Why set conditions before sharing refugee data, Home Minister asks UNHCR

Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin. - Filepic/The Star

BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Home Ministry welcomes the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) willingness to share details of its cardholders, but wants to know why it comes with a condition.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said that there should not be any condition set if the UNHCR is sincere in helping the government resolve refugee issues.

"It's good that they want to share. But if you set a condition, you are actually not sincere," he told reporters on Tuesday (June 15).

According to news reports, the UNHCR will share refugee details only on the assurance that the refugees will not be arrested.

"UNHCR has asked the government not to arrest and detain refugees and asylum seekers, including those with expired UNHCR documents," the UN body's public health official Dr Susheela Balasundram was quoted as saying.

Last week, Hamzah said his ministry had asked the UNHCR for data on its cardholders so that they could be included in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

However, the ministry has yet to receive the information.

The Home Ministry was told that there are currently 178,715 UNHCR cardholders in the country.

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