Urgent Action Appeal

Houri-olyn Ghanavati
Date of Birth: 1981-11- 25

Ms. Houri-olein Ghanavati and her 7 months old child are at risk of being forcibly returned to Iran by Netherlands authorities

December 13, 2009

Possible forcible return / Fear of torture or ill-treatment
Netherlands Immigration Authorities and UNHCR in Netherlands
Ms. Houri-olein Ghanevati UNHCR and her seven months old child, Iranian asylum seekers

IFIR learned that Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati and her child are in imminent danger of being forcibly returned to Iran by Netherlands authorities. She would be at risk of arbitrary detention, torture or ill treatment in Iran.

Background information on Hour-olein Ghanevati:
Houri-olyn Ghanevati and her seven months old child are victims of a violent regime toward the women in Iran. Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati flee Iran with her child with false documents and reach Netherlands in hope to seek asylum. When they arrived in Netherlands, the authenticity of their documents was questioned. Before Ms. Hour-olein Ghanevati make asylum claim the Netherlands’ police arrested her. The Netherlands police separated mother and the child.
The Netherlands authorities want to send Hour-olyn and her child back to Iran.Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati has committed no crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes.

Ms. Houri olein Ghanevati would face a serious threat to her life and liberty should be deported to Iran. Being a woman in Iran and seeking asylum place her and her child’s lives in danger by the Iranian Islamic government. They warrant recognition as refugees and merit the protection foreseen by the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Their lives and freedom would be in danger if they were refouled to Iran.

IFIR believes that Ms. Houri-olein Ghanevati fulfils the criteria for refugee recognition detailed in relevant international guidelines. Therefore IFIR strongly urges the Netherlands and UNHCR authorities to visit her case and grant her refugee recognition based on her well-founded fear of future persecution and imprisonment.

The deportation of Ms. Houri-olein Ghanevati from Netherlands to Iran would violate the most fundamental principle of international refugee law, the principle of -non-refoulement, which prohibits the forcible return of a person to a country where there is a risk of grave human rights abuses.

The political and human rights situation in Iran:

Based on information gathered by the International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) first-hand and from well-known international human rights organizations, the Iranian government continues to be a major abuser of human rights with no evidence of improvement. Systematic abuses include extra-judicial killings and summary executions; widespread use of torture and other degrading treatment; arrest and detention; lack of fair trials; and harsh prison conditions.
Ansar-e Hezbollah, an organization of hard-line vigilantes who seek to enforce their vision of appropriate revolutionary comportment upon the society harass, beat, and intimidate the Iranian people with no justifiable reasoning. Those who demonstrate their disapproval of the regime or who do not observe dress codes or other modes of correct revolutionary conduct are the targets of the Hezbollah’s abuses. The women whose clothing does not cover their hair, all parts of the body except their hands and face, or those who wear makeup or nail polish are subjected to abuses. Ansar-e Hezbollah cells are organized throughout the country and linked to individual members of the country’s leadership. Hezbollah has tremendous influence throughout the country. They are the ones who rape the women in the political prisons prior to their executions.
Vigilante violence includes attacking young persons considered too “un-Islamic” in their dress or activities, invading private homes, and abusing couples. Authorities enter homes to remove television satellite dishes, or to disrupt private gatherings in which men and women socialize, or where alcohol, mixed dancing, or other forbidden activities are offered or take place. For example, more than 1,000 satellite dishes were confiscated after the October soccer riots. Enforcement appears to be arbitrary, varying widely with the political climate and the individuals involved. Authorities are encouraging people to bribe them (sexual or monetary).
Social and political activities are forbidden in Islamic Republic of Iran and if social or political activists were identified they would face torture and heavy sentences. The people of Iran face harsh sentences. The Islamic Republic of Iran has institutionalized and brutally enforced sexual discrimination in all sectors of society; women cannot travel or work without the permission of their father or husband, and women has hardly any rights. Women are tortured, imprisoned, raped and executed based on accusations.

