Noruz appeal: IFIR & CHAIR
March 21, 1999
I am writing once more to wish you a happy noruz and request your support
for the critical work of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees
(IFIR) and the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees
(CHAIR). Over these years, you have seen our unrelenting defense of refugee
and human rights, a defense which has pushed back assaults on rights and
saved thousands of lives.
Though there have been times when we could not pay our phone bills nor
print Hambastegi, we have never turned anyone away nor neglected our duties.
It is amazing just how many people look to us as their main source of hope
and power - from political opponents, women fleeing stoning and violence,
workers, youth, children, Kurds, religious minorities, writers, film makers,
and all those targeted by the Islamic regime for just trying to live. It
is their protests that we have organized and defended. From Iraq to Turkey
to the United States we have made a tremendous difference in the lives
of innumerable human beings. Our successes have truly been successes for
In an era of unprecedented barbarity, join or strengthen a movement
which demands unconditional refugee and human rights.
Steering Committee Member, CHAIR
Deputy Director, IFIR
Yes, I want to take a stand with CHAIR and the IFIR. Please make checks
payable to CHAIR. Donations are tax-deductible. Enclosed is my:
Donation of: ____$25 ____$50 ____$75 ____$100 ____$250
Subscription to Hambastegi for: ____$15
Please fill out and mail to: GPO, P. O. Box 7051, New York, NY 10116
Web Sites: www.hambastegi.org
WHAT IS IFIR?
The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) is committed
to organizing the protests of Iranian refugees and asylum seekers in support
of political and social campaigns which:
· defend refugee and human rights;
· expose the Islamic Republic of Iran; · reveal the progressive
and modern character of Iranian refugees in contrast to usual negative
and reactionary portrayals;
· create a progressive environment among Iranians abroad; and
· place this force alongside the progressive forces in their countries
Hambastegi (Solidarity) is IFIR's bi-monthly publication which promotes
Established in 1990, IFIR is an international organization with over
40 branches in fifteen countries world-wide. Each branch promotes IFIR's
mission in its own country of residence. Any individual/organization
who/which believes in IFIR's mission can become a member and activist,
as long as s/he has not been involved in the repressive forces of the Islamic
Republic of Iran or monarchy. The IFIR Director, elected by branch representatives
in bi-annual conferences, provides political guidance and summons international
IFIR's accomplishments over the years are many. Recent examples are:
· International Efforts Against Turkish Government Successful,
September 1997: IFIR's campaign against the Turkish government's decision
to deport 600 asylum seekers succeeded in canceling their deportation orders,
gaining transit visas for those refugees who had been deported to Iraq
prior to the initiation of the campaign, and gaining exit visas for those
being transferred to a safe resettlement country.
· The Dutch Government Backs Down, October 1997: On October
20, 1997 a five-member IFIR delegation was invited to speak at a parliamentary
hearing about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' report on Iran which effectively
deemed Iran a safe country. In the face of strong opposition, including
mass demonstrations and a sit-in organized by the IFIR Netherlands Branch,
the Ministry called for an end to deportations until further investigations
were made into the situation in Iran.
· Iranian Refugees in Iraq End Successful Sit-in, September 1998:
Faced with local pressure from Iranian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan who
had organized a sit-in as well international pressure coordinated by IFIR,
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) finally addressed
the legitimate demands of the refugees. The UNHCR Iraq Branch Office agreed
to doubling food rations, providing medical and pharmaceuticals services,
expediting the determination procedures and resettling up to 2,000 refugees.
· The Anti-Refugee Policies of the German Government is Condemned,
September 1998: A protest campaign summoned by the IFIR German Branch
and three other organizations was endorsed by more than 200 organizations.
More than 30 thousand individuals participated in the actions which took
place in 36 cities throughout Germany.
· The Minister of Immigration Backs Down, October 14, 1998:
The Canadian Minister of Immigration formally opposed many items on the
"Not Just Numbers" Legislation, though she had initially supported
it. The legislation was to pass in May of this year but failed as a result
of national protests organized by the "Campaign Against the Federal
Government Attacks on Immigrants and Refugees," initiated by the IFIR
· Iran is Unsafe, Deportation Must End," November 16, 1998:
As a result of the IFIR Swedish Branch's protests, representatives of
seven parties in the Swedish parliament signed a recommendation stating
that Iran be deemed unsafe and that deportation to Iran be stopped.
WHAT IS CHAIR?
The Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees (CHAIR)
was created in 1992 with the mission to empower Iranian refugees and asylum
seekers to promote and protect their rights within a participatory framework,
locally and globally. CHAIR was founded on the premise that refugees and
asylum seekers who have access to resources and support they need for survival,
who are aware and informed of their rights and the root causes of their
problems, and who are organized in groups around mutual concerns, are empowered
to articulate and struggle for social changes.
In carrying out its activities, CHAIR employs several strategies, including
advocacy, education, organizing, collective power sharing and participation,
ongoing dialoguing and collaborative relationships with other organizations.
CHAIR has the following goals and objectives in its four program areas:
The Advocacy Program advocates for the general right to asylum for those
who have fled the Islamic Republic of Iran; for changes in structures,
policies and institutions that negatively affect refugee rights; and to
expose the root cause of Iranian refugee flow - the Islamic Republic of
Iran. Internationally, CHAIR works under the auspices of the International
Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) of which CHAIR is a member.
The Organizing Program aims to build a constituency base for collective
action against the Islamic Republic of Iran and anti-
refugee policies and practices to obtain solutions and power.
The Education Program aims to provide refugees and asylum seekers with
information on their rights, the refugee definition and procedures and
expose the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hambastegi (Solidarity), the International
Iranian Refugees (IFIR) publication, is also CHAIR's publication.
The Women's Program aims to raise awareness on the status of women in
Iran, advocate for gender-based asylum and expose the Islamic regime's
treatment of women. As a member of the International Campaign in Defense
of Women's Rights in Iran (ICDWRI), CHAIR conducts its international women's
rights work under the auspices of ICDWRI.