNHCR system.

“A lot of these migrants come here and throw away their identification and sign up for the UN programme and stay here for a long time. This is not right,” Nur Jazlan told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

The Pulai MP was responding to claims made by several Asean lawmakers that Malaysia cared more about documenting migrants rather than providing them with adequate human rights. 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

Shahidan: No privileges for Rohingya children born in Malaysia

Source: Astro Awani

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not give special privileges to children of Rohingya refugees born in Malaysia, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

He said this group of people comprising United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders, however, could move freely in Peninsular Malaysia, were free to practise their culture and religious faith, received a 50-per cent discount at government hospitals compared to other foreigners, besides having access to private education.

Nonetheless, he said, UNHCR cardholders found to have committed offences in this country would face the law.

“The government does not recognise the refugee status of the ethnic Rohingya minority as Malaysia is not a signatory to the (United Nations) 1951 Convention related to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Read more

No plans to introduce assimilation programme for Rohingya

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has no plans to introduce a programme for Rohingya refugees to assimilate with the locals, says an Umno minister.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim said at present the refugees were issued with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) cards.

“If we introduce an assimilation programme, it means that we have the intention to give them citizenship.

“And if we open the floodgates, I am sure others will also want to come here,” he said. 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