UN temporarily halts refugee program for Burmese, suspects fraud?

This story comes from a blog (Art of Patience Free Burma) and I didn’t find it on official websites so I cannot verify this report.   However, sources knowledgeable about these camps have told me privately that fraud is occurring and people not eligible to enter the US are doing so.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, in October temporarily suspended its resettlement program for asylum seekers in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border in order to carry out a thorough review.

The move is believed to be in response to reports that some Burmese seeking to migrate to Western countries were using the services of brokers to win recognition as refugees so they could take advantage of the program. The scheme also allegedly involved some camp authorities, members of nongovernmental organizations and UN staff.

According to sources, brokers enabled Burmese without refugee status to resettle overseas for a fee of between 50,000 and 100,000 baht (US $1,500-3,000).

We had previously reported that identity theft may also be happening with the Bhutanese refugees.

Such abuses have inevitably affected many legitimate asylum seekers. Sources say that some refugees who applied to join the resettlement program were rejected because their names were already on the list of applicants who had been resettled, apparently as a result of identity theft.

I previously speculated about whether the Burmese refugee charged with the rape and murder of the little Burmese Karen girl in Salt Lake City was a legitimate refugee.  No one is saying.