24 Jul 2007

US official says Federal govt may be in violation of UN Convention on status of refugees

7:03 am on 24 July 2007

An official of the U.S. Department of Interior says the federal government may be in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees by failing to monitor how the CNMI administers its refugee protection program.

The U.S. Interior deputy assistant secretary, David Cohen, said the Interior provided over 600,000 US dollars in 2004, for the establishment of the CNMI Office of Refugee Protection or ORP.

He told the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, that the CNMI is part of the US and aliens admitted to the CNMI are entitled to refugee protection rights under the ORP.

However, Mr Cohen said if the federal government cannot monitor how the program is being operated, then the federal government is in danger of slipping out of compliance with this international treaty.