Thursday, October 10, 2013

UNHCR: Only 10pc of refugees in Malaysia resettled last year

PETALING JAYA: The process to resettle refugees takes years given their huge numbers and limited places for resettlement, said United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Yante Ismail.

There are 10.5 million refugees worldwide and only about 80,000 get resettled each year. Some 10,000 refugees from Malaysia were resettled to third countries last year.

“This number is based on the availability of places offered by third countries,” Yante said.

As of April, there are 103,010 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia. Almost 95,000 of them are from Myanmar.

Yante said that refugees in Malaysia were resettled to countries such as Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.

“Given the size of the population of refugees, and the limited number of resettlement places, this process could take several years,” said Yante.

”Resettlement is made available to refugees who cannot return home or continue to stay in the host country, but it is not a right or an automatic solution for all refugees,” she added.

Yante was responding to Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidiwho urged the UNHCR to seriously look into expediting the resettlement process of Myanmar UNHCR card holders to third countries.

His statement came in the wake of violence involving Myanmar nationals in Kuala Lumpur, which left three people dead and a few others injured.