There are many reasons why Iranian people may choose to leave their country and seek refugee status. The most common reasons include political persecution, human rights abuses, and economic instability.
Political persecution is one of the main reasons that Iranians seek refuge abroad. The government of Iran has a long history of cracking down on political dissent, including arrests, torture, and executions. Activists, journalists, and members of opposition groups are particularly at risk of political persecution, and many have fled the country to avoid arrest and mistreatment.
Human rights abuses are also a significant factor driving Iranians to seek refuge abroad. The government of Iran has been widely criticized for its human rights record, including by the United Nations and other international organizations. Reports of arbitrary arrest, torture, and execution are common, and many Iranians have been forced to flee the country to escape these abuses.
Economic instability is another primary reason that Iranians seek refuge abroad. Iran has been plagued by high unemployment, inflation, and a lack of opportunities for young people. Many Iranians have been forced to leave the country in search of better economic opportunities in the hope of finding a better life for themselves and their families.
In addition to these factors, many Iranians leave their country to escape religious persecution. The Islamic Republic of Iran promotes Shia Islam as the state religion, and the authorities often target minorities such as the Bahai community, Sunnis, and others. Many Iranians have left the country to escape discrimination, persecution and prosecution based on their religious beliefs.
It's worth mentioning that Iran also accepts asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iraq fleeing war and economic hardship. The Iranian government often uses these asylum seekers as pawns to achieve its political goals.
The decision to leave one's country and seek refuge elsewhere is not easy. It is often a last resort for Iranians who face political persecution, human rights abuses, economic instability, and religious persecution. The international community is responsible for supporting these individuals and providing them with the protection and assistance they need.
Several international legal mechanisms can be used to support Iranian refugees, including:
- The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees: This is the most important international instrument for protecting refugees and sets out the rights of refugees and the obligations of states towards them. It defines a refugee as someone who is forced to flee their country because of persecution, war, or violence and is not able to return due to fear of persecution.
- The 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees: This protocol extends the definition of a refugee from the 1951 Convention to include people who are forced to flee their country because of events that occurred before 1 January 1951.
- The 1969 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa: This convention, specifically designed for the African continent, reaffirms the rights outlined in the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol and adds additional provisions for the specific challenges faced by refugees in Africa.
- The 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees: This non-binding declaration, adopted by the countries of the American continent, defines the term refugee more broadly than the 1951 convention, to include those who flee their country because of generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order.
- UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): This is the UN agency responsible for protecting and supporting refugees. It provides assistance to refugees, including food, shelter, and medical care, as well as working to find durable solutions for their situation, such as resettlement in a third country.
- United Nations Treaties: Several UN human rights treaties are relevant to the protection of refugees, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), which Iran is a party to, these treaties can be used to hold Iran accountable for human rights abuses against refugees.
- Regional Organizations: Some regional organizations such as the European Union, The African Union, and the Organization of American States, have their own instruments for the protection of refugees and can provide support and protection for Iranian refugees.
- International Criminal Court: The International Criminal Court (ICC) can also provide protection for refugees if crimes committed against them fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC.
These mechanisms are intended to provide support and protection for Iranian refugees. Still, it's important to note that actual protection and assistance that refugees receive will depend on the willingness of the countries in which they flee to or seek asylum in, to grant them protection and assistance based on these international legal frameworks.
- Providing financial assistance: One of the most effective ways to support Iranian refugees is by providing them with financial assistance to help cover the costs of basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical care. This can be done through donations to organizations that work with refugees, such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or local NGOs.
- Providing legal assistance: Many Iranian refugees face difficulties navigating the asylum process, and providing legal assistance can help ensure that their claims are heard and receive the protection they need. This can be done through donations to organizations that provide legal assistance to refugees or through volunteer work with such organizations.
- Raising awareness: Raising awareness about the situation of Iranian refugees can help build international solidarity and support for their cause. This can be done through social media campaigns, rallies and protests, and traditional media such as television, newspapers and radio.
- Advocating for policy change: Advocacy and lobbying efforts can help bring about policy changes that will better protect and assist Iranian refugees. This can include lobbying governments to increase their support for refugees or pushing for changes to international laws and policies that govern the treatment of refugees.
- Providing education and vocational training: Many Iranian refugees have difficulty finding work. Providing education and vocational training can help them acquire the skills they need to support themselves and their families. This can be done through donations to organizations that provide education and vocational training or through volunteer work with such organizations.
- Resettlement and integration: Resettlement of refugees to other countries can provide a durable solution for Iranian refugees and help them start new lives safely. Lobbying governments can do this to increase their quotas for refugee resettlement and support refugees in integrating into the host community.
- Support human rights organizations: Supporting human rights organizations that are working to improve the situation of Iranian refugees can be an effective way of helping the cause. This can be done through donations, volunteering and raising awareness about the work of these organizations.
- Encourage businesses to support refugees: Encouraging businesses to support Iranian refugees can help improve their situation. This can include providing jobs, internships and apprenticeships or donating to organizations supporting refugees.
- Building solidarity groups: Building solidarity groups in different countries that advocate for Iranian refugees' rights can help raise awareness and build support for their cause.
By undertaking these actions, it can help to build international solidarity for the plight of Iranian refugees and help to ensure they receive the protection and assistance they need. However, it's important to note that the support and protection of refugees is a complex and long-term effort that requires cooperation from many actors and sustained action.