Trials in Iran are unfair and proceedings are summary. Hearings often last a few minutes, with defendants having no access to lawyers, no right to call witnesses in their defence and no right to appeal. The court’s arbitrary judgements have been in contravention of internationally recognized standards regarding fair trials.

Forcible return of Iranian asylum seekers:

It is well known that the Islamic Republic of Iran has arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and killed Iranians who were forcibly returned to Iran if they had unlawfully departed from the Islamic Republic of Iran, had stayed abroad without authorization, and/or had applied for asylum in another country.

• A well-known example of persecution upon forcible return to Iran was reported in Amnesty International’s recent report on the forcible return of Iranian asylum seekers from Japan in October 2003. According to Amnesty International’s press release, a 58-year-old Iranian, an undocumented resident who converted to Christianity in Japan, was sent back to Iran in October 2003 and was arrested several days later. Five other Iranian undocumented residents Amnesty had been in contact with have been deported since the start of 2004, but only one has safely returned.
• In other examples from an Australian newspaper The Age (29/04/2002) two Iranian men refused refugee status by Australia after spending two years in detention at Woomera were arrested by security police on their return to Iran and ordered to appear before a revolutionary tribunal.
• Also, Karim Tuzhali, a former asylum seeker recognized as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is another well-known case. The Turkish authorities forcibly returned him to Iran on 20 June 1998. He was sentenced to death on 16 September 1998, in connection with his former membership of the banned armed opposition group, the Kurdistan Democratic party of Iran (KDPI). Karim Tuzhali was reportedly executed on 24 January 2002 at Mahabad prison, western Iran. He had been in detention for three years, allegedly in Orumieh prison, West Azerbaijan province. He had reportedly been tortured while in detention and there was apparently a delay in releasing his body to his family.
• In other cases, 50-year-old Khaled Shoghi, who was forcibly returned from Turkey and arrested in 1997, was tortured in Iran; Kheder Viesi, another returned asylum seeker, was sentenced to death in 1998 as well as Saleh Goudarzi, who was sentenced to death in 1999, and is detained in Sanandaj prison.
• One Iranian asylum seeker Esmail Usefi was killed two weeks after his deportation to Iran. Norwegian Refugee Councils in its pres release reported that Esmail Usefi was deported to Iran in 13 February 2004 and his body with broken head was discovered on 28 February 2004.
• An Iranian woman whose asylum request (Hale Sahba) was rejected by Canada was expelled from the country in December 2004. She was arrested by Iran’s security forces as she entered Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport,
IFIR considers the forcible return of Iranian asylum seekers to be a violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This principle prohibits the forcible return of a person to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. It is a principle of customary international law, which binds all states. Morocco is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Please send appeals immediately:

To the Netherlands interior ministry:
– Calling on them to immediately recognize Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie as a refugee;

– Stressing that the forcible return of any person to a country where they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement;

To the UNHCR in Netherlands:

– Calling on them to intervene to secure the release of Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie and to uphold their duty to protect those to whom they have granted refugee status.

– Urge them to afford Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie protection and grant her recognition as a refugee.

Please send your letters to the UNHCR Netherlands office as well as the UNHCR office in Netherlands. Please remember to send a copy of your letters to our organization as well. A sample letter is provided for your convenience.


To Whom It May Concern:

I / My Organization am / are writing to express my strongest concern over the fate of Ms. Horel-Ein Ghanevatie who is in Netherlands perison and is in danger of deportation to Iran.

I / My Organization urge(s) the Netherlands government to immediately grant her refugee status and protection and cancel all her deportation orders. I also urge the UNHCR to grant her refugee recognition. The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) demands that Ms. Hour-olein Ghanevati be granted refugee status.

I am awaiting your immediate intervention in this life-threatening situation. Needless to say, the Netherlands government and UNHCR in Netherlands will be held accountable for Ms. I Houri-olein Ghanevati and her child’s lives and freedom.

Abdollah Asadi
Secretary of Interational federation of Iranian Refugees.

CC: abe.asadi@glocalnet.net

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