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    Iranian refugee groups occupy UN office

    INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF IRANIAN REFUGEES (IFIR)

    Press Release

    THE SURVIVORS OF TWO DECADES OF REPRESSION IN IRAN WILL NOT ALLOW THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT TO DEPORT ASYLUM SEEKERS TO PERSECUTION

    On February 4, 1999, at 11:10am, the International Federation of Iranian Refugees - Netherlands Branch and several others refugee groups occupied the office of the United Nations in the Hague for several hours. The occupation was in protest to the January 22 discussions of the Dutch Council of Ministers regarding the new report on Iran from the Minister of Foreign Affairs which cites only certain categories of persons as "still running the risk of persecution."

    Though riot police were called in, the refugees maintained their ground. A UN official was forced to enter into discussions with representatives of the protesters, one of whom was Malihe Binesh, the IFIR-Netherlands Branch Director. Binesh proclaimed that refugees and their supporters would not cease their protests until the government:

    1. Canceled the report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that effectively deems Iran a "safe" country;

    2. Ceased the deportation of Iranian asylum seekers;

    3. Re-opened all rejected casefiles; and,

    4. Recognized the undeniable right to asylum for Iranians.

    In 1997 and 1995, similar attempts were defeated through the organized struggle of Iranian asylum seekers and their supporters. In 1997, IFIR and its Netherlands Branch organized a sit-in and mass demonstrations, and spoke before the Dutch parliament. The Dutch government's attempt to once again negate two decades of terror and cruelty and deny any other form of persecution in the brutal Islamic Republic of Iran is outrageous - especially in light of the recent assassinations.

    The Dutch government, eager to build economic and political relations, has taken the racism and deception of its previous report to new heights. Now, the torture, execution, and gender-apartheid capital of the world is effectively "safe" for political opponents, workers, women, youth, and children. It seems that in their Iran, "intellectuals, homosexuals and Baha'is" only still run the "risk" of persecution.

    Presumably, most of the 4,600 Iranians in central and regional "reception facilities" won't face such "risks." It was our collective efforts that forced the Dutch government to retreat in the past. Join us to put an end to their masquerade once and for all. Support this important struggle by organizing actions and by sending protest faxes and letters to Dutch government officials and embassies in your countries of residence. The Dutch government must be reminded that it cannot play with the lives of human beings.

    SAMPLE LETTER

    Het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    The Netherlands
    via fax: (31) 70 348 4848

    De Minister President W. Kok
    The Netherlands
    via fax: (31) 70 365 18 08

    A. H. Korthals
    Minister of Justice
    M. J. Cohen State
    Secretary of Justice T
    he Netherlands
    via fax: (31) 70 370 79 37
    http://www.minjust.nl/

    Stephen van Wersch
    First Secretary
    Netherlands Embassy
    via fax: 202-364-4213
    e-mail: wersch@oo.was.minbuza.nl

    I am / my organization is outraged that the Dutch government has once again effectively deemed Iran "safe." The Dutch government must address the legitimate demands of Iranian asylum seekers and:

    1. Cancel the new report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that effectively deems Iran a "safe" country;

    2. Cease the deportation of Iranian asylum seekers;

    3. Re-open all rejected casefiles; and,

    4. Recognize the undeniable right to asylum for Iranians.

    I / my organization await (s) your action in this life and death matter for countless individuals who have fled the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Sincerely,

    Name Address
    E-mail CC: ifiric@aol.com

    For more information contact:

    Maryam Namazie
    GPO, PO Box 7051
    New York, NY 10116
    Tel: 212-747-1046
    Fax: 212-425-7260
    E-mail: ifiric@aol.com

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