Archive for the ‘UNHCR’ category

The Lessons of Roosevelt’s Failures

February 1, 2017

The Lessons of Roosevelt’s Failures, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, February 1, 2017

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Is US President Donald Trump the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Does his immigration policy mimic Roosevelt’s by adopting a callous, bigoted position on would-be asylum seekers from the Muslim world? At a press conference on June 5, 1940, Roosevelt gave an unspeakably cynical justification for his administration’s refusal to permit the desperate Jews of Nazi Germany to enter the US.

In Roosevelt’s words, “Among the refugees [from Germany], there are some spies… And not all of them are voluntary spies – it is rather a horrible story but in some of the other countries that refugees out of Germany have gone to, especially Jewish refugees, they found a number of definitely proven spies.”

The current media and left-wing uproar over the executive order US President Donald Trump signed on Saturday which enacts a temporary ban on entry to the US of nationals from seven Muslim majority countries is extraordinary on many levels. But one that stands out is the fact that opponents of Trump’s move insist that Trump is reenacting the bigoted immigration policies the US maintained throughout the Holocaust.

The first thing that is important to understand about Trump’s order is that it did not come out of nowhere. It is based on the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump’s move is an attempt to correct the strategic and moral deficiencies of Obama’s policies – deficiencies that empower bigots and fascists while disenfranchising and imperiling their victims.

Trump’s order is based on the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. As White House spokesman Sean Spicer noted in an interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Sunday, the seven states targeted by Trump’s temporary ban – Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – were not chosen by Trump.

They were identified as uniquely problematic and in need of specific, harsher vetting policies for refugee applications by former US president Barack Obama.

In Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, the recognized governments lack control over large swaths of territory.

As a consequence, they are unable to conclude immigration vetting protocols with the US. As others have noted, unlike these governments, Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian officials have concluded and implement severe and detailed visa vetting protocols with US immigration officials.

Immigrants from Somalia have carried out terrorist attacks in the US. Clearly there is a problem with vetting procedures in relation to that jihad-plagued failed state.

Finally, the regimes in Sudan and Iran are state sponsors of terrorism. As such, the regimes clearly cannot be trusted to properly report the status of visa applicants.

In other words, the one thing that the seven states have in common is that the US has no official counterpart in any of them as it seeks to vet nationals from those states seeking to enter its territory. So the US must adopt specific, unilateral vetting policies for each of them.

Now that we know the reason the Obama administration concluded that visa applicants from these seven states require specific vetting, we arrive at the question of whether Trump’s order will improve the outcome of that vetting from both a strategic and moral perspective.

The new executive order requires the relevant federal agencies and departments to review the current immigration practices in order to ensure two things.

First, that immigrants from these and other states are not enemies of the US. And second, to ensure that those that do enter the US are people who need protection.

Trump’s order requires the secretary of state and the secretary of homeland security to ensure that the new vetting processes “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Under the Obama administration, the opposite occurred. Christians and Yazidis in Syria for instance, have been targeted specifically for annihilation by Islamic State and related groups. And yet, they have made up a tiny minority of visa recipients. According to Christian News Service, during 2016, the number of refugees from Syria to the US increased by 675%. But among the 13,210 Syrian refugees admitted to the US, only 77, or 0.5% were Christians and only 24, or 0.18%, were Yazidis.

Similar percentages held in previous years.

On the second issue, of blocking potential terrorists from entering the US, Trump’s order calls for measures to be taken to ensure that those who ascribe to creeds that would endanger the lives of US citizens are barred from entering.

Specifically, the order states, “The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Whether or not the Obama administration’s failure to give top priority to Christian and Yazidi refugees being targeted for genocide, enslavement and rape was driven by political considerations, the fact is that the current US refugee system makes it all but impossible for US officials to give priority to vulnerable minorities.

As Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom pointed out in an article in National Review in November 2015, the US has relied on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees to vet potential immigrants from these countries. The UNHCR accepts applications for resettlement primarily from people who reside in its refugee camps. Members of the Christian and Yazidi avoid UN camps because UN officials do not protect them.

As Shea noted, human rights groups and media reports have shown that at UN camps, “ISIS, militias and gangs traffic in women and threaten men who refuse to swear allegiance to the caliphate.”

The situation repeats itself in European refugee centers. Shea noted that in Germany, for instance, due to Muslim persecution of non-Muslim refugees at refugee centers, “the German police union recommended separate shelters for Christian and Muslim groups.”

The UNHCR itself has not been an innocent bystander in all of this. To the contrary. It appears that the institution colludes with jihadists to keep persecuted Christians and other minorities out of the UN refugee system, thus dooming them to remain in areas were they are subjected to forms of persecution unseen since the Holocaust.

Questioned by Shea, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said that he opposes the resettlement of persecuted Christians from Syria. Despite the fact that in 2011 Pope Francis acknowledged that Syrian Christians were being targeted for genocide, Guterres told Shea that he doesn’t want Christians to leave Syria, because they are part of the “DNA of the Middle East.” He added that Lebanon’s former president asked him not to resettle the Christians.

