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Hambastegi Engelisi Montasher Shod
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posted February 07, 2001 12:27
Hambastegi Engelisi 96 Montasher Shod
* Ghateleen Ramin Khaleghi be zudy Molaghat Mykonand
* Edalat Baraye Ramin Khaleghi
* Hamkari-ye Doval Iran va Australia
* Akhbar-e- Panahandegi www.hambastegi.org
HAMBASTEGI ENGLISH Number 96
Editor: Maryam Namazie
On February 3, over 350 people gathered in Leicester to protest the death of Ramin Khaleghi, a 27-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, who committed suicide after receiving a refusal notice from the UK Home Office. The protestors held the Islamic regime, which imprisoned and tortured him, and the UK government's policy of refusal and dispersal, responsible for Ramin's death.
While Ramin is yet to be buried, the UK and Islamic governments continue the wheeling and dealing that caused Ramin's death. Their latest endeavour is a major international conference entitled 'Investments in Iran' at the Landmark Hotel during February 19-20 and a one-day post-conference seminar on February 21 at The Westbury in London (http://www.ibcglobal.com/iran). Peter Hain, UK Minister of State and Mohammad Hossein Adeli, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic regime, are some of the top-level officials attending the conference.
The conference aims to further legitimise and maintain a regime, which in the past month alone has:
Sentenced Maryam Ayoobi, a 32-year-old woman, to death by stoning
Chopped off Mohammad Ali Aivazkhani's arm in public in Qom
Hanged Alyas Lotfaian, 22, in public in the city of Isfahan
Sentenced Hossein Asna Ashari, 44, to be hanged
Hanged six men aged 20-30
Hanged Hamid Heydari, aged 21
Hanged Hassan Faylom from a crane in central Tehran
Publicly flogged several youths in Isfahan, Mashhad, Booshehr and Hashtgard
Arrested 262 people in raids on New Year's Eve parties for "indecent clothing," consuming alcohol beverages and dancing with members of the opposite sex. Some were flogged (below is picture of one woman flogged)
Sentenced to imprisonment: Saeed Sadr to 10 years, Akbar Ganji, 10 years, Khalil Rostamkhani, nine years, Ezzatollah Sahabi, four years, Ali Afshari, five years, Mehrangiz Kar, four years and Shahla Lahiji, to four years …
This conference is being organised at the expense of the many Ramin Khaleghi's both here and in Iran.
It must not be allowed to go ahead as planned. February 19-21 must be transformed into widespread days of protest against the torturers and killers of Ramin and innumerable others.
Demand Justice for Ramin Khaleghi
The National Civil Rights Movement, the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, the IFIR and the Leicester Civil Rights Movement organised a large demonstration on February 3, 2001 in Leicester. Over 350 people joined the march to demand justice for Ramin Khaleghi, despite police blockading the entrance to and exit from the International Hotel, the hostel where Ramin lived and died on January 18.
The demands of the demonstration as well as the ongoing campaign for Ramin are:
1) An opportunity for the Khaleghi family to meet with Barbara Roche, Minister for Immigration and Nationality, to make their concerns known. 2) An immediate improvement in the living conditions of asylum seekers in the Leicester 'International Hotel' 3) A public inquiry into the circumstances, which led to the death of Ramin, including an investigation into the effect of the Home Office dispersal policy and high refusal rates of Iranian asylum claims.
"I believe that my nephew was killed by the Home Office and would like to ask for an inquiry into his death." Ramin's uncle, N. Khaleghi
"We have lost a young man. He told his friends that he would not go back to Iran alive. Is it a crime to ask for the right to live? A deportation order has become as good as a death sentence. We demand to be treated as human beings." Bongie Mpofu, Zimbabwean refugee, Leicester International Hotel
Demand Justice for Ramin
Barbara Roche MP
Peter Hain MP
Robin Cook MP
On January 18, 2001, the body of Ramin Khaleghi, a 27-year-old Iranian, was discovered in the International Hotel, a hostel housing asylum seekers in Leicester. Ramin had been a political prisoner in Iran for a number of years, before managing to flee to Britain. Yet, the Home Office rejected his claim for asylum, despite medical evidence of torture at the hands of the Iranian police. One week after learning of his rejection, Ramin took his own life. Before that, in late-December, a 26-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Saeed Alaei, living near Manchester, hanged himself because of depression and fear of refusal (according to his flatmates).
