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Chronic corruption in UN resettlement process

ActivismChronic corruption in UN resettlement process

UNHCR globally wastes more than one Galactic Year in the lives of refugees
In Kenya it just got worse

Somali refugees pressured into leaving the Dadaab camp in Kenya are now facing drought, starvation and renewed displacement in Somalia.21. May 2018 (vf) Since that African conglomerate-state with its huge colonial burden is now ruled for another four years by an autocratic governance after a neither clean nor fair election, the Republic of Kenya, which hosts gigantic refugee camps in the impoverished far North of the country as unobserved cash machines, has grabbed the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process from the hands of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). That this move was even recommended and is still fostered by UNHCR makes it only worse.
UNHCR has the duty to find and provide durable solutions for all refugees. But with only 0.8 percent of refugees resettled per year everyone has to admit that UNHCR has not even remotely fulfilled the tasks at hand – and in Trump’s terms “should be fired”.
Many therefore say rightly that UNHCR should give its mandate to protect and care for refugees back to the United Nations, since the agency is obviously no longer able nor willing to do the necessary – as recently also observed in Kenya, in Sudan [see below], Egypt, South-Africa, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Libya or Myanmar – to name just a few.
Together with the brutal enforcement of the Kenyan Detention Policy, which – against a standing court order – still deports refugees to the remote camps (or deports them – often illegally – back to their home countries), the delaying UNHCR processes provide for a constant cash flow to those in charge of the refugees or their brokers.
Urban refugees in Nairobi pay in minimum 45,000KSh (around 450USD), if they are female and willing to provide additional services, just for faked camp exemption papers and a governmental Refugee ID, while others have to pay more. Though fraudulently obtained, these documents at least help the asylum seekers against the harassment launched daily by security patrols in the refugee hotspots around Eastleigh in Nairobi, where police and vigilante groups [based on the Kenyan KumiKumi (KiSwahili:10/10) system – a derivative of the Nazi’s 10 houses Block Warden scheme] solicit for bribes or sex to not arrest the victims or to have them deported. Later, when the asylum seeker then is interviewed by UNHCR in the resettlement (RST) process, these documents are found out to be fake, but the broker is gone and the refugee is back to square one of RSD in this sick process, which is now handled by the Refugee Affairs Secretariate (RAS) of the Kenyan government. Since the Commissioner of RAS did not sign for almost one full year any camp-exemptions – granted to refugees  usually on grounds of medical or protection needs – the corruption machinery only became better oiled and boomed, while the real process nowadays often even lacks the ink for the printers to produce the valid papers. At present, the time to just register as refugee can take weeks, if you don’t know someone or can pay.
In addition, those, who had peacefully waited for sometimes even two or three years until their appointment date came to collect UNHCR’s decision for eligibility – i.e. if they recognize them as refugees or not – do find themselves now only postponed for another six months to get the verdict handed down by the Kenyan Government. Patience derives from the Latin word patientia, which means suffering.
Help- and hopeless at the hands of psychopaths in UNHCR and government
Only in rare cases, where sadistic, sexual or extortionist misconduct of an officer has become simply too obvious or where it has reached widespread proportions, some truth comes into the open. But only when donor money is embezzled heads really roll, though they often do not roll into the abyss and resurrect elsewhere. This climate of impunity on the one and the widespread fear on the other side have created the fertile ground for psychopaths of all shades, who as UNHCR officers enjoy the powers to decide over the fate of humans and in the course abuse them. Cases like that of UNHCR team leader Ali Khemis, are by no means rare, but it was exceptional that this time with the involvement of stout IGO investigators that psychotic maniac was nabbed.
While abuses involving sex sometimes make it to the investigation level and finally the headlines, it goes completely unreported what is the daily sadistic show of force and power enjoyed by those, who decide about eligibility or resettlement.
UNHCR clearly violates its duty by not making it conditional that all employees for these critical jobs are subjected to a regular, thorough and independent psychological examination, which has to establish if they can be fit for this work of high and unbiased responsibility. Inhumane bureaucrats enjoying the powers of a demigod, whose psychotic traits are fed by the pleads and tears of refugees simply must be rooted out from UNHCR and its implementing partners.
Worse, if the refugees finally overcome their fears and resort to protest, they are killed by government soldiers even if they are just hungry, while UNHCR stands by – doing nothing to protect them.
Resettlement to where?