Invoking the Holocaust, in recent days US Jews have been among the most outspoken critics of Trump’s executive order. Speaking to Britain’s Independent, for instance, Mark Hetfield, the executive director of HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, slammed Trump’s executive order as the “lowest point we’ve seen since the 1920s.”

Forward editor Jane Eisner wrote that Trump’s move is immoral and un-American and that all Jewish organizations are morally required to stand up to his “anti-Muslim” policies.

Writing at Vox.com, Dara Lind drew a direct connection between Trump’s executive order and the Roosevelt administration’s refusal to permit the Jews of Europe to flee to the US to escape annihilation in the Holocaust.

This then brings us back to Roosevelt’s immoral policies toward the Jews of Europe and to the question of who has learned the lessons of his bigotry.

The American Jewish uproar at Trump’s actions shows first and foremost the cynicism of the leftist Jewish leadership.

It isn’t simply that left-wing activists like Hetfield and Eisner cynically ignore that Trump’s order is based on Obama’s policies, which they didn’t oppose.

It is that in their expressed concerned for would-be Muslim refugees to the US they refuse to recognize that the plight of Muslims as Muslims in places like Syria and Iraq is not the same as the plight of Christians and Yazidis as Christians and Yazidis in these lands.

The “Jews” in the present circumstances are not the Muslims, who are nowhere targeted for genocide.

The “Jews” in the present circumstances are the Christians and Yazidis and other religious minorities, whom Trump’s impassioned Jewish opponents and Obama’s impassioned Jewish champions fail to defend.

Trump’s executive order is far from perfect. But in making the distinction between the hunters and the hunted and siding with the latter against the former, Trump is showing that he is not a bigot.

Unlike his critics, he has learned the lessons of Roosevelt’s moral failure and is working to ensure that the US acts differently today.

For Next UN Secretary-General, A Managerially Incompetent Socialist

October 6, 2016

For Next UN Secretary-General, A Managerially Incompetent Socialist, PJ Media, Claudia Rosett, October 5, 2016

unsecgenFILE – In this Friday, Dec. 18, 2015 file photo, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the race for the next United Nations secretary-general, the Security Council has narrowed the field of candidates from a remaining 10 to precisely one: and the winner is, former Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres. It could have been worse — but not by much. Guterres brings to the job a record that suggests he is a perfect fit to head a UN that is prone to overreach, mismanagement, waste, fraud, abuse and government meddling in every aspect of life — provided we all want even more of the same.

That’s not what you’re reading in most press reports right now, where news of Guterres as top pick for the next UN secretary-general seems to consist largely of recycled public relations materials from the UN, related officials, and the Portuguese government. Guterres was roundly praised on Wednesday by Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin (“we have a clear favorite”) and America’s Ambassador Samantha Power (who called Guterres “a candidate whose experience, vision and versatility across a range of areas proved compelling”).

So who is this man, Antonio Guterres, who so impressed the UN envoys of both Presidents Putin and Obama?

Along with a stint as prime minister of Portugal from 1995-2002, Guterres also served as president of the Socialist International, from 1999-2005, following a stint as vice-president of the organization from 1992-1999. As the Daily Caller reminds us, the Socialist International is “a global network of national socialist parties seeking to establish ‘democratic socialism’ around the world,” an endeavor that in the late 1980s included funding the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

From 2005-2015, Guterres served as high commissioner of the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR), garnering experience which he and the Portuguese government advertised as one of his chief qualifications to head the UN Secretariat. In nominating Guterres for the post of UN secretary-general, Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa wrote that Guterres throughout his tenure as the UN’s high commissioner for refugees “showed exemplary understanding of and respect for the values of the United Nations,” ushering in all sorts of marvelous “reform and innovation.”

That sounds great, except the UN’s own auditors took a far less laudatory view of Guterres’s performance. This April the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services issued an audit report identifying a series of “critical” lapses by the UNHCR under Guterres’s management. That audit was obtained by Fox News editor-at-large George Russell, who published a story on June 7 headlined “UN refugee agency handed over hundreds of millions to partners without monitoring.”

Russell in his article, based on the UN internal audit, detailed a “saga of inaction, bureaucratic incoherence and apparent unconcern about the spending of huge amounts of cash at UNHCR,” and described the UNHCR mess as “the latest symptom of problems for the U.N. system as a whole.”

Overall, reported Russell, “over the last two years, as the global refugee crisis spiraled out of control, the United Nations’ refugee organization has handed over nearly a billion dollars to private organizations and national governments, much of it without verifying whether those partners had the expertise to buy the goods, or the means to detect fraud in the purchases.” While Russell did not get into details of where exactly this money went, it’s worth asking whether the UNCHR, which under Guterres was apparently in frequent violation of its own policies, might have ended up funding any of villains responsible for the floods of refugees (the havoc in Syria comes to mind).

Nor was this 2016 internal audit the only damning UN document. In 2012, Russell obtained a 2011 UN audit report critical of the UNHCR under Guterres, and published a story about that one under the headline: “United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees blasted for poor financial handling.” That UN document, reported Russell, cited the UNHCR “for sloppy bookkeeping, poor financial oversight, managerial disarray, and a lack of tools to judge how well it was doing its job of helping tens of millions of the world’s displaced people.”

