Maryam Namazie
Published in Hambastegi English
March 19, 2001

In the past three months, several Iranian asylum seekers have committed suicide in the UK and Holland. Saeed Alaei, a 26-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, hanged himself 4-5 days before Christmas in Nelson, Manchester. On January 18, Ramin Khaleghi, a 27-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, was found dead in his room at the International Hotel in Leicester. On March 7, the body of Mohammad Reza Mikaelie-diba, a 25-year-old Iranian asylum seeker was recovered from a canal in Northern Holland. That same week, Farrokh Shiri, a 37-year-old asylum seeker, was arrested in the UK after having threatened suicide with a ball-bearing gun at the Penzance YMCA where he lived. All had despaired after being refused; Alaei was fearful of being refused.

The UK and Dutch governments’ high refusal rates are an important aspect of their policy to depress, deter, traumatise, break and even kill asylum seekers. One main reason for the increased refusals is the general anti-asylum environment after the end of the Cold War. Mainly, however, it has to do with European governments’ attempts to legitimise the Islamic regime in the face of increasing protests in Iran.

According to the April – December 2000 UK Home Office statistics (there are no country specific statistics for January – March available on their web site), the average refusal rate for Iranians was 82 percent. 1999 refusal rates for several countries (available on the UNHCR web site) reveals enormous variations depending on the closeness of relations. In the UK in 1999, 50 percent were refused while in Holland 80 percent were refused compared to the US’ 11 percent and New Zealand’s 0 percent refusal rates of Iranian asylum claims.

Clearly, refusals have nothing to do with actual asylum claims or conditions in Iran but everything to do with political and economic interests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.