IF YOU ARE A HUMAN
This article is about Human beings, Democracy, UNHCR, Refugees, The Iraqis, Islam,
Kurds, Human rights, Respect, Money, Donations, Angelina Jolie, Pavarotti, Giorgio
Armani, Donors, Peace, History, Campaigns and about you if you care about these words.
I am Sam, an Iraqi refugee living in Lebanon at the moment; I have spent the last 9 years of
my life as a refugee registered with the UNHCR in Beirut. The last 3 years, I have spent as
an activist for human rights (especially refugees and asylum seekers) on the Internet; I'm also
a books author and ebooks publisher. I have launched many campaigns to improve our
situation as refugees in Lebanon and hopefully bring more understanding to our problems
worldwide. I helped make many changes and improvements at the UNHCR office in Beirut;
I used the Internet as the field for my activities (you can read more about that in my free
ebook 'MY CAMPAIGNS' http://www.unhcr.co.uk/free_ebooks.htm)
My latest campaign is to stop the UNHCR from conducting illegal and humiliating actions,
by using photos of refugees as banners and human buttons to collect money. This is an
abuse of the dignity and humanity of the refugees and must stop immediately and a clear
public apology present by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. My friends,
I am talking about the pictures you can see here:
As I'm a refugee and an activist for human rights, I feel that the problems of refugees are not
being solved by the UNHCR in fact their policies are worsening them. I have been saying
this since the first day I started my activities and I said then that "If we want to improve the
situation of the refugees in the world we must start with changing the policies of the
UNHCR," I even wrote this in my books.
The people of the UNHCR have used these pictures as banners and buttons to collect
money from donors. As a human being and a refugee, I felt these pictures represent a bad
and offensive example of the disrespect for our humanity as refugees and asylum seekers. It
does nothing to represent the meaning and the principles that were mentioned in the UN51
convention. It fills me with pain and sorrow to see this disrespect to our dignity and humanity
and also how they are deceiving the community with these pictures.
Unfortunately, the people who work at the UNHCR are working hard to present to you a
portrait of a refugee as a poor human being who's problem will end when you donate a few
$$$. Please look at their website (just google for the unhcr) and look at the pictures there.
Everywhere on the site you'll just see pictures about poor people!
They have worked hard to establish a deep-rooted connection between poverty and
refugees. Everywhere in the world now if you ask anyone what the word 'refugee' means the
answer will be "a poor person who has lost his home" does any one of you know another
meaning for the word?
They have showed you just one thing: poor people as refugees and they made it clear that
by paying some money to them, the problem will be solved; all it needs is financial
resources! When you look directly at their websites, the pictures of poor people will grab
your attention straight away! For UNHCR, the problem is the money only! We're all as
humans need money, but not only the money! There are many things in the life not only the
money, for example things like what you could read in my free ebook 'REFUGEES FARM'
When I started to post in Yahoo groups mentioning I'm a refugee, many people didn't
believe me, and they asked, "how it was possible for me to have access to the Internet?" I
was astonished at the beginning but afterwards I understood the reality of what they were
saying and started to post messages telling the truth and because of this the UNHCR
declared war on me. So then I started to call myself "The Truth Warrior" because I am
struggling to tell you the truth.
The people of the UNHCR emphasized the connection between the refugees and poverty
and drew a foggy picture of refugees, creating a strong impression about their poverty, more
than the fact they were stateless refugees. They also put forward the idea it was the poverty
creating the reality of them being refugees in the first place. Now it is an accepted idea in the
world community that a refugee is just a poor person looking for a better life, well this is just
not true! The majority of the world doesn't even realize that it is even possible for a
millionaire to have to flee his home and be a refugee.
Article 1 of the Convention defines a refugee as "A person who is outside his/her country of
nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her
race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is
unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there,
for fear of persecution."
There is no mention made of the financial situation of the refugee or the degree of poverty he
is experiencing, in plain simple words 'poverty does not make someone a refugee'. As I said
before "the link between poverty and being a refugee is another thing entirely". Most of the
time the situation of the refugees is bad because they have no security, no opportunities to
get work and this then does create poverty! Its clear that giving money will not solve the
problem, what's needed is real understanding of the problems that refugees are facing and
they need global co-operation to solve this. This inspired me to adopt as my motto:
Justice brings peace, freedom brings democracy
Understanding is the way.
Let me share with you some figures published by the UNHCR itself.
