Iranian asylum seekers in Turkey(5): “The refugees are not journalists only”!
In the series of interviews conducted by International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran with asylum seekers in countries neighboring Iran, this time we have talked to a journalist who left Iran due to difficult professional working conditions and for being in danger for his journalistic work. This journalist indicates that individuals who leave Iran have had to abandon their country under dire conditions, saying: “These people do not bring any clothing or money with them. This causes problems for them. They have to spend a lot of money on hotel accommodations while they wait for their UN interviews…This isn’t just for journalists. For example a couple have come with their two children and they have had to stay in a small town. They had gone to a religious town and the local police and residents caused some problems for them. They ran out of money. Journalists somehow manage to get some support, but things are different for other individuals.”
This journalist provides the example of another asylum seeker who had to work during the time he was waiting for his asylum application in order to make his ends meet. This man couldn’t work legally, so he had to work without insurance and security. He lost several fingers while on the job. The business owner could not provide insurance for him, either. He had to treat himself and continue to work with his injured hand.
According to this journalist, most of the available support is for journalists and political activists and assistance for other individuals is very limited, especially for people who wish to remain anonymous. He says that a political activist is engaged in plastic recycling in a town in order to earn a living. He says financial assistance for asylum seekers must be distributed in such a way so as to include these anonymous individuals, too.
He told the Campaign that someone needs to go and talk to these individuals and to gain their trust. He said one of the good things that has happened is that Iranians are collecting funds to help these people. There is an assistance fund for asylum seekers in the city of Van in Turkey. He also talks about Reporters Without Borders’ assistance for journalists. Different people from Italy and Norway have also contributed financially. He said women receive quicker interview dates from United Nations in order to end their asylum application cases more quickly.
This refugee said that several asylum seekers were faced with pressure from local communities in small towns. Some have been beaten up. He also told us about the refugees’ concerns about the third countries and their worries about their conditions in their destination countries. This means that these refugees have to somehow deal with financial problems while worrying about their future.