I / my organisation am / is writing to express my/our strong concern over Ramin's and Saeed's death and demand(s) the following:
1) An opportunity for the Khaleghi family to meet with Barbara Roche, Minister for Immigration and Nationality, to make their concerns known. 2) An immediate improvement in the living conditions of asylum seekers in the Leicester 'International Hotel' 3) A public inquiry into the circumstances, which led to the death of Ramin, including an investigation into the effect of the Home Office dispersal policy and the high refusal rates of Iranian asylum claims.
Furthermore, in light of the gross violations of human rights being perpetrated by the Islamic regime, I / my organisation also demand(s) that the 'Investments in Iran' conference organised in London for February 19-21 be cancelled and that all ties to the Islamic regime be severed.
Australian and Iranian Governments Conspire
According to an article in an internal journal of the Australian Immigration Department, a delegation from the Iranian government recently held talks with the Australian authorities in order to reach an understanding of 'cooperation' regarding the deportation of Iranian asylum seekers. The journal pointed out that during these negotiations, the federal police supplied the Iranian delegation with information on Iranian asylum seekers.
Collaboration with persecuting governments and stepped up anti-asylum practices and policies have resulted in escalated protests against the deteriorating and inhuman conditions imposed on asylum seekers in Australia. Last week, asylum seekers in the Port Hedland Detention Centre held a mass protest. 180 detainees took control of the centre to bring attention to the atrocious conditions and the extremely slow processing of asylum applications. In response, riot police stormed the camp and attacked the detainees.
The IFIR-Australian Branch condemns the conspiracy of the Australian and Iranian governments against Iranian asylum seekers and the Australian government's anti-asylum policies. We call on all progressive individuals and institutions to protest and defend the right to asylum.
The protests will continue, both inside and outside the detention centres, until the policy of mandatory detention is abolished and the centres are shut down. The Free the Refugees Campaign (FRC), which IFIR-Australia is a member of, is campaigning for an end to deportations, rapid determination of refugee claims, full human rights for refugees, and for Australia to fulfil its international obligations to refugees.
Maryam Namazie will be the guest speaker at the Immigration Aid Unit and Asylum Seekers Welcome and Support Group Annual General Meeting in Manchester on February 6 from 7:00 to 9:30pm. She will be speaking on behalf of the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism on the 'UK State Policy and Practice on Asylum Seekers in a European Context.' For more information on the meeting, call: 0161 740 7722.
Namazie will also be speaking at a conference entitled 'The Future of Iran: A Study of Social, Economic and Political Issues and Asylum Seeking By Iranians' organised by the Iranian Research and Advice Centre during February 9-11 at SOAS - London University, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1. On February 9, Namazie will be speaking on British Asylum Seeking Policy and its Consequences with representatives from the Iranian Research and Advice Centre, Lawrence Lupin Solicitors and the British Refugee Council. On February 10, she will be speaking on Issues and problems of Iranian Asylum Seekers internationally. For more information on the conference, call 0207 328 8415, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Refugee News
* Under legislation introduced last week, the Spanish government has the right to deport 'illegal aliens' within 48 hours of their being apprehended; employers who violate the law face fines of as much as 10 million pesetas (60,100 euros). Spain has just over one million immigrants - an estimated 130,000 of them without papers. That figure represents only 2.5% of its population. The new law - which also deprives 'illegal' workers of the right to strike and join a union, and limits their use of public services, touched off a storm. Hundreds of 'illegal immigrants' under threat of expulsion are staging hunger strikes throughout Spain. Trade unions, human rights and church groups criticize the legislation, arguing that it will not resolve the dilemma facing either "illegal" workers or employers in need of labour. "No law is capable of halting immigration flows," warned Jose Maria Zufiaur, a member of the General Union of Workers. (The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2001)
* Australian Authorities will be given greater powers to deport 'rowdy illegal immigrants' or sedate them with "chemical restraints" in a new crackdown announced by the government. It follows a weekend 'riot' at
* Five bodies found floating off a Malaysian port are believed to have been Indonesian 'illegal immigrants' whose boats capsized as they tried to slip into the country. They were searching for four or five more bodies west of Kuala Lumpur, after crewmen reported spotting nine or ten corpses. 97,147 illegal immigrants were deported last year, of which 83,190 were Indonesians. (Agence France Presse, February 2, 2001)
* An investigation was under way today after a suspected 'illegal immigrant' found dead at the French end of the Channel Tunnel. The man, believed to have been a stowaway from Iraq, was found at the terminal, in Coquelles, alongside another immigrant who had superficial injuries and was taken to hospital. (Press Association (UK), February 1, 2001)
