‘Most work in difficult conditions and are citizens of unsettled countries where corruption is at times deemed an acceptable…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Corruption in United Nations refugee programs reportedly resulted in thousands of migrant resettlements into Western countries, based solely on who could pay the highest bid, according to NBC News.
A seven-month investigation into refugee processing centers in five countries—Kenya, Uganda, Yemen, Ethiopia and Libya—found widespread reports of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees staffers accepting bribes from refugees in order to be referred for resettlement in countries like the U.S.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. resettled 2,756 refugees from the processing centers in those five nations in the fiscal year 2019.
And in four of the five countries, the U.S. is the top funder of UNHCR activities.
Resettlement is the “transfer of refugees from the country in which they have sought asylum to another state that has agreed to admit them as refugees and to grant them permanent settlement and the opportunity for eventual citizenship,” according to the UNHCR.
After interviewing refugees, current and former UNHCR employees, aid workers and two former U.N. investigators, NBC reported that bribery and corruption run rampant in the resettlement process.
“UNHCR staffers and officials from organizations that work with them demand bribes for everything from medical referrals to food rations to contacting police, and it can cost $5,000 in bribes to resettle a family,” the report states.
Because the UNHCR is staffed largely by local residents in the various countries, this kind of corruption isn’t surprising, CIS said.
“The United States is entrusting the local staff of UNHCR with the selection of refugees eligible for resettlement in the United States, and entrusting the RSC staff with pre-screening and preparation of case files for resettlement applicants,” CIS said in its report.
“We don’t know much about these men and women the U.S. government believes possess the exceptional good judgment, expertise, and integrity needed to make refugee determinations and resettlement referrals,” it continued. “But we do know that most work in difficult conditions and are citizens of unsettled countries where corruption is at times deemed an acceptable, even necessary, means of survival.”