MALAYSIA: Iranian refugees in Malaysia claimed that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has neglected to monitor the Iranian refugee community for years.
On Wednesday (26 Jul), More than 40 Iranian refugees protested outside the UNHCR office at Bukit Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, to demand answers to their long-standing resettlement plea.
Ahoora Jenab Zedah, a 26-year-old leader representing the Iranian refugee community in Malaysia, voiced their grievances, stating that the community has been consistently overlooked in various aspects.
“The Iranian refugee community has always been ignored and forgotten by the UNHCR.”
“Being a small community of fewer than 500 refugees and asylum seekers, we have always received the least attention, support, livelihood aid, and resettlement opportunities,” said Ahoora, quoted by Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
According to Ahoora, certain members of the community have been stranded in Malaysia for more than a decade.
“We have vulnerable families who have been stuck in Malaysia under the auspices of the UNHCR for well over 10 years, with no access to basic civil rights, and yet we see refugees of other nationalities that arrived later being resettled before us.”
“If resettlement is determined by the vulnerability of one’s circumstances according to UNHCR, why hasn’t the resettlement unit asked to meet with community leaders to gather proper information and identify the vulnerable members to expedite the process?
“We urge the UNHCR to facilitate livelihood aid to families with urgent needs,” he said.
This means that it lacks the legal infrastructure to manage refugees and therefore can only act as a “transit” country.