Good question, because the number of countries, that voluntarily still take in genuine refugees has shrunk to less than a handful. Officially the 26 countries who had reportedly functioning resettlement programmes are down to 22, but that is only on paper while the reality looks much more bleak. Sweden, once a heaven for political asylum seekers, has like Hungary completely stopped any intake. Other European countries like Germany or Denmark and also New Zealand only deal now with family re-unification cases. The UK is very picky and seems to have an agenda to take only those, who worked for them earlier undercover or as “translators” in their home countries. The USA has ruled out any Muslim asylum seeker and hand-picks – with an extremely extended vetting process of regularly many years – only the strong – as workers for the slaughterhouses, metal factories and garbage collections or the beautiful for only the heaven
knows what. And Australia does not take in single asylum seekers any more, but wants families. This is modern slave-trade at its best.
At present only Canada seems to be the sole shining star at the horizon of the destitute refugees. But even there more and more applicants are pushed – due to the faulty, jammed, corrupt and delayed UNHCR resettlement process – to seek for a private resettlement sponsorship, which usually materializes in 10 to 12 month, but it costs so much that only wealthy family groups or churches can afford it. Inside Canada critical voices might soon even close that window. They claim that the welcoming refugee policy of Canada has the heinous agenda – followed by the ruling government – to outnumber the indigenous people of Native Nations in some provinces – to where the refugees then promptly are settled – in order to back the ruling class of European origin. That refugees are increasingly abused as political play stones is obvious everywhere.
Quo Vadis?
Meanwhile UNHCR’s country representative in Kenya Raouf Mazou, who hails from Benin, seems to only spend his time wining and dining with celebrities and royal dignitaries instead of backing the handful of his remaining good UNHCR staff, who were left without means during the last weeks when a new crisis erupted at the colonial border between Kenya and Ethiopia. Despite his sleek celeb-stunts he did not succeed to secure enough funding for the real work the agency has to deliver in Kenya – like protection, health or care for urban refugees. The promised care for the elderly, minors, minorities or other disadvantaged groups among the refugees has materialized nowhere. UNHCR’s phony websites on the trendy support for the LGBT community will never transform into action, because the UN agency can not even accept traditional marriages between refugees and merge their case-files. Muslim-Christian marriages have to be kept secret e.g. in Kakuma and simply can not be made in a public office, because the ever present fundamentalist groups there do haunt the couple ever after. But that does not go into the heads of bureaucrats who set the UNHCR rules.
More importantly, the UNHCR representative in Kenya is obviously also too afraid to root out corruption and political influence within his own office. Though the IGO achieved a small success in Kakuma camp, only one of the five targeted low rank culprits got briefly arrested. The top culprits continue under a protective, often political cloud, whereby e.g. the Ethiopian government through its embassy in Kenya is well known to rule deep into UNHCR and even into the Nairobi embassies of potential resettlement nations to make the life of political asylum seekers and dissidents specifically from the Oromo nation at least miserable – or hell.
One of the preferred tools to achieve that is peddling lies about alleged OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) affiliation of a refugee. The OLF is a group of freedom fighters standing for the independence of the Oromo nation and the protection of its over 40 million people – a task which the UN in the light of its duties to foster decolonization actually should support. Though the OLF is, except in Ethiopia, not on a single list of terrorist organizations worldwide –  naming a refugee rightly or falsely to be an OLF sympathizer, supporter or ex-freedomfighter causes in UNHCR but also e.g. in the US embassy to drop the case onto the big hip of delay and forget – mostly without any further counter-checks. The USAmerican military still needs the drone-bases, which the present regime allows them to operate from Ethiopia into the Horn of Africa and Sudan. Politicians, musicians, bloggers or activists are regularly haunted by the Ethiopian regime with such false accusations to combat any dissent. And in the worst case scenario the accused refugees are abducted and deported.
But in not one case of proven refoulement to Ethiopia UNHCR’s Raouf Mazou followed up with the Kenyan government, though the Kenya Police is involved in the illegal deportations – as ICRC interviews with the innocent victims back in Ethiopian prisons proof.
The internationally outlawed crime of returning political asylum seekers, who are UNHCR recognized refugees, back into the hands of the regime from which they fled – termed refoulement – is simply not addressed by UNHCR in Kenya effectively. In the case of world-famous Oromo spiritual leader Dabasa Guyo, UNHCR Kenya and their headquarters in Geneva went even so far to bluntly deny that the gentle elder was a registered, fully recognized refugee and asylum seeker at the time of his abduction. But one of the few remaining independent civil society organizations could during a tribunal for the case provide the documents, which proof beyond any reasonable doubt that he held genuine papers as recognized refugee and asylum seeker from UNHCR as well as a Refugee ID issued by the Kenyan government. Outrageously UNHCR denied it and had told several investigating journalists not the truth.
