Refugees Are Scum

“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”  

— Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 (Source)


5 thoughts on “Refugees Are Scum

  1. Patrick. After 19 years with UNHCR, I know it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, for any normal person to get ‘facts’ on refugee issues. For four years I was in charge of the UN ‘Rescue at Sea’ programme and the closely associated ODP (Orderly Departure Programme) which operated from Vietnam. I knew most people leaving (Vietnam or Laos, later Cambodia) were NOT refugees in the sense of having a WELL FOUNDED fear of persecution. I also knew most were ground down by poverty. Day after day, year after year, with no real hope that things would get better. I also knew, because I ran them, that both assistance/protection programmes were almost entirely US financed. Yes, that’s good. But I also knew the poverty in the countries of origin was there because of US policies and those of US allies in the region. This is simply to say that things were extremely complex. Today we have ‘Rohinga’ refugees on CNN. I spent 3 months interviewing these refugees, or their parents, some 30 years ago, when they were in Bangladesh. I made a confidential report that I am still not free to divulge. I can say however that these people were Bengali-speaking people of Bangladesh origin living in Rakhine State (thus the name ‘Rakhinga’) of Burma and that they were very fundamental Muslims. There is no ‘Rohinga’ ethnicity that is any different to that of the ethnicity in the Cox’s Bazaar region of Bangladesh. To invent ethnic groups and sensationalise ‘ethnic’ persecution serves nobody. This does not mean the displaced are not refugees, but does mean they do not automatically qualify for refugee status. This particular problem could have been settled 30 years ago, had the will been there. Many other problems are of a similar nature: temporary assistance programmes ARE needed, but they do not SOLVE the problem, they simply delay resolution. In Indochina resolution was delayed for decades. The delay served political rather than humanitarian policies. I find it admirable that Indonesia allows disembarkation on condition the displaced are repatriated (or leave) within one year. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure nothing will be done within that year to resolve the problem at its origin.

    • Hi Robert, thanks for your insights. I admit to not knowing much about the Rohingya and their history, only that they seem to be suffering and are looking to escape from it. The video clip was from an Australian organization, and I think it was addressing that country’s recent shift away from helping not only the Rohingya, but virtually anyone coming to Australia by boat (which is rather ironic, given Australia’s history). I agree with you that these problems are always complex, and temporary assistance doesn’t solve the larger problems inducing people to leave. I would like to see those problems resolved too, but we don’t seem to be very good at doing that, and tribalism rears its head over and over throughout history.

  2. Pingback: Sunisa Lee, the Hmong, & the Dignity of Refugees – Patrick F. Clarkin, Ph.D.

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