Sunday, June 28, 2015

Putrajaya says no to UN refugees working here


Published: 24 June 2015 11:23 AM

A Rohingya asylum seeker shows his UNHCR card in this picture dated June 2. – Reuters pic, 

Putrajaya will not allow refugees holding United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards to work in Malaysia, Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Muttalib told the Senate today.

UNHCR had made an appeal to the government on Monday to allow UNHCR registered refugees, most of whom are from Myanmar to be allowed to work here.

According to statistics released by the UNHCR office in Kuala Lumpur, there were 153,004 asylum seekers and refugees registered with UNHCR up to May 31.

The deputy minister said allowing them to work was against the Immigration Act, which did not allow those without valid travel documents to be salaried in Malaysia.

He said another concern was that allowing them to work would encourage more refugees waiting at the borders to enter Malaysia, adding that it will cause the situation to spiral out of control.

"We already have 1.9 million registered foreign workers in Malaysia, we are also concerned that these people will now use this to try and apply for refugee status while they are here," Ismail told the Senate.

The deputy minister said Putrajaya did not want to send out the wrong signal on its policy on refugees by allowing them to work here.

"If we allow them to work, they are going to ask for other privileges such as education, medical and so on.

"We are sympathetic to their plight, but we cannot be giving them jobs," Ismail said. – June 24, 2015.

Governments fail to respond to ‘worst refugee crisis since WW2’

Jyothi Laldas

A REPORT by Amnesty International accuses world leaders of neglect as millions of refugees face “an unbearable existence”, while the world faces the “worst refugee crisis since World War 2”.

Amnesty International said that governments around the world have effectively let thousands of people who are fleeing wars in Africa and the Middle East, die by failing to provide them with basic human protection.

The number of people who have been displaced forcibly in the world is now thought to be above 50 million.

“We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amid brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments that pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, in a statement.

“The refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century, but the response of the international community has been a shameful failure.”

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the situation in Syria is “the most dramatic humanitarian crisis the world has faced in a very long time”.

The report, called “The Global Refugee Crisis: A Conspiracy of Neglect”, pays particular attention to the situation in Syria, the Mediterranean, Africa and South-East Asia.

The UN’s humanitarian appeal for Syrian refuges has received less than a quarter of the funds it needs.

The report also blasted the international community for doing nothing to alleviate the massive displacement of people across sub-Saharan Africa.

An estimated three million refugees are thought to be living there, including hundreds of thousands of people who have fled conflict in countries such as Nigeria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Burundi.

Conflict and wars raging across the Middle East and Africa have directly caused the Mediterranean migrant crisis, which has seen thousands of people drowning. About 3 500 people died while trying to make the sea crossing to Europe in 2014, with 1 865 thought to have perished so far this year.

Amnesty called on all of Europe to share the burden of dealing with the refugee crisis.

There were also incidents where Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand refused to allow boats carrying refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar to land, putting migrants at further risk.

Amnesty is urging world leaders to call an international summit on tackling the refugee crisis, focusing on sharing the burden of dealing with it, and that all countries must ratify the Refugee Convention.

As the entire Muslim world enters the benevolent and beloved month of Ramadan, we pray that humankind shows compassion and heeds the needs of those who are desperately suffering strife, hardship, poverty and affliction due to war, unrest and crises in their respective countries, and for peace to prevail.


Darul Ihsan Centre