When UNHCR officials lie to the outside world it is never investigated by its Inspector General’s Office (IGO), which is supposed to provide the High Commissioner with independent assurance and oversight of UNHCR’s activities and operations. Unfortunately the IGO appears to be only an in-house watchman and not a pro-active guard with own rights and means to combat the crimes or enforce protection for refugees. Only few therefore bother to report to the IGO – with often very negative consequences for themselves. The IGO’s reporting process – like all UNHCR presentations and documentations on the internet – involves insecure, click-tracking websites which don’t allow secure browsers to use them and it makes anonymous reporting impossible. With too many leaks everywhere, witness protection is likewise a very sad chapter in UNHCR and therefore it is only logic that perpetrators can continue for years and get away, while those in the know remain mum. Only the very brave dare to take on the uphill battle involving often the top echelons of this UN agency.
Qui bono?
Meanwhile UNHCR obviously doesn’t want to step on the toes of  the rogue regime in Addis Ababa, which since 25 years disappears dissidents in and outside the country unabated and has killed thousands of its civilians, because also in Ethiopia there are huge UNHCR administered refugee camps with good business as usual. No wonder that Mr. Mazou – instead of working hard to provide real and durable solutions for fleeing people in distress – spends his time with retweeting promotions that see and present refugee camps as an untapped opportunity for the private sector – as likewise earmarked recently even by the UN’s Worldbank Group and its International Finance Corporation (IFC). Data on people subjected to forced displacement – these are internally displaced people in countries with civil strife as well as genuine refugees fleeing a country – are now even peddled by UNHCR with the WorldBank. Obviously the these banksters with diplomatic immunity want
in on the game.
Has anyone asked refugees in Kakuma Camp if they even want to play the role of “dynamic economic agents” in its 56 mio USD per year market on foreign soil or if they want to just live and work in peace with their families, relatives and friends on their own land back home? With these deceptive actions pushed by the masters of deceit and the lords of poverty jointly, these vassals of the 1%  only secure their stock of chattel and their share of looted international funding deriving from tax-payers money.
Let others do the hard work – we just want the funds
To shield itself UNHCR has outsourced many duties of its actual mandate, that is based on the international conventions. With the always working carrot-and-stick approach and severe contract stipulations this UN agency has created a cordon of boot-licking non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around itself, which then can be blamed if things go wrong. Things do go wrong very often and with increasing tendency, since what could earlier be solved in-house does involve now many players with all their own interests. Who at the end suffers are the refugee and not the stacked conglomerate of organizations.
One serious side-effect is likewise that UNHCR now clearly violates it own data security rules and regulations. One outrageous example is the recently established hotline for refugees in emergency situations e.g. in Kenya, that was outsourced. The private company running it with their non-UN-staff is ignoring any confidentiality rules and they are endangering persecuted refugees more than they are able to help them. New refugee status websites, where refugees supposedly should be able to monitor the progress of their cases, like in Egypt and Kenya, are easily hacked and from there the intruder can even hop to the major databases of the UN agency. Refugee databases are now the key-target of foreign agents looking for dissidents with the task to eliminate the critics or the insurrection organizers.
That these are serious security breeches seems not to go into the heads of the twitter- and facebook-addicted holders of diplomatic immunity, with which UNHCR senior staff is equipped. Such protection is not available to refugees, especially not in the remote camps were rape victims rarely report to police for fear to be violated again or young men are recruited by force into fundamentalist groups.
The poor state of UNHCR’s IT capabilities can be already seen when it comes to make proper entries. UNHCR claims they can not write “Oromo” into the field for the nationality of an Oromo refugee – only Ethiopia. But insiders know it is the UN politics of not recognizing Oromiya as a nation, though even the brutal regime in Addis based on the constitution has conceded. Oromiya is a nation and the nationality of an Oromo is Oromo. Next argument in line will be that the UNHCR computer system would not have space on the forms to write both – nationality and citizenship. But there is enough capacity to file all the forcibly taken biometric data of innocent refugees who will find their details in many global databases from the CIA to Google – thanks to the leaks in UNHCR.