* After recovering two more bodies from the ocean, authorities in the Dominican Republic said there was little hope of finding any survivors among 50 people missing after a boatload of 'illegal migrants' heading for Puerto Rico sank. The two bodies recovered brought to three the number of bodies plucked from the ocean after a wooden vessel carrying 56 people capsized. (Reuters, January 26, 2001)
* Spanish rescuers were searching for five 'illegal' African immigrants feared to have drowned when their boat capsized off Tarifa near the Strait of Gibraltar. The vessel was taking 11 immigrants from the Moroccan coast to Spain. Police retrieved the body of a Moroccan immigrant while five others were rescued alive from the waves. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 22, 2001)
* The Irish Minister for Justice is largely responsible for the "completely unacceptable" delays in determining legal challenges by asylum seekers to deportation orders, a High Court judge has complained. Justice Kelly noted that several such cases before him had been adjourned up to eight times and one would soon be in the court list for a year. This was "a lamentable record" and contrary to the whole notion of judicial review. (The Irish Times, January 30, 2001)
* The Kenyan Government was stopped from deporting four Iraqis. The court also summoned Government officials to present to the court any warrant of arrest to explain why the Iraqis have been held in custody after completing their sentence last May. They were arrested at Elwak near the border of Kenya and Somalia, tried for being in the country illegally and jailed for six months. Karreem Radee Abed, Ahmed Alwan Muktasha, Sami Hemed Majed and Mushtak Kasem Abed had been accorded refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and were being held in police custody illegally. (The Nation (Kenya), January 30, 2001)
* Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock has seized on the discovery of typhoid in six 'illegal immigrants' as justification for the government's mandatory detention policies. Ruddock said: "Australians would not want (such) people released amongst them." Ruddock said he was at the forefront of developing "an international consensus of will to solve the issue" of 'illegal immigrants.' He said the Swedish and British governments, among others, were "looking to Australia and the way we do it", including the Australian policy of mandatory detention. (The Age (Australia), February 2, 2001)
* Two riots involving more than 400 detainees are a forewarning of graver troubles in Australian detention centres if the government kept victimising traumatised 'boatpeople,' refugee advocates have warned. The Woomera camp in South Australia has been rocked by violent riots which police and security staff quelled using water cannon. (The Australian Associated Press, February 2, 2001)
* The second mass riot in a week at Australian detention centres was further evidence that security staff needed stronger powers to restrain violent inmates, Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said. Three hundred detainees at the Curtin detention facility outside Derby in northern Western Australia rioted. Saturday's incident follows a violent riot of 120 inmates at the Port Hedland detention facility in which riot police subdued the detainees with capsicum spray. Ruddock last week foreshadowed tougher powers for officers at detention centres, including the expanded use of injected sedatives on violent detainees. The Refugee Council of Australia said the government's hard line on detainees would make worse the already-powder keg situation inside detention centres. Council executive director said: "What concerns me is the government's attitude; they make things more rigid. It's the first principle of psychology - the harsher it is the worse people will behave." (The Australian Associated Press, January 31, 2001)
* Amnesty International says sedatives should not be used to control disturbances in Australian immigration detention centres. The Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, says a review of laws is underway to make it easier for staff to control detainees with sedatives. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, January 31, 2001)
* Detainees at the Australian Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre suffer from soaring temperatures, overcrowding, boredom, lack of privacy and the prospect of indefinite confinement. About 10 children and 80 to 100 adults from countries including Iraq, Iran, China, Syria, Indonesia and Sri Lanka are detained at the centre at any given time. The person detained longest at Maribyrnong was a 27-year-old man who had been there for four years. An Iraqi family with six children had been in detention for 14 months. Maritza Thompson was banned after she published a detailed account of Maribyrnong and the mental distress it caused detainees. She said she had met a 17-year-old boy who set fire to his hair in a suicide attempt, and another boy who portrayed himself in a painting with a rope around his neck. (The Age (Australia), January 28, 2001)
* A powerful lobby of labour unions accused the Australian government of treating suspected 'illegal immigrants' inhumanely and urged a review of the policy of mandatory detention. ''What we saw was pretty alarming and confirmed in our minds that the policy of mandatory detention should be abolished,'' said Leigh Hubbard, secretary of Victorian state Trades Hall Council. ''Unions believe there should be a return to the previous policy of housing refugees in the community while they wait the outcome of their cases,'' he said. (The Associated Press, January 29, 2001)