Updated : 12 May 2004
Private donors Italy 3,068,858
Pavarotti & Friends 2,336,932
Giorgio Armani, Italy 356,295
Total Private donors Italy 5,762,085
Espana con ACNUR *** 155,204
Private donors Spain 1,254
(Contributions of US$ 4,330,908 from Autonomous Communities
to Espaٌa con ACNUR are recorded under Government Contributions)
Total Private donors Spain 156,458
Dutch Postcode Lottery (NPL), Netherlands 1,076,426
Stichting Vluchteling 800,921
Breesaap B.V., Netherlands 300,000
Private donors Netherlands 2,444
Total Private donors Netherlands 2,179,791
Japan Association for UNHCR 1,550,162
Private donors Japan 271,605
Shin-Nyo-En Foundation 109,244
Total Private donors Japan 1,931,011
Deutsche Stiftung fur UNO-Fluchtlingshilfe E.V. 1,296,044
Private donors Germany 2,390
Total Private donors Germany 1,298,434
United States of America
USA for UNHCR 412,758
World Conference on Religion and Peace, USA 300,000
UNF/UNFIP (Ted Turner ) 177,737
Private donors United States of America 35,658
Total Private donors United States of America 926,153
Association Francaise de soutien a l'UNHCR. 661,144
Private donors France 143
Total Private donors France 661,287
Kuwait Red Crescent Society 441,705
Private donors Kuwait 29,995
Total Private donors Kuwait 471,700
Australia for UNHCR 437,607
Total Private donors Australia 437,607
Florindon Foundation, Switzerland 234,742
Private donors Switzerland 146,391
Total Private donors Switzerland 381,133
Oman Charitable Organization , Oman 366,902
Total Private donors Oman 366,902
United Kingdom for UNHCR 303,519
Private donors United Kingdom 818
Total Private donors United Kingdom 304,337
Total Private donors Norway 275,458
Private donors Greece 232,915
Total Private donors Greece 232,915
Private donors Canada 207,535
Total Private donors Canada 207,535
Other Private donors 148,296
Total Contributions from private donors 15,741,102
NB: Only donor contributions more than USD 100,000 are individually identified in
*** The total contributions raised from the Private Sector including US$ 4,330,908
from Spanish Autonomous
Communities (shown under Government of Spain & Other Administrations) amount
to US$ 20,072,010.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO 2003 UNHCR PROGRAMMES
in United States Dollars
Breakdown of Non-Governmental Organizations, Foundations and Private donors
situation as at 31 December 2003
Now let's analyze the figures, its not clear if private donations are 15 or 20 million dollars a
year, (nothing to do with governments) Anyway if we consider the total numbers of asylum
seekers and refugees and others of concern to the UNHCR which was 20,556,781 people
published on their table on the 1st of August 2003. Now we need to divide that amount on
the number of refugees 20,556,781/20,556,781 guess what? It's equals $0.97! I used the
biggest number in the donations table.
So then each refugee will have a grand sum of $0.97 every year from these donations!!! Yes
my friend, they humiliated us for less than $0.97 a year. Now let me think what I can do
with this amount of money in one-year m'mmmm, maybe I can buy 2 bars of Lebanese
candy! I registered with UNHCR more than 8 years ago now and until this day I have not
received one cent from them! So according to that table they owe me $7.80, a fortune!!! I
declare now that I don't want this money ($7.80) I just want them to remove these
humiliating pictures and make a public apology.
The big question is: Does all this money come from these human-buttons asking for
donations on the UNHCR'S site? Does Pavarotti or Giorgio Armani need these human
buttons to make donations? If they need these buttons and it's a good way for collecting
money for the UNHCR why don't they use their own pictures this way to bring more money
in for the UNHCR. Also about Angelina Jolie, she is a goodwill Ambassador for the
UNHCR and she has worked hard to collect money for the UNHCR, she is pretty and
attractive and her picture would make an excellent human button. They could write on the
Angelina Jolie button "make a donation and be like Angelina" or Send a donation to receive
thanks from Angelina" do you think that would offend her or the others we spoke about?
Why would it do you think??? Her pictures are everywhere so let them use these as a
human button to collect money if they feel it is inoffensive and not dishonorable to her.
The last thing about these numbers is the percentage of the amount that different
governments contribution to the UNHCR. I read in one table the total is $928,865,984. So
what will happen if the UNHCR loses the 20 million that comes from private donors, if they
remove the human-buttons of refugees? OK, they will have $908 million, but they would be
giving respect to the refugees of the world, do you think they care?
$0.97 a year makes no difference to a human being but if we divide the same amount
between the number of people working for the UNHCR, I believe they have about 5000
employees� so 20,072,010/5000=$4014.40 more than $4000 a year don't you think that
makes a difference?
I have finished now about the numbers, let us continue about the pictures, and the idea of
using the Angelina Jolie, maybe you will say that her picture is already being used on the site
of the UNHCR and you would be right! But there are a few differences between her picture
and the pictures of the refugees. Angelina's picture isn't used to collect money; it's used to
show how much she cares about people and her help for the UNHCR. When you click on
her picture, you read about Angelina, but when you click on the human-button of the
refugees you find a form to donate money.