The other side
Surely also the other side of the coin must be seen, be it in form of organized crime trafficking humans as sex- or labour-slaves or to smuggle economic migrants through or into other countries, and yes, in desperation also refugees can lie to improve their status. But, as long as nobody cares to establish and maintain a clean and due legal process for genuine refugees and political asylum seekers, the shadows will only expand under whose cover people then will have to seek refuge to escape persecution. The clean avenue between persecution on the one and exploitation on the other sides is not yet paved.
Recent practices in Kenya, however, where intercepted human trafficking gangs get away with a slap on their wrists, while the genuine refugees are just hoarded back with the support of IOM (the International Office of Migration) – the USAmerican-founded travel agency of the UN and its member states – while neither UNHCR nor OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) are even informed by the Kenyan Police, must stop. People from minorities and/or Indigenous Peoples have additional, internationally guaranteed and accepted rights, for which neither local law enforcement nor IOM or UNHCR do care or could cater. And it is often the case that especially members of these endangered minorities are lured into the cattle-trailers of the smugglers to traverse Kenya en route to South Africa with false promises. When they then find out that South-Africa is hell like Ethiopia or Somalia they have no means to return or to flee elsewhere, especially because UNHCR South Africa is even more hypocritical and less helpful to refugees than Kenya. Being intercepted actually could be advantageous for these migrants, if they then would be given the full information and the assistance of UNHCR – or better OHCHR – and with their prior informed consent the right to apply for asylum. But that is not how it works in the moment in Kenya, where instead of UNHCR e.g. the Ethiopian embassy agents show up to pick the dissidents from among the migrants for extradition or forced repatriation.
If, while reading all this, you got the feeling that it is all too much, you are right, but today it can still be solved. Its not easy, but must be done if any moral legitimation shall be upheld and provide for a better future.
The whole and worldwide refugee crisis must be analysed afresh, policies and laws must be revised and the processes to provide real help must be restructured and boosted without delay:

  • States, which cause or foster regime change or war elsewhere, must cater for the fleeing people in full.
  • Regimes, which cause their own people to flee must be charged the costs to host them.
  • Host countries must provide full protection and be held accountable, if the fundamental rights to security or well-being are breeched.
  • And UNHCR should become a department of OHCHR, whereby the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will have the duty to enforce the rights of refugees – no matter where they are.

“We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record in all of human history”, says Filippo Grandi, the not-anymore-so-new UNHCR boss in Geneva, who is the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since the agency was founded 68 years ago. His predecessor António Guterres left him a real mess – only to be himself promoted now to United Nations (UN) Secretary General. The Peter principle still works.
Observers who are as old as UNHCR or even older state that the agency in not one instance anywhere has created a durable situation where it would no longer be necessary to operate – the opposite: Everything is done to ensure that the refugee crisis situations persist or can be created newly to sustain the agency.
We all agree with UNHCR that in a world where nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution, over half of whom are under the age of 18 years, the work to help these people is today more important than ever before. BUT, many say, it cannot be done with the present UNHCR and faulty governments, which don’t do the work as needed.
While limping from one crisis to the next with their faulty or outright wrong sets of tools and often enou
gh corrupt staff, the UN and many of its member-state governments are providing hardly real help, but are causing instead untold harm to millions of refugees in addition to their plight.
The first step
A rough estimate resulted in the finding that  – with the constant back-log and the corrupted delays in the resettlement process or while finding durable solutions for displaced people and refugees – UNHCR is wasting in the moment approx. 342mio human years – that is more than 1.4 Galactic Years in the life of people, who had to flee their homes. Admittedly sometimes UNHCR does good work, but that waste of human lifetime was also funded with the US$ 7.7 billion, which UNHCR received in 2017 alone from the international community.
Nobody thinks that 3.42mio centuries or 342 thousand millennia don’t matter – so why the lifetime of refugees seems not to matter for UNHCR today?
We all know that time is the most precious good in one’s life. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it – neither for yourself nor in someone else’s life” is the message delivered since the days of the Buddha and just recently stated again by Apple founder Steve Jobs on his deathbed.
Otherwise beware
Despite that those at the global roulette tables might be still just smiling and believe that they can continue their divide and rule games and that refugees from different countries and ethnicities would never be able to come together and fight their oppressors jointly — just imagine what would happen, if the at present 68.5mio forcibly displaced people worldwide would find the way to unite and together beat back. Just imagine ….
(*) Venatrix Fulmen (vf) is an independent investigative journalist and can be reached via Lioness <118141341818@riseup.net>

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