World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Asylum Debate Ignores Problems Faced By Refugees


Asylum Debate Ignores Real Problems Faced By Refugees, Says UN Official

The United Nations refugee agency's top protection official said today she is alarmed that in many countries the debate on asylum is distorted by false concerns and ignores the genuine suffering still faced by refugees.

Erika Feller, Director of the International Protection Department at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told the annual meeting of the agency's governing board, taking place this week in Geneva, that politicizing the asylum debate does not solve the migration concerns of States.

Ms. Feller called for greater cooperation between countries so they can share their refugee responsibilities and better manage the movement of people.

Her warning comes as the number of people seeking asylum has fallen sharply since 2001, driven partly by the conclusions of several long-running conflicts, such as in Afghanistan and Angola. At the start of this year there were only 17.1 million people who came under the concern of UNHCR, down by almost 22 per cent from 21.8 million in January 2001.

Despite this drop in numbers, refugees and asylum-seekers are facing an increasingly hostile environment in many countries today, Ms. Feller said.

"It is currently in vogue to talk of a new refugee and asylum reality…[but] the problems of the refugee are perennial. Confronting intolerance and fear, being a foreigner in someone else's land, searching for a safe haven and waiting for solutions: these are recurring features of the refugee experience."

Ms. Feller said she was particularly worried that understandable migration concerns about preventing terrorism and fighting trans-national crime were being blurred with the issues of asylum-seekers and refugees.

"Equating asylum with a safe haven for terrorists is not only legally wrong and unsupported by the facts, but it serves to vilify refugees in the public mind and promotes the singling out of persons of particular races or religions for discrimination and hate-based harassment."

She stressed how important it is for nations to uphold their responsibilities under the 1951 Refugee Convention and not to seek to narrow their commitments.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news