MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Govt did not discuss refugee tracking system, says UNHCR


A spokesman of the UN refugee agency said it had offered the use of its own refugee tracking system at no cost.

PETALING JAYA: The government did not say anything about the Tracking Refugees Information System (TRIS) during recent meetings with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a spokesperson for the organisation’s Kuala Lumpur branch said.

This was despite the fact that the UNHCR had provided recommendations to support its implementation back in 2017, and offered its help.

The spokesman was commenting on the announcement last week that the government had approved the adoption of the TRIS for all UNHCR cardholders in Malaysia, which mandated that all refugees “surrender their whereabouts”.

Home minister Hamzah Zainudin said the scheme had undergone trials for several years and had been given approval to be implemented on a large scale.

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The move was criticised by two refugee-based NGOs, Beyond Borders and the Alliance of Chin Refugees, as they claimed it was an invasive and dehumanising system subject to abuse.

The UNHCR spokesman said: “At the time (TRIS was initiated), UNHCR received official confirmation from the government that a third-party company had been appointed by the home ministry and that they would be asking refugees to register for the TRIS scheme, and pay a yearly sum to receive a government-issued card.”

The UNHCR had then recommended that an overarching framework be developed to guide the scheme’s implementation, including purpose of registration, stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, and protection of personal data.

It had also offered the use of its own system with established security features to the government for joint registration, screening and data-gathering purposes at no cost.

“However, the matter of the TRIS registration scheme was not raised with us in the many constructive meetings held in recent years with the government.” FMT

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