The important difference being this, Angelina's picture gives you her name, dates and
history. The human-buttons, say nothing about the people on them, no names, no dates,
nothing! This pushed me to find out more about these human-buttons. I found out the truth
about the picture on the Iraqi banner in the page about Iraq, and the button on this page to
donate money. I wrote about it in my book "THE TRUTH WARRIOR" I could tell you
quickly about it now, for more details please look in the book.
This is a picture of a Kurdish family, and it was taken in 1991! So that was 13 years ago!!!
The funny thing is that they used it to illustrate and draw attention to an event that happened
last year, writing on it "IRAQ EMERGENCY" strange to speak about an emergency and
use a 13 year old picture don't you think?
Do you know why they used that picture? Because it was easy� they had it already, no
new refugee crisis happened during the last war with the USA on Iraq in 2003! Guess what?
This picture shows a Kurdish family fleeing by crossing the border near Suleymaniye in the
north of Iraq! The problem now, of course is the returning of refugees who left during
Saddam's rule. The age of the picture and the fact it was taken for a different reason, it's
deceptive and dishonest act.
I would have thought that a big organization like the UNHCR would be able to get a more
modern picture of what is happening. They receive information daily and I am sure they
don't need to resort to 13-year-old pictures; this information is from the last century!!!
Maybe now there are not any pictures of Iraqi refugees to encourage donors to click the
human-button! What a pity for the people of the UNHCR and for the refugees, especially
the Iraqis. I wonder, how old the other pictures?
Do you feel that the picture shows the real situation of Iraqi refugees now? Are the Iraqis
still fleeing and seeking refuge outside Iraq? The truth is always painful. The UNHCR has
stopped receiving new applications form Iraqis seeking help, and when an Iraqi goes to the
UNHCR in Beirut to ask for assistance they are told that the only help they can get is
repatriation to Iraq. At the moment Iraqi refugees are scattered around the world, Many
countries are offering to help return Iraqis home. These countries governments mostly
finance these plans. For example in England the government has offered $1000 plus the cost
of their flight home to each refugee.
In Lebanon, we are not sure about the amount of financial support for those wishing to
return home, but someone who had gone home that it was about $40 informed me, the
source of the money was also unclear. Some people are saying that this money is from
unknown Iraqi parties and some say the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut. I am currently looking for
more information on this matter.
Anyway I don't feel the $40 dollars given to refugees in Lebanon is worth anything.
Especially when viewed against the $1000 given by most European countries. The question
is this: If there is no refugee crisis in Iraq and the financial support is being paid for by the
governments where these people are, why is the UNHCR still asking for money using
pictures of Iraqi refugees?
One more important question about that picture, do you think that the people who work for
the UNHCR know anything about this woman or her family? Are they registered refugees?
What is her name and where are they all now? Do you think she agreed to have her picture
put on the web and used as a human-button?
I would love to know the answers to these questions, but unfortunately I can't ask the
people at the UNHCR even though I tried many times over the years. They never answer
any questions! Instead they have tried to hurt me and even tried to get my ISP to cut my
connection! I hope one day you get the chance to ask them, and that maybe they will
answer you. They didn't answer any of my friends who sent them messages. So please if
you like, let us play their game and be a little cheeky. I hope that one of you can contact
them and tell them you want to donate money to help the family they showed in the picture.
Not telling them of course that you know the picture is old. Just tell them you want to
sponsor that family. Notice that they wrote on it 'Emergency' so it's good to help them out!
I'll wait with baited breath to hear their answers.
What do you think the answer will be? What do you think she would feel like if she saw her
picture used like that, and what if her family sees her like this or someone in her village? She
is a Moslem and to expose herself like this is a sin in Islam. Did you notice she uses two
pieces of cloth to cover her head (I had another picture of her on my site)?
Just a little comment here about the "Burq'a" veil, it is used in Islamic countries to cover all
the face and the head. In some Arabic countries like Saudi Arabia, there was a problem
over women's driving licenses; they were concerned that policemen may need to see their
picture that is how sensitive this matter is to Moslems. Can you imagine their fear that one
day a man will see their picture without the protection of their "Burq-a"!!! So what do you
think now about the UNHCR using pictures of Moslem women on the net as a banner and
as a human-button to collect money where millions of men could see her!!! That is a very big
sin in Islam.
