Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fake refugee cards out of UNHCR’s control


Commission representative Richard Towle maintains that refugee cards were only issued to those genuinely requiring protection.



PETALING JAYA: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says they have no control over fake refugee cards in the market given out to those willing to pay for it.

According to a report by The Star Online today, UNHCR Malaysia representative Richard Towle said recent news reports about the sale of fake cards had nothing to do with the commission.

He said UNHCR had issued some 158,000 cards and it was possible to replicate the features of a legitimate card in order to make a fake one.

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Towle said UNHCR was not concerned about the number of cards issued, as what was more important was that the cards had only been issued to those who actually required protection.

He noted that their card system was controlled tightly, and that UNHCR also collected the biometric data of the refugees, such as fingerprints and retinal scans.

The authenticity of a UNHCR card, could be checked by the authorities via the Internet or by calling a hotline, Towle explained, adding that the commission enjoyed a high degree of cooperation with the government at present.

Last week, a New Straits Times exposé revealed that fake UNHCR cards, complete with security features, could easily be obtained for only RM120 from syndicates involved in the business.

In the exposé, a syndicate member revealed that data for the card was retrieved from the Malaysian UNHCR database and that the same name would be used by many other fake cardholders.

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