Iranian Refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan
Since the Iranian authorities won’t allow us to report from within Iran, this month we speak to several Iranian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan who were imprisoned in Iran for their human rights activities. Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan has become known for its economic growth, relative stability, and security, and is attracting investors, workers, and refugees from the Middle East and beyond.
The UN Refugee Agency told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that refugees in Iraq are free to travel, work, and get medical care. The agency also says winning refugee status can take six months. Resettlement to another country can require up to a year or more, depending on the governments that take in asylum seekers.
The UN Refugee Agency also added that the Campaign that the resettlement of refugees depends on the countries that show interest in accepting their cases, not on the governments of the countries that the refugees are fleeing.
The UN General Assembly and human rights groups have criticized Iran for restricting freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion. Iran has the highest per capita rate of executions in the world, and it holds hundreds of prisoners who have peacefully exercised their basic human rights. Iran often says these prisoners are threats to national security and has called criticism of its human rights record “political.”