* The UK Chief Inspector of Prisons last night attacked as "utterly inappropriate" a government scheme to move hundreds of asylum seekers into jails across England and Wales, where they mix with prisoners. Many of the asylum seekers, who have committed no crime, have been split up from partners and families and placed in jails with some of the worst conditions and highest security levels in the country. The Home Office says the jailing of the asylum seekers is intended to help immigration officials remove failed applicants. However, asylum support groups claim many of those being held are awaiting an initial decision on their claims or are appealing against refusal. (The Independent, 22 January 2001)
* Prisons containing 'illegal immigrants' and asylum seekers whose applications to live in the UK have been rejected will be monitored closely for overcrowding, the Prison Officers Association said. More than 500 places on remand wings across the country have been made available for men over the age of 21 while they await deportation. The prisons being used include Belmarsh in southeast London, Blundeston in Suffolk, Lincoln, Liverpool, Highdown in London, Holme House in the northeast, Wandsworth, and Winchester. (Press Association (UK), January 23, 2001)
* A new report by the UK charity Shelter, Far from Home, outlines how safety is being put at risk as landlords exploit asylum seekers' need for housing. Its research explodes the myth that asylum seekers are placed in the best housing at the expense of other families. Shelter discovered dampness, overcrowding, poor sanitation, unhygienic cooking facilities and inadequate fire escapes in 154 homes housing 309 people, including 48 children. Chris Holmes, Shelter director, said: 'we have found that the grim reality is many asylum seekers are living in absolute squalor that puts their health and safety at risk. The chaotic system of housing provision is allowing some private landlords to exploit the misery of asylum seekers.' (The Evening Standard (UK), January 31, 2001)
* In Glasgow, UK, asylum seekers, who may have to wait up to two years for a government decision on their applications for refugee status, are also facing delays in receiving special vouchers for food, finding interpreters and obtaining legal advice. (The Scotsman, January 30, 2001) * More than 500 orphaned child refugees are seeking asylum in Dublin, Ireland. The 505 refugees are mostly are under 15 and not legally able to represent themselves. They are housed in dingy hostels, many without cooking facilities, and live on the supplementary welfare allowance of around pounds 75 per week. (The Mirror (UK), January 26, 2001)
* Scotland, UK is expected to receive up to 15,000 asylum seekers and their families by the end of the year, fuelling concerns over the ability of health and social services to cope. (The Scotsman, January 29, 2001)
* The majority of recent "boat people" arriving in Australia have been incorrectly branded "illegal" by the government according to human rights agencies. They say the Immigration Minister's choice of language is perpetuating a false image of many of those coming by boat and does not represent their legal rights. According to one advocate: "They are unauthorised arrivals, not criminals, under international law and if they are fleeing persecution are entitled to come here and seek protection. Labelling obviously does not acknowledge that fact." (The Age (Australia), January 28, 2001)
* Immigrants to the UK earn more money on average than British-born residents and pay into the economy an estimated Ł2.6bn more than they take out. A Home Office report on the economic effects of immigration found that immigrant workers help to keep down inflation and increase levels of productivity. It found no evidence to support fears that they damage the employment prospects of British-born residents. (The Independent, 23 January 2001)
* Despite the presence of a 20,000-strong international military mission, the UN Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina shows the Sarajevo route was taken last year by more than 10 per cent of the 500,000 'illegal migrants' who reached the West. Despite the funding by the international community of a new State Border Service, officials claim corruption is hampering international efforts to secure Bosnia's borders and close the route through Croatia into Europe. (The Observer (UK), January 28, 2001)
* Despite continuing European fears about being swamped by foreigners, the number of asylum seekers dropped slightly last year because of a fall in applications from Kosovo Albanians, according to figures released by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Provisional data provided by governments to UNHCR showed that 452,000 asylum applications were lodged in 25 European countries _ 4 percent lower than the 471,000 figure recorded in 1999. In the 15-nation European Union, the number of applications rose slightly by 0.5 percent to 390,000 from 387,000. The U.N. refugee agency said Britain became the main destination for asylum seekers, knocking Germany from the top spot it has occupied since 1983. UNHCR has criticized the EU for building a ''Fortress Europe'', saying it keeps out those with a genuine fear of persecution and pushes asylum seekers into the arms of traffickers. Nearly 35,000 Iraqis fleeing hardship and repression under Saddam Hussein applied for asylum in Europe, up 12 percent on 1999. Afghans were the third largest group, with 28,790 applicants, a 22 percent rise. The number of Iranians seeking refuge in Europe more than doubled to 27,000 with the largest increases coming in the second half of the year. Britain became the top European destination for would-be refugees, with an estimated 97,900 applications, or 22 percent of the total. The British government said it received 76,040 individual applications but UNHCR arrived at the higher total because some people arrive with their families. The country still lagged in tenth position in terms of the number of asylum seekers compared to the rest of the population. (The Associated Press, January 26, 2001)
