Washington, DC, December 20, 2010 – On Sunday, December 19, 2010, twelve Iranian refugees were arrested by police in Ankara while protesting against the UN Refugee Agency’s violations of the rights of asylum-seekers in Turkey.
The United Nations, and specifically the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), is guilty of extensive human rights violations against Iranian and other refugees in Turkey and elsewhere. Christian asylum-seekers are mocked for their beliefs by UNHCR interviewers. Torture victims with visible and documented wounds are being called liars, and battered woman are being turned away. Asylum applications take far too long to process, living conditions for asylum-seekers are untenable, Iranian refugees in Turkey are subject to abuse and violence by both Turkish police and agents of the Islamic Republic, and many refugees are denied official status without cause.
The detained Iranians were peacefully airing justified complaints against the UNHCR when they were arrested by the Turkish police. Those detained include Masoud Keyhan, Mehdi Barar Tabar, Arezou Jalali Asl, Hamid Jalali Asl, Alireza Jamshidi Far, Reza Salmanian, Iman Salmanian, Soheil Sefidroo, Davood Rostami, Soheiyla Zaki, Poorya Saeedloo, and Ali Reza Karimi. We encourage the Turkish authorities to respect the fundamental human rights of these detainees and release the Iranian asylum-seekers immediately and without condition.
The International Coalition for the Rights of Iranian Refugees will continue to monitor the situation of the detained Iranian asylum seekers closely and inform all concerned individuals and organizations about their status.
Members of the ICRIR include the International Federation for Iranian Refugees, the Iranian Refugee Action Network, the Iranian Refugee Amnesty Network, Mission Free Iran and TDCAU.
International Coalition for the Rights of Iranian Refugees