Refugees pay the price for the world’s apathy

I THINK that refugees should return to the countries they come from, because organizations that work for the welfare of refugees and countries that work to resettle them now have other priorities.

The refugees who resettled by 2020 are among the last lucky ones to be recognized by the 1951 Refugee Convention. Organizations such as UNHCR, the International Rescue Committee and the International Organization for Migration are tired of working for the welfare of refugees. All these organizations have lost interest. UNHCR offices in Malaysia and Indonesia now rarely respond to refugee claims.

UNHCR’s offices in Southeast Asia, Thailand and Sri Lanka were once actively involved in resolving refugee issues, but now the situation has changed. UNHCR in Malaysia and Indonesia is not performing due to the fact that these offices provide jobs to people who are not at all interested in their work. Thousands of emails are sent to these offices every month by migrants, but very few receive a response. Racism is more prevalent in these offices because a particular sect in Myanmar is more important.

UNHCR Malaysia is currently run by security officers who cannot deal with the refugees and the problems they face. UNHCR offices in Indonesia and Malaysia have failed miserably to resettle refugees in other countries. They have no redress for their grievances over health, education, security, resettlement and immigration issues

The virus has forced thousands of refugees from Myanmar, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine to return to their own countries or to resettle in a third country because they did not have no hope of resettlement or assistance from civil society groups.

Thousands of Burmese refugees have crossed the Malaysian-Thai border. As a result, the number of refugees in Malaysia has decreased. However, UNHCR Malaysia has yet to update the current number of refugees under its care. As a result, many cannot return to their families or resettle in another country. They are just trapped in the middle of nowhere.

Many refugees have left this world with dreams of a better future, but the death of a refugee does not matter to any civil society group or human rights organization. The world has changed. Human rights no longer exist in practice. There was a time when refugees were welcome. Every country now sees refugees as a burden. – September 4, 2021.

* Dr Tamoor Azam is a research analyst at Kunming University of Science and Technology, China.

* This is the opinion of the author or post and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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