* A huge increase in the numbers of Iraqis and Iranians seeking refuge in the United Kingdom caused last year's surge in asylum applications. Iraqis topped the list with a rise of almost 300 per cent to 7,080 compared with figures for 1999. The number of Iranians also rose by almost 300 per cent to 5,170, putting them in fifth place. Three other countries in which there is unrest are in the top five: Sri Lanka, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. The number of Sri Lankans rose by 18 per cent to 6,040 and Afghans by 32 per cent to 4,170. Asylum-seekers from the former Republic of Yugoslavia were 3,670 and China 2,650. The figures show that a total of 110,065 asylum decisions were taken in 2000, more than three times the 33,720 decisions in 1999. 23 per cent were granted asylum, exceptional leave to remain or had an appeal against refusal upheld. 4,870 asylum-seekers were removed from the UK between March and September. In an attempt to increase the number of removals, 500 places for failed asylum seekers have been made available at eight jails. The places are being provided while the 900 places in immigration detention centres is tripled by the building of new accommodation at Aldington in Kent, Thurleigh in Bedfordshire and at Heathrow airport. (The Times (UK), January 26, 2001)
* Applications for asylum reached a record level last year but refugee support groups claimed yesterday that thousands of applicants had been turned down on spurious grounds by the Home Office. The Immigration minister, Barbara Roche, released figures showing that 76,040 applications were made in 2000, an annual rise of nearly 7 per cent. Only 10 per cent of applicants were granted refugee status, with 12 per cent allowed exceptional leave to remain in Britain and 78 per cent refused. The Refugee Council said that large numbers of asylum seekers were being turned down simply because they had filled out a 19-page form incorrectly. The council said such "non-compliance" rejections had increased by more than 2,000 per cent last year, with 26,630 people being turned down for that reason, compared with only 1,085 in 1999. (The Independent (UK), January 26, 2001)
* Two riots involving more than 400 detainees are a forewarning of graver troubles in Australian detention centres if the government kept victimising traumatised 'boatpeople,' refugee advocates have warned. (The Australian Associated Press, February 2, 2001)
* Three hundred detainees at the Curtin detention facility outside Derby in northern Western Australia rioted. Saturday's incident follows a violent riot of 120 at the Port Hedland detention facility in which riot police subdued the detainees with capsicum spray. The Refugee Council of Australia said the government's hard line on detainees would make worse the already-powder keg situation inside detention centres. Council executive director said: " It's the first principle of psychology - the harsher it is the worse people will behave." (The Australian Associated Press, January 31, 2001) 800 foreigners entered the 11th day of a hunger strike to press the Spanish government for work and residence permits. Scattered among eight churches in Barcelona, Spain's second largest city, most are men in their 20s and 30s from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Since the protest started, about 50 have been hospitalised briefly, although all but one returned to strike. A tough new immigration law that came into force last week leaves them vulnerable to immediate expulsion. (The Associated Press, January 30, 2001)
* Conditions at the Maribyrnong detention centre in Australia sparked a public protest last week when seven people occupied the roof to demand an inquiry into the death last month of Tongan detainee Viliami Tanginoa, 53, who died after falling - or jumping - from a basketball pole, and a suicide attempt by 17-year-old Ali Kadem, who slit his throat. The demand was supported by Victoria's Trades Hall Council, which also wants an end to mandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals. (The Age (Australia), January 28, 2001)
*Racism and Xenophobia
* It emerged that asylum seekers are living in terror of being stoned as they leave their homes on Glasgow's housing estates. Some of those who have fled to Britain to escape persecution are being regularly attacked in the very places where they have been offered sanctuary. Youths are hurling stones and bottles, and spitting on them, making them too frightened to leave their homes. (The Scotsman, January 30, 2001)
* The United Nations commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, singling out Europe, said: "more can and should be done" to combat racism. She noted the rise in support for far-right parties, the overall increase in intolerance towards foreigners and the emergence of racist attitudes. Robinson also criticised Europe's political leaders for turning their backs on immigrants at a time when birth rates were falling and the continent needed more people "for the purpose of its economic vitality alone". (Agence France Presse, January 29, 2001)
* The leaders of all parties represented in the Scottish parliament pledged not to stir up hostility towards asylum seekers. The party leaders put their signatures to a statement agree
All times are PT (US)
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