Scottish Refugee Council: dumping refugees in warzones

By No Borders Glasgow, originally posted on Indymedia Scotland 25 September 2008

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has launched a new programme called 'Return and Rebuild', providing extra 'support' for refugees returning to war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq under its so-called Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP). And Scottish Refugee Council is being paid to help them.

The IOM in Glasgow invites you to an information event on 8 October 2008 from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm at the Teacher Building, 14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow. (see below for more info). The event is to launch the new 'Return and Rebuild' programme.

Alternative, more realistic names have already been suggested for the Return and Rebuild programme. Respectable Rendition is one of the more, well, respectable suggestions. F**k Off and Die is another.

Afghani and Iraqi asylum seekers who are 'voluntarily' returning home between 1 September 2008, and 31 August 2009, can now receive, in addition to the 'reintegration assistance' they would normally receive under VARRP, up to £2,000-worth of 'support' for building materials to assist in the reconstruction or repair of their houses back home.

The IOM was founded in 1951, under the leadership of the USA, mainly with the intention of creating a counter-agency to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But unlike the latter, IOM does not have a Protection Mandate for its work with refugees and displaced persons. From the beginning, the intergovernmental agency has not been based on humanitarian principles but on economic considerations.

With 125 member states and a further 16 states with observer status, IOM today has offices in over 100 countries. As well as serving as a 'migration warning system' for Western governments, IOM provides governments and other agencies, through its Technical Cooperation on Migration division, with technical, intellectual and strategic tools to "enhance their migration management capacities."

Campaigners argue that IOM's real role is to help Western governments 'meet their deportation quotas' wherever deporting unwanted migrants is too costly, difficult or where they want to avoid their human rights obligations under international law. In the nine years since it started to operate in the UK in 1999, IOM has 'assisted' more than 27,000 people to 'return' to some 130 countries from the UK.
IOM info: Corporate Watch, 23 Sept 08: http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3140

Interestingly, the Scottish Refugee Council - mission: "Building a better future with refugees in Scotland" - recently joined the IOM "Associates Scheme". Under this scheme, IOM pays agencies to promote their work, and to refer refugees to the scheme. What a wonderful way to buy a veneer of respectability! The SRC is that nice charity helping refugees in Scotland. You can trust them. They would never refer a destitute, vulnerable refugee to an agency that does the Government's dirty work dumping people in warzones, would they? Perhaps SRC should also consider a change in wording for their tagline?

Eamil invitation circulated by IOM

Dear Colleague

Following the launch of our new Return and Rebuild programme on 1 September 2008 we would like to invite you to attend a conference to hear more about the new programme and IOM’s Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP).

The Return & Rebuild Programme offers extra support for those returning to Afghanistan & Iraq to rebuild or repair their family homes.

Including presentations by IOM staff, a live video conference with IOM returnees in Erbil and Kabul (during which they can share their experiences of assisted voluntary return), and an opportunity to ask questions about our programmes, I think that you will find the event interesting.

If you are able to attend please register by emailing or telephoning either Finn or John. *Please reply by 1 October.*

Lunch will be provided.

We do hope you can come and we’ll look forward to seeing you there.

International Organization for Migration
38 Queen St
Glasgow, G1 3DX
Tel: 0141 548 8114
Fax: 0141 271 5009
UK Web: http://www.iomlondon.org
International Web: http://www.iom.int