Iranian refugees will go to the streets of Ankara in protest this month to demand that the UNHCR uphold their fundamental rights as asylum-seekers. An international coalition of Iranian advocacy organizations is campaigning in support of their action and demands. The primary demand of the refugees and the supporting coalition is the designation of Iranian asylum seekers as prima facie refugees.
Philadelphia, PA, December 6, 2010 — In the wake of the 2009 post-election uprising and subsequent government crackdown, a wave of thousands of Iranian refugees has poured across the border into Turkey. They are victims of rape, torture, and political repression. While these refugees are entitled to asylum, protection, and no forced return under the auspices of United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), refugees in Turkey continue to suffer repeated violations of those rights by UNHCR.
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 as well as agents of the Islamic Republic, and many refugees are denied official status without cause. “We know our refugees’ rights are being violated because of these inefficiencies and UNHCR should not be allowed to continue in this manner,” said Matin, an Iranian refugee who has already won asylum in Canada.
Frustrated and endangered by UNHCR’s mishandling of their cases, Iranian refugees will go to the streets of Ankara in protest this month to demand that the UNHCR uphold their fundamental rights. “This situation is not acceptable,” says Soheila Nikpour, advocate with the activist group Iranian Refugee Amnesty Network. “Our organizations will continue to protest until human rights violations cease and our refugees are protected by the UNHCR, according to their remit.”
An international coalition of Iranian advocacy organizations is campaigning in support of their action and demands. The primary demand of the refugees and the supporting coalition is the designation of Iranian asylum seekers as prima facie refugees. Until that designation is conferred, the campaign demands that the processing of Iranian and other asylum seekers in Turkey be immediately improved to ensure fair, efficient, and transparent processing of individual cases, with UNHCR held fully accountable for their responsibilities. The joint campaign, implemented inside and outside of Turkey, will continue until the demands of the refugees are met.
International Coalition for the Rights of Iranian Refugees