UKBA: Stop Deportations to Iran
UKBA: Stop Deportations to Iran
' ... we want the human rights record of the Iranian government to be seen for what it is throughout the world, because it is utterly unacceptable to anyone who cares about basic human rights anywhere on earth ...'
William Hague, House of Commons debate, 14/09/10
The appalling human rights record of the Iranian government is well-documented, and many will be aware that following the disputed 2009 presidential election the situation became worse still. Iran currently ranks at #158 of 167 on the ‘Democracy Index’*, below, for example, Libya, Sudan and Zimbabwe, and #175 of 178 on the ‘Press Freedom Index’*. However, since the revolutionary events in North Africa and the Middle East in early 2011, the Iranian government has surpassed even its own previous actions, with a crackdown of unprecedented brutality, in an attempt to ensure that the wave of democratic revolution has no chance of reaching Iran.
Although already leading the world in executions per capita, in January 2011 alone the Iranian government executed at least 92 opponents to the regime, and the real figure is likely to be significantly higher. Repression of people the government considers a threat has reached a new intensity, with thousands of campaigners, journalists, lawyers and ordinary protestors in prison, to face torture of various forms and, as per above, quite possibly eventual execution.
Some Iranians facing these horrors manage to leave, and come to countries like the UK, where we have a proud history of offering asylum. However, currently the UKBA is shaming this tradition by deporting many Iranians back into situations of grave danger. This is unacceptable. We should be unequivocally opposing the atrocities in Iran, rather than sending refugees back to face them anew.
When people flee for their lives, they don’t always have time to conscientiously collect all of their official documentation, and put together a body of evidence to support the asylum claim that they will make in the country they arrive in. When they do arrive, exhausted, psychologically drained, and possibly speaking little of the language of the new country, they are not always able to tell their story properly. It is hard to see how anybody with the slightest bit of common sense and knowledge of world news could fail to understand this, and recognize that currently there are likely to be very many Iranians in dire need of asylum. However, even in many cases where asylum claimants have presented a highly coherent and obviously genuine story and need for asylum, the UKBA has still carried out enforced removal.
With the current situation in Iran being as it is, this must halt immediately—to do otherwise is to not only condone, but facilitate state persecution by the Iranian government, and is a complete abdication by the UK government of its humanitarian duty.
We, the undersigned, urge the UKBA to immediately halt all deportation to Iran, and start recognizing the urgent needs and rights of Iranian asylum seekers.
*Economist Assessment Unit ‘Democracy Index’
*Reporters Without Borders’ ‘Press Freedom Index’