Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nur Jazlan slams UNHCR over issuance of refugee cards

Deputy Minister says the government is doing its best for refugees even though it is not obligated to do so, but the UNHCR can do more to help.

KUALA LUMPUR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia should be more responsible when issuing refugee cards, said Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

He said checks by the immigration department revealed abuse of UNHCR cards by foreigners, including by Arabs and Africans, who came into the country legally but overstayed and later applied for refuge status through the international agency.


“We are telling the UNHCR to be responsible for the refugee cards they issue, to find out whether these are forged by agents on the streets or supplied by them.

“The immigration department recently met the UNHCR to ensure their cards were genuine. We have suggested that they link their database with ours but they have yet to respond to that,” Nur Jazlan told reporters outside the Parliament building yesterday.

He added that Malaysia was not a signatory to the UNHCR’s convention and yet, due to the international body’s own faults, the government was the one subjected to accusations of neglect and unjust treatment of those who had come to seek refuge here.

“Why should we take care of the refugees when we are not a signatory to their (UN) conventions? You (UNHCR) talk so much about us not taking care of the refugees whilst we are not a signatory, but what do you do?

“You push the burden on us. You fault us for not helping these people. We are, but we have to make sure that whatever help we provide is going to be meaningful.


“That it will help us improve their lives and future. Not just for them to be abused again.”

The Pulai MP was responding to criticisms made by the UNHCR against the government following arrests of migrants with refugee cards.

He said the government was doing its best to ensure the wellbeing of the refugees although they were not directly under its responsibility.

Nur Jazlan said the UNHCR is to be blamed for making things worse by being careless in the issuance of its refugee cards.