Under the UN charter, the secretary-general serves as “chief administrative officer of the organization.” If that’s how Guterres managed — or mismanaged — a single UN agency while running it for more than a decade, is it likely he will do a better job as secretary-general?

For that matter, have any of the ambassadors now singing the praises of Guterres taken the time to glance at any of these UN audits? Did Ambassador Power before gushing about Guterres ever delve into the nitty-gritty of his “experience, vision and versatility”? Or is it only George Russell at Fox who takes the trouble to unearth and toil through the actual record?

As it is, following a formal vote in the Security Council on a resolution recommending Guterres for secretary-general, we can expect rubber-stamp approval perhaps as early as next week by the General Assembly. Guterres will take over at the beginning of 2017, when Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s second five-year term expires.

Then we get a longtime socialist with a record of managerial incompetence, heading a multi-billion dollar, diplomatically immune, opaque, globe-girdling organization funded with billions of other people’s money (America, which bankrolls roughly one-quarter of the UN system with your tax dollars, being the largest contributor). What could go wrong?

No Where to Go: Pakistani Christians Refused Asylum

October 6, 2016

No Where to Go: Pakistani Christians Refused Asylum, Clarion Project, Kaleem Dean, October 6, 2016

thailand-police-getty-640Police in Thailand (Photo: © Getty Images)

A Pakistani Christian pastor forced to flee to Thailand was denied asylum, leaving him with nowhere to turn.

After four years of struggling with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to prove his case was genuine, Baber Masih said of his plight and that of his wife and three children, “If we return to our country and get arrested due to blasphemy, we are afraid that everything that happens to people who get arrested under blasphemy laws would happen to us. The Muslim extremists of Pakistan could imprison us, kill or even burn us alive.”

Over the last number of months, the UNHRC turned away Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in Thailand. In the last two months alone, the files of more than 20 Christian families were closed, said Baber.

Once their files are closed, the UNHCR office informs the Thai Immigration about their status. Many are then arrested and put behind the bars in deplorable conditions, a fate of which Baber and his family are living in fear.

In addition, Baber reports the seeming arbitrariness of the judgments relating that another Christian was given refugee status whereas Baber’s plea was not considered to be true.

The UNHCR-Thailand uses the British Home Office guidelines to assess Pakistani Christian asylum seekers’ applications in Thailand. An article published by the Church Times notes, “The guidance currently reflects a tribunal ruling that Christians in Pakistan suffer discrimination, but this is not sufficient to amount to a real risk of persecution.”  It also states the Pakistani government is “willing and able to provide protection against such attacks, and internal relocation is a viable option.”

However, this assessment is contradicted by the British Foreign Office’s own guidelines, which state there is “not much protection of religious minorities from the government.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool presented his report expressing his deep concern over the treatment the UNHCR gives to Pakistani Christians. In his report, he stated, “The UK’s Home Office guidance on Pakistani Christians and Christian converts is being used to de-prioritize and de-legitimize Christian asylum-seekers’ applications — even if returning these individuals to Pakistan will leave them at a significant and real risk of attack, torture, or being killed.”

Baber further charges that the UNHRC has no parameters to investigate and gauge the depth of the seriousness of threats to Christian individuals and families in Pakistan.  Relating his story, Baber said, “On September 16, 2012, about 8 p.m., Muslim clerics/extremists attacked our home. They entered forcefully and started beating us with rods and clubs and abused us, calling us kafir(infidels) and churry (sweepers) and many other bad words.

“It seemed they wanted to burn us alive as they were shouting that they were going to do so.  We thank God that many people gathered quickly and rushed to our home because our women and children had locked themselves in a room and were crying and weeping very loudly as they heard us being beaten. Knowing the situation we decided to leave our homeland.

“We applied for asylum with UNHCR and received registrations in December of 2012. We were interviewed in the following year, and the year after our application was refused. We submitted an appeal to the UNHCR through the asylum access in 2014, but now after two years of struggle, the UNHCR has refused our case, closing our file permanently.”

The size of the minority population in Pakistan has decreased, from 25 percent in 1947 to a mere 3% today. The discriminatory laws against ethnic minorities have made their lives almost impossible. For example, since 1974, when Ahmadi Muslims were declared a “minority” in Pakistan, they have been relentlessly persecuted.

Their exodus from Pakistan continues unabated. Similarly, Hindus, Christians and Sikhas never miss an opportunity to flee from Pakistan.

Yet, the world seems to have closed its doors to Pakistani Christians, as Baber Masih and others like him have discovered. Even in America, the latest statistics show that of the 10,801 Syrian refugees accepted in fiscal 2016, only 56 are Christians, a mere 0.5 percent.

While the Islamic State commits genocide against Christians and other minorities, other countries, like Pakistan, wage an unremitting war of attrition against their minority populations. It is imperative that the world wakes up to this slow genocide from within.