As I'm a Moslem and I am sure the UNHCR haven't asked the woman's permission to
display her picture publicly like they are doing now, I am asking them to respect the Islamic
religion and apologize to the woman and remove her picture immediately. Also I am asking
each Moslem person reading this article to express their concern about this sin, which is
being committed by the UNHCR for the sake of this woman and her family. Every Moslem
knows what sin is, and it is also a sin to be silent when you see a wrong being committed. I
am asking each Moslem to contact the UNHCR and express your opinion as we are guided
to do by Islam. 2
There is a legal point of view for this subject:
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established by the U.N. General
Assembly in 1950. According to the UN51 convention and the Statute of the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (G.A. res. 428 (V), annex, 5 U.N. GAOR
Supp. (No. 20) at 46, U.N. Doc. A/1775 (1950)).
"CHAPTER II. - FUNCTIONS OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER
10. The High Commissioner shall administer any funds, public or private, which he receives
for assistance to refugees, and shall distribute them among the private and, as appropriate,
public agencies which he deems best qualified to administer such assistance.
The High Commissioner may reject any offers which he does not consider appropriate or
which cannot be utilized.
The High Commissioner shall not appeal to governments for funds or make a general
appeal, without the prior approval of the General Assembly.
The High Commissioner shall include in his annual report a statement of his activities in this
As you can see the UNHCR must have permission from the General assembly for any
general appeal for money. The question is: Did the General Assembly agree to use these
pictures to appeal for funds?
I would sincerely love to receive an answer, I am a refugee and I feel it is an abuse of our
humanity as refugees in this world. Its not just abuse of our humanity but for the humanity of
We appeal to you to support this campaign to remove these abuses and to provide more
respect for all refugees worldwide. Our situation in the world worsens day after day without
any new polices to help or improve our situation. The UNHCR uses us as human-buttons
and baits to collect money! Our problem is not only because of poverty it's because the
general abuse of the meaning and the principles of UN51 convention because of these
money collectors in UNHCR and other organizations.
This abuse must stop immediately. If UNHCR needs money so badly, there must be other
respectable and honorable ways to make general and public appeals for money. For
example using buttons like paypal provides for donation without any humiliating pictures of
humans at all.
I'm not saying that the people of UNHCR are all bad, they're just part of a system and they
have their procedures and regulations. I just wanted to explain some of our feelings as
refugees. To offer my understanding of the relationship between the refugees and the
UNHCR. I'm an eyewitness to that relationship, trying hard to improve the relationship using
my campaigns, my books and my unanswered questions.
I feel sad because the UNHCR has failed in the past 3 years to answer my questions. Until
this day they failed to answer even one question! I'm not asking for the impossible. I just
want some answers, as I'm a refugee, as I'm a human and as I'm an activist for human rights.
All that gives me the right to ask and to have my questions answered.
I invite you as fellow humans and members of the world community to support my mission
by asking the UNHCR to remove these abuses and to provide some reasonable answers for
the questions that you have read in this article.
This invitation is a very important as part of the collective efforts to enhance human rights,
respect and global peace. The UNHCR represent an important constituent of our
community, as humans and any failure in its performance will weaken the harmony and
peace of the world.
We're living in a time where wars are declared to liberate people from despotism and further
democracy and human rights. Blood is being shed now to try and improve democracy,
human rights and respect. Do we need wars and to shed blood every time we face disregard
for human rights and democracy?! Isn't there any peaceful way?
I have heard many people claim that they're working to help the refugees and human rights
activists and some of them are collecting money also. I'm asking these people: What are you
doing to help refugees and enhance human rights and respect? I'd like to know, and if you
have nothing to do now, you can start work and help refugees by working to remove these
abuses and humiliations for all humans. Contact the UNHCR and ask them about these
pictures and tell them that these pictures are an abuse of refugees' dignity and humanity,
when you can do this then we can see that you really care about refugees.
I don't have any money to pay you but if you would like to help us in our struggle and you
respect our humanity as refugees in the world, then we would be very thankful for this help.
I'm an E-book publisher and I will be publishing many more E-books in the future. I would
like to have answers to the questions in this article and since the people at the UNHCR
refused to answer my questions, I declare now that I'll give free access to all of the E-books
I will write in my lifetime to the first person who will find the answers to my many questions
concerning the UNHCR. He/she will be a hero of all refugees and I'll write about them what
they would like. I can't give them a medal now, but we will give them our love and our
thanks as refugees.
Please, if you think this issue is important and needs acts, you can send messages to the
UNHCR and your government to speak your opinions according to your rights and
democracy. Here are some emails: ecu@...
Notice that you can find more emails here: http://www.umacr.org/emails.htm
or you can
brows for more on the net or to find more ways for contact them like phones or faxes.
Together we will build better world.
You could reach me fast via this form: http://www.unhcr.us/email_me.htm
THE TRUTH WARRIOR