Search

 

Cablegate: Ambassador Wayne's Meeting with Unhcr Regional

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1972/01 2761351
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031351Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9405
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 6614
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 6489
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ OCT 4956
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 6817
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 0821
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0673

C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 001972

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PRM FOR KATHRYN PONGONIS
WHA/AND FOR SHELBY SMITH-WILSON
GENEVA FOR KATHERINE PERKINS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2017
TAGS: PREF AR BR CI UY BL PE
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR WAYNE'S MEETING WITH UNHCR REGIONAL
REPRESENTATIVE

REF: 9/12-14/07 GOMEZ-PONGONIS E-MAILS

Classified By: AMBASSADOR E. ANTHONY WAYNE FOR REASONS
1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (C) Summary. Cristian Koch-Castro, UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representative for Southern
Latin America, called on the Ambassador to discuss UNHCR's
activities in Argentina and the region. Koch-Castro
explained that UNHCR has made it a priority to strengthen the
capacity of "emerging resettlement countries" like Argentina
and others in the region to accept refugees. He said
Colombians now represent the single largest group of refugees
granted asylum in Argentina, and that a small, but growing
number of Africans from Sierra Leone, Senegal and Eritrea is
beginning to request refugee status.

2. (C) Summary Continued: Koch-Castro noted that the
Bolivian government has expressed a willingness to resettle
refugees, and that UNHCR has submitted a proposal to the
Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
(PRM) for a technical assistance program that would develop
GOB institutional capacity to resettle refugees. The
Ambassador offered to look into the status of the proposal,
and poloff queried the Department via e-mail (ref A) to
determine the proposal's status. Per ref A's instructions,
Poloff informed Koch-Castro on September 28 that PRM funds
for FY08 have already been allocated, but encouraged UNHCR to
resubmit the proposal through formal channels for
consideration in FY09. Koch-Castro expressed appreciation
for the information and said that he would pass this
information on to UNHCR headquarters. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
UNHCR: Cultivating Emerging Resettlement Countries
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (C) On September 12, Ambassador Wayne met with UNHCR
Regional Representative for Southern Latin America Cristian
Koch-Castro to discuss UNHCR's activities in Argentina and
the region. Koch-Castro began by thanking the USG for its
financial support of UNHCR programs. He noted that
traditional refugee resettlement countries like the United
States, while generously accepting tens of thousands of
refugees each year, can not take in all of the world's
refugees. As a result, UNHCR has made it a priority to
cultivate "emerging resettlement countries", like Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Since the
1990s, Argentina, Brazil and Chile have increased their
efforts to resettle refugees, Koch-Castro explained, adding
that he hopes that Argentina will accept 200 refugees for
resettlement by the end of 2007. The Ambassador noted recent
press articles announcing Brazil's and Chile's decision to
each accept 100 Palestinian refugees. Koch-Castro said that
the decision is a welcome development which will push the
number of refugees accepted by Brazil and Chile to 300 by
year's end.

--------------------------------------------- -----------
Colombian refugees are the largest group in Argentina...
--------------------------------------------- -----------

4. (C) The Ambassador asked which nationality represented
the largest group of refugees in Argentina. Koch-Castro said
Colombians now represent the single largest group of refugees
granted asylum in Argentina due to a four-decades-long
internal armed conflict in Colombia. He noted that in the
early 2000s, Peruvians and Bolivians represented the largest
groups of people requesting asylum in Argentina, but that
there has been a steep drop-off in the number of applications
from these countries now that Argentina has implemented its
national plan to regularize the status of undocumented
immigrants. As a result, Peruvians and Bolivians are now
able to receive temporary residence in the country by virtue
of their nationality, he explained.

--------------------------------------------- ---
...but the number of African refugees is growing
--------------------------------------------- ---

5. (C) Africans are requesting refugee status in Argentina
in small but growing numbers. The asylum seekers are from
Sierra Leone, Senegal and Eritrea, Koch-Castro continued.
While some have legitimate claims to political asylum, others
are more likely to have been smuggled into the country.
Koch-Castro recounted that he recently received news from his
ex-chauffeur in Eritrea alerting him to the detention of the
chauffeur's daughter and husband in an Argentine prison close
to the Bolivian border. Koch-Castro traveled to the prison
and successfully secured their release after interviewing the
Eritreans. The couple managed to escape Eritrea and entered
Argentina via Khartoum, Cuba, and Bolivia, using a fake South
African passport. UNHCR is currently in the process of
developing an assistance program for African refugee
applicants; however, given Argentina's largely homogenous
population of European descendents, insertion and adaptation
to this new environment will likely prove difficult, he
indicated.

--------------------------------------------- ------
UNHCR Building Regional Capacity to Accept Refugees
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. (C) UNHCR has also been actively working with the
National Refugee Committees in the region to help build the
institutional capacity necessary to process asylum requests
efficiently, Koch-Castro stated. UNHCR worked very closely
with the GOA to pass legislation in November 2006 which made
it easier for federal authorities to grant asylum or refugee
status and for national, provincial, and municipal
authorities to begin including refugees in their assistance
programs. As a result of these efforts, UNHCR recently
designated the Argentine cities Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and
Rosario as "refugee-friendly", Koch-Castro stated.

---------------------------------------------
UNHCR Requests Status of Proposal Sent to PRM
---------------------------------------------

7. (C) When asked about other activities in the region,
Koch-Castro said UNHCR is also working closely with the
governments of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia to develop
their institutional capacity to accept refugees. Uruguay and
Paraguay have committed to accepting a small number of
refugees this year, he indicated, and the Bolivian government
has demonstrated a willingness to resettle refugees. To
capitalize on the GOB's interest, Koch-Castro relayed that
UNHCR had submitted a proposal via the U.S. Mission in Geneva
to the Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and
Migration (PRM) requesting funding for a technical assistance
program focused on developing GOB institutional capacity to
resettle refugees. When asked whether the Embassy could
query the Department to determine the proposal's status, the
Ambassador agreed to look into the matter.

--------------------------------------------- -----------
Post Informs UNHCR that FY08 Funds are already allocated and
Encourages FY09 Application
--------------------------------------------- -----------

8. (C) Post relayed Koch-Castro's request to the Department
(ref A). Per ref instructions, Poloff informed Koch-Castro
on September 28 that the U.S. Mission in Geneva received the
proposal informally, but never formally through UNHCR's Donor
Relations Office in Geneva. She also informed Koch-Castro
that PRM funds for FY08 have already been allocated, but
encouraged UNHCR to resubmit the proposal through formal
channels for consideration in FY09. Koch-Castro expressed
appreciation for the information and stated that he would
pass this information on to UNHCR headquarters.

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Agency: Thousands Flee Fresh Clashes In Central African Republic

Recent fighting between government forces and rebels in northern Central African Republic (CAR) has forced more than 2,000 refugees into neighboring Chad over the past week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday. According to the agency, ... More>>

UN Chief: World On The Verge Of Climate ‘Abyss’, As Temperature Rise Continues

The Earth’s temperature continues to rise unabated, with 2020 being one of the three warmest years on record, as extreme weather events combine with the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting millions. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s ... More>>

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

C40: UN Secretary-General's Remarks To Meeting With Leading Mayors Supported By Cities

UN Secretary-General's remarks to Meeting with Leading Mayors Supported by C40 Cities: “Advancing a Carbon-Neutral, Resilient Recovery for Cities and Nations” 16 April 2021 Thank you for joining me today, and for your commitment and leadership. Cities ... More>>

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>