UNHCR welcomes task force to tackle fake cards


  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 Mar 2016

PETALING JAYA: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomed the government’s move to set up a joint task force to tackle the problem of fake UNHCR documents.

A UNHCR spokesperson in Kuala Lumpur said they shared the government’s concern over the prevalence of fake documents.

“UNHCR has long believed that the best way to manage the issue of criminality is for a shared registration system to be established, where UNHCR and the Government of Malaysia identify refugees in need of international protection, whilst at the same time, taking steps to reduce abuse and criminality that is endemic in the community of unregistered migrants,” the spokesperson told the Star Online.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Wednesday said that Malaysia and UNHCR have agreed to immediately set up a joint task force to tackle the problem of fake cards which were issued by syndicates.

He said among the immediate measures to be taken by the task force was asking all UNHCR card holders to re-register with the UN body.

The UNHCR spokesperson said that over the past two years, it had made huge investments in tightening procedures and ensuring integrity of its documentation, including introducing cards with biometric security features.

“This serves to strengthen the security of the cards and to ensure that verification of the cards can be done more efficiently by law enforcement agencies,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that these plans have been made in close consultation with the Malaysian authorities over the last two years and that the new cards with enhanced security features will be issued in the next few months.

"We share the Government’s concern over the prevalence of fake UNHCR documents that are being manufactured. We have a common interest and resolve with the Government of Malaysia to find ways to deal with this,” said the spokesperson.

As of the end of February 2016, there are some 158,510 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia with about 145,000 of them from Myanmar.

The others are from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine and Iran.
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