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  • unhcr65@umacr.org
    IF YOU ARE A HUMAN This article is about Human beings, Democracy, UNHCR, Refugees, The Iraqis, Islam, Kurds, Human rights, Respect, Money, Donations, Angelina
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 10, 2004

      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.

      Hi there,

      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.info/truth/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: http://www.unhcr.info/if_human/if_human.htm

      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

      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.
      The table is on my site here: http://www.unhcr.info/if_human/if_human.htm

      From that table, we can see the total private donations in year 2003 were US$
      20,072,010. Now let's analyze that number, 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
      20,072,010/20,556,781 guess what? It's equals $0.97!

      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 $1 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 $908,865,984, 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-years-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

      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 told me 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 woman and to expose herself like this
      is a sin in Islam. Did you notice she uses two pieces of cloth to cover her head?
      The UNHCR using picture of Moslem woman 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.

      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


      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 field."

      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 all humans.

      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

      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 our humanity? 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

      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 the democracy. Here are some emails:

      Notice that you can find more emails here: http://www.umacr.org/truth/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


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