In a disappointing turn of events, Norway has denied the applications of two Iranian asylum-seekers who affiliate with the Green Movement in Iran, Hamid Gorbani and Hushang Parsa.
“We are terrified of being sent back. It is better to die here. In Iran, we will be chased and killed.” Hushang and Hamid, in an interview with Norwegian newspaper NRK.no.
As in other countries, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Norway perpetuates UNHCR’s reckless and abusive treatment of legitimate asylum seekers who are at high risk of torture and/or execution if returned to Iran. Hamid was refused asylum in Norway around September 10, while Hushang’s denial was issued 6 months ago. They have been in Norway for 16 and 20 months, respectively.
Although they have sought an audience with UDI (the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration), Arnt Ole Andreassen at the Skistua asylum office in Narvik is on record as saying that the Immigration office does not want to discuss their case.
Hamid and Hushang have been on hunger strike since approximately September 20, 2010, and have sewn their lips shut. On September 25, they were both taken to hospital as a result of their hunger strike. We encourage Hamid and Hushang to come out of their hunger strike, eat and drink to regain their strength, and join us in protest in Oslo to demand their rights, and the rights of all Iranian asylum seekers.
Use the below letter to advocate on behalf of Hushang Parsa and Hamid Gorbani. If Norway violates asylum-seekers’ rights, it will open the floodgates for Turkey and Greece to do the same.
Send to Norway’s Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre (email@example.com), with a copy to Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org and via Facebook), to the UNHCR (email@example.com), to the UNOHCHR (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) and to the VG newspaper in Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Norwegian Foreign Minister: Jonas Gahr Støre, email@example.com
Norwegian Prime Minister: Jens Stoltenberg, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook
Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Refugees: email@example.com
Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Dear Foreign Minister Støre,
I have learned that Norway has denied asylum to Iranians Hushang Parsa and Hamid Gorbani, who identify with the anti-government Green Movement. As you know, the Islamic regime brutally represses peaceful protesters, journalists, students, and human rights activists within its borders. Among those who flee, the regime pressures them to return or to collaborate with the regime abroad, particularly in those countries where the Islamic regime’s agents have enjoyed a free hand in illegal activities like Turkey and Iraq. Under these circumstances, any effort by Norway to forcibly return Hushang Parsa and Hamid Gorbani clearly and egregiously violates of the principle of non-refoulement: “no refugee should be returned in any manner whatsoever to any country where he or she would be at risk of persecution.” Norway has signed the Convention and Protocol on the Status of Refugees, where this principle is enshrined.
These two have stated that they fear for their lives. The world knows the atrocities the Islamic Republic inflicts on its citizens: Neda Agha Soltan was shot dead in the street, simply for walking among peaceful protesters last June. Mohammad Valian, a 20-year old boy whose only “crime” was calling for freedom and throwing a rock, was sentenced to death. Sakineh Ashtiani is at high risk of being buried in a hole in the ground and having rocks thrown at her until she dies. We know what this regime will do to young men who have actively and publicly condemned this murderous regime.
Hushang Parsa and Hamid Gorbani warrant refugee status and protection under UN conventions. Norway must uphold these principles or be complicit in the bloody work of the Islamic Republic. Norway must recognize the implications of its act in these two cases: violating the principle of non-refoulement will have dire consequences for refugees worldwide. I am especially concerned for thousands of Iranian refugees surviving precariously in Turkey, Greece and Iraq. The world does not want these countries to follow a poor example set by Norway. The world, and the Iranian people, will not forget those who stood by the Iranian people through one of their history’s hardest struggles for freedom and humanity.
Norway must reconsider its position and set appropriate precedent by halting any deportation proceedings, establishing their refugee status, and implementing appropriate protections to preserve their lives. The ongoing crisis in Iran demands that specal status be considered for Iranian asylum seekers.
We suggest that you also send mail to your own government’s foreign ministry or secretary of state, asking for their support in the matter of just and legal treatment of Iranian asylum seekers in Norway and throughout the world:
CONTACT FORM, US Dept of State – http://contact-us.state.gov