UN Refugee Agency Cannot be Trusted

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is where would-be asylum seekers are first registered and vetted for possible referral to a destination host country for resettlement. UNHCR is the prime international advocate for self-identified “refugees” seeking asylum. While the agency gives lip service to security concerns and the need to weed out terrorists, it operates on the premise that such asylum seekers, wherever they come from including the Middle East, should be given the benefit of the doubt.

In 2015, the United States contributed $1.35 billion to UNHCR, and is on its way to exceeding that contribution this year. What we get in return is an organization that cannot be trusted to carry out its duties in a balanced and effective manner. Instead we get moralistic lectures, which President Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau, Chancellor Merkel and other politically correct government leaders are only too happy to echo.

According to a report UNHCR issued last December, entitled Addressing Security Concerns without Undermining Refugee Protection, “Fears that asylum-seekers and refugees would pose a threat to the host country have been fuelled by xenophobic rhetoric aimed at shoring up support for restrictive policies in the area of asylum.” The report condemned “measures seeking to restrict the movement of refugees and migrants” and instead called for “an integrated response that focuses on addressing asylum and migration flows, thereby enabling States to identify those entering their territory and respond to protection as well as security concerns in line with their obligations under international law.”

Western Europe – in particular France, Belgium, Sweden and Germany – have welcomed more than a million asylum seekers since the beginning of 2015, many of them from the Middle East. The response has been a sharp uptick in jihadi terrorist attacks, some directed or inspired by ISIS. We now learn from an investigative report in the New York Times that there exists today a highly sophisticated “global network of killers, built by a secretive branch of ISIS.” This “multilevel secret service” is “under the overall command of the Islamic State’s most senior Syrian operative, Spokesman and propaganda chief, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani,” the New York Times reported. Moreover, there is a “secret service for European affairs.” A senior United States intelligence official and a senior American defense official have told the New York Times that ISIS has sent “hundreds of operatives” back to the European Union. ISIS has publicly declared its intention to insert its fighters in the refugee flow to Europe, and attacks have already been carried out in Europe by asylum seekers whom have pledged their allegiance to ISIS.

UNHCR seems to think that improved screening measures can be devised to exclude terrorists, “in conformity with the principles of necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination, and subject to judicial control.” It rejects profiling based on such factors as religion, nationality, ethnicity, or race. In doing so, it is helping the jihadists get away with their plan to insert their Islamic terrorists in the refugee flow. And it is not helping enough Christians who are the victims of genocide committed by jihadists in the Middle East, including Syria, precisely because they are Christians.

The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines the crime of genocide in profiling terms as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” The jihadists have profiled their victims based on religion. Christians and other non-Muslims are being slaughtered, raped, enslaved and forced from their homes because of their religion. What’s more, UNHCR’s referral process ends up being biased in favor of Muslims. Christians and other non-Muslims fear entering the camps where UNHCR registers “refugees” because those camps themselves are not secure against jihadist attacks. In other words, UNHCR is not even taking sufficient protective measures to identify and bar jihadists from the “refugee” camps, and it is not doing enough to reach out to Christians and other religious minorities in places where they feel relatively safe. UNHCR’s failures in this regard end up producing reverse profiling that discriminates against Christians and other religious minorities seeking protection from Muslim jihadists operating freely in Muslim majority countries

Indeed, UNHCR is not even able or willing to vet and continue to monitor the sources of donations it takes from non-governmental and other private entities. One of its donors is the Saudi-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), which contributed $99,973 to UNHCR so far during budget year 2016 and has engaged in a number of projects with UNHCR. A cable released by WikiLeaks, and available on the Internet, stated that intelligence has pointed to WAMY as a possible source of funding for “extremism overseas.” The 28 classified pages of the “Congressional Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001” (“Report”), which have been de-classified and released, also contain a reference to WAMY. The Report stated that the FBI believes WAMY is ‘closely associated with funding and financing of international terrorist activities.”

As the Obama administration continues to accelerate the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States, which Hillary Clinton would increase by 500 percent if she is elected president, Congress should give serious consideration to mandating a different registration system that reduces, if not eliminates, UNHCR’s role in the intake process. And far more accountability is required from UNHCR to merit anywhere near the enormous contributions to UNHCR’s budget that the U.S. is currently making.

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