The UNHCR mission in Sana’a, since it opened its office, has been arrogant in the way it treats refugees. It is still acting in a proud manner towards refugees. It is notorious for corruption and trades on the plight of refugees. A decade ago I worked as a social consultant for the UNHCR in Sana’a. I did not love the practices of this office, famous for its many staff changes, because of corruption. It has been proven that most of its staff have been involved in cases of bribery, which prompted me to retire from that sick office.
As a social consultant I followed up on the issue of one of the Iraqi refugees in Yemen at this office and, despite the importance of the issue of the refugee in question and the established justice of his cause, the UNHCR crew in Sana’a spared no effort to help the refugee.
Its staff said that some of his documents were stolen. They also threatened to blackmail him.
What is even more surprising and alarming at the same time is the pride that the staff have. They were shameless when they requested a bribe from the refugee, in my presence. This went against his rights.
Corruption is this era’s disease for governments and various bodies are immersed in corruption. This is known far and wide.
Mechanisms of corruption existing at the UNHCR office in Sana’a are beyond imagination, especially when it comes to the interpretation of regulations and principles of refugee protection. Refugees are also made to seem inferior in the face of the UNHCR staff’s ugly pride. Their disdain, contempt and humiliation of refugees causes nausea. And that’s not not to mention the non-humanitarian methods that the UNHCR office in Sana’a has in dealing with refugees.
This office chucks all the humanity and moral laws away and depends on methods of obscure and crooked deals.
This might lead some refugees to adopting harsh tactics in dealing with the office staff, especially since the bulk of the staff at the office are incompetent in dealing with refugee issues, either because they are too young, lack experience or are ill-qualified.
A standard employment criteria is English language proficiency, regardless of political and cultural maturity required to deal with refugees. That is not the case with all the staff.
Another example of inappropriate staffing is that a young woman who is 20 years old is employed as a protection officer. What sort of protection can she provide to refugees when whe would also need to be protected when perhaps on her way home when her shift ends late at night.
The protection of refugees is not a grant or a gift from an UNHCR employee. Refugees who feel dissatisfied will forcefully seek protection, knowing that the presence of the employee and his salary is for the service of the refugee and not vice versa.
All these violations against refugees at the UNHCR’s office in Sana’a has cast doubt upon the seriousness of its commitment to help refugees.