Association of Iranian Political Prisoners(in Exile)Public Statement

18 November 2002

Turkey: Iranian refugee died after a suicide attempt

Kamran Farmanedeh,32 years, Iranian asylum seeker, who on 3 Novemebr 2002 committed suicide in protest to the rejection of his asylum application by UNHCR, died in the hospital of Eskeshir on 18 November 2002. It is a tragedy and a deep grief. Kamran loved his life in spite of all difficulties. But unfortunately he did not get the chance to enjoy it. The Islamic regime of Iran is blamed for kamran´s death.If it wasn´t because of this regime Kamran would have not left Iran in the first place. In the same time, we believe that UNHCR could have prevented his death if it would have taken his word seriously when he said UNHCR has left him no other choice but to commit suicide.
Kamranm was not the first and will not be the last. UNHCR has full responsiblity to minimize the risk of such a incident by adujusting its harsh policy toward the Iranian refugees and changing the procedure in dealing with their cases and in the way they are treated.

We are well aware that UNHCR, due to its limitations, is not able to protect all who have forced to leave their countries. But there must be some way out from this circulation. We are sure you believe, as UNHCR does, that Such incident should be prevented in future. We believe that "committing suicide" is not the answer to the problems. But we must understand that a person who intends to commit suicide is not in a situation to think weather he is acting wrong or right. He does it becuase he sees no other way out from the problem he is founding himself in. There have also been cases who have been executed in Iran after that their refugee status rejected by UNHCR in Ankara and deported to Iran by Turkish police.

In order to make distinguish between who is in need of protection and "who is not", We believe, UNHCR is to establish a trusting and sympathetic bridge with the refugees. According to a research that our organisation has carried out last in 2001 almost 87% of the Iranian refugees do not feel comfortable when they are holding interview at UNHCR. For this very obvious reason, they are not able to express themselves properly. The problem begins right from this point. Mistrust repalce the trust and confidence disappears.

We believe that UNHCR is to change its vision and its way of handling the refugee problems by establishing a trusting and sympathetic bridge with saylum seekers. Refugees should have easily access to UNHCR, its employees and social duty workers. Most of the people fleeing from their coutries, are traumatized by one or another reason. They should have access to housing, to medical and trauma centers. The childern should be able to go to school. More responsiblity and struggle for the rights of the refugees are what we suggest to UNHCR even if they have not been granted status by UNHCR. Changing legal procedure will definately be helpful.