|My name is behzad pilehvar…|
I am political refugee from Iran who is assisted by Canadian government to come to Canada from turkey.
I have spent 19 month in turkey as an asylum seeker.
I have seen hardship in my life as a refugee and in the lives of many other asylum seekers in turkey…
I never forget the tragedy of winter 2003 when my friend Eghbal Imam Panah received news about the rejection of his case from police.
He got stroke in police station … he died one week later in hospital. The UNHCR refused to give his wife and children refugee status following his tragic death.
They are living under ground in turkey today and there is no body to take care of them...
You all know about the situation in my country Iran.
There is dictatorship of religion and religion of dictatorship there.
The regime has taken country back to 1400 years ago the result is repression, torture, execution, hanging in public, serial killings, and execution of children.
You, in Canada, have come to know about the torture and death of the Canadian-Iranian photo journalist ZAHRA KAZEMI…
But there are hundreds of Zahra kazemi in Iran about them no body knows.
Iranian political activist and human right workers –even religious reformers have to escape Iran for neighboring countries like Turkey.
They hope that they will be safe and one day they will be resettled in safer country, but, sadly this not the case.
In turkey life for some refugees be come more miserable than Iran.
We all know that the government of turkey has imposed reservation on application of the UN refugee convention of 1951 and it s protocol of 1967 “only European asylum seekers can become refugee in Turkey, but according the regulation of November 30 1994 of government of turkey non _European asylum seekers can stay in that country under certain conditions:
1- they should have been accepted by UNHCR as refugees;
2- they should resettle in other countries;
3- They must be acceptable to home office.
The government of turkey and it s brutal police do not bother even about their own regulation .they attack refugees every day and send them back to torture and death. Problem starts right at the time of arrival.
An asylum seeker has 10 days to report to police. She or he must to pay $250 to the home office for 3 months of temporary stay. The next step is giving the life story and reason for escaping Iran to the home office .If accepted by the home office, the asylum seeker will be referred to the UNHCR .this mean that UNHCR and Turkish police work together hands in glove.
It is a well fact that there are secret agreements between government of Iran and Turkey.
If an asylum seeker is an important person with useful information for Iranian secret service, government of Turkey would refuse them asylum seeker and deport them by force.
Asylum seekers do not receive any money before their acceptance by the UNHCR, they live in poverty and horrible condition of life and they have no permission to work in Turkey .it takes a long time (between 1 to 5 years) for UNHCR to process and asylum claim living in limb is very hard for asylum seekers.
At any time they may be deported because the Iranian and Turkish secret police work together very closely. In 1997, for example, Mr. .karim toojelly was deported to Iran .he was executed in urumiah jail in Iran. There are more than 1200 Iranian refugees in Turkey who are accepted by UNHCR office there. They have been waiting for their resettlement for more than 2 years, but there is no help for them .they suffer from all sort physical and mental problems, but they have no medical care.
Asylum seekers are usually sent to border areas to live .there has been cases that are Iranian secret police and guards have crossed the border, they have beaten and even murdered asylum seekers, I am one of their victims.
In one case they have severely and in another case they stabbed my close friend .we also knows that there are no human rights in turkey. Any political activities are not allowed, this has had bad impacts on asylum seekers as well. In July 2003, we had rally in protest to the massacre in Iran in front of UNHCR office .I, my self came under deportation.9 months later, and the peaceful site in strike of asylum seeker from northern Iraq was attacked .they arrested 53 refugee and with lots of advocacy they did not deport them.
These types of attacks are daily events.
Right now 5 Iranian asylum seekers are under deportation.
And hundreds of other asylum seekers live under very miserable condition
Please do some thing before it is too late
Jan 12 2007