- Posted by Maryam Namazie
- On April 30, 2001
- 0 Comments
Published in Hambastegi English
April 30, 2001
The number of applications for asylum in Europe has fallen by an average of 14 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2000. The data issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also reveals that the number of Iranian asylum seekers has fallen. This is not because the situation in Iran has changed; the Islamic regime continues to persecute, repress and deny basic civil rights. The decrease in applicants is because of restrictive and repressive measures taken by governments to prevent asylum seekers from reaching Europe. One such recent measure is the establishment of visa requirements for Iranians entering Bosnia. As we had warned, this restriction has blocked a major escape route for those fleeing intolerable conditions in Iran, preventing flight and forcing many to take even riskier routes.
European governments justify their policies by stating that these restrictions prevent ‘bogus’ ‘illegal migrants’ from entering Europe. Since it is impossible for any government to determine the legitimacy of claims without a fair assessment, and since asylum seekers come from countries with well-known and massive civil rights violations, the closing of borders and restrictive measures actually obstruct genuine refugees from gaining protection.
With their restrictive and repressive measures, European governments are preventing refugee flows. They do so because of the general anti-asylum environment, their racism, when the numbers applying from a certain nationality are high (confirming real violations in their countries of origin) and to appease repressive governments like the Islamic regime. While they abet persecutors and further victimise the persecuted, we must unconditionally reject their restrictions and their bogus and racist arguments and demand the right to asylum.