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Iranian Refugees Sew Lips Together, Go on Hunger Strike

Iranian Refugees Sew Lips Together, Go on Hunger Strike

A large group of asylum-seeking Kurds in Stockholm have gone on hunger strike with some sewing their lips together in a desperate attempt to try and stop their removal to Iran.

The men and women, who are also with their children, have been refusing food since September 25th.

They are political activists who have worked hard for human rights and for introducing democracy in Iran. As a result of their activities and their membership in various Kurdish political parties, they were forced to flee Iran and take refuge in Sweden.

Despite having been in the country for up to eight years, and despite having photos and documents from the Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that confirm the obvious threat to their lives, the Swedish Migration Board has rejected their applications to stay in Sweden.

Their condition is deteriorating for every hour that passes — five men have already collapsed from hunger and been taken to the hospital.

One of those who sewed his lips together said:

“I am not treated as a human being. Most of us here have the same problem. The Migration Board does not understand our situation, they refuse to listen. We want to know why we have been refused a residence permit. Everybody here would rather die of starvation than be sent back.”

“We have begged and shouted, but the Migration Board has not listened. Now we will silence our voices, perhaps then they will listen.”

One of the photos pinned to a tent in which they are staying shows a Kurdish teacher in Iran, Farzad Kamangar, surrounded by some twenty children. Kamangar was executed three months ago for having taught the children to read and speak Kurdish. Another picture shows another Kurd, Shirin Alanholi, who was executed because she wanted freedom and democracy in Iran.

The Iranian Penal code detains and prosecutes political refugees who are returned to Iran.

Last year the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg ruled that Sweden’s deportation of an Iranian was in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite this, Sweden has repeatedly made unlawful deportations.

Last December, I reported on how the removal by Sweden of a lesbian Kurdish couple from Iraq had only been stopped by an ECHR ruling.

Iranian refugee activists have also been engaged with protesting the removal of asylum seekers from Norway, and abuse of Iranian refugees in Cyprus. In July, Cypriot police officers and other Cypriot authorities violently assaulted a group of Iranian and other refugees, including a 72-year-old man, held in Larnaca detention center. Neither the government of Cyprus nor the UNHCR has taken any substantive action.

Iranian refugees in Greece have also gone on hunger strike in protest at their treatment and sewn their lips together. Refugees in Athens and other Greek cities have suffered repeated and violent vigilante attacks.

Sign the petition to save asylum-seeking Kurds from deportation.

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Photo credit: Mission Free Iran

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51 comments

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3:34PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Iranian government is on the verge of going down...I support all political refugees who put their lives in danger for their cause

10:55PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

Katheleen S.: I understand your frustration, but the U.S. HAS taken in MANY refugees. My town alone hosts quite a few. Sweden is not alone in carrying the burden. Your country has it's own racist issues to deal with. No country is perfect.

10:47PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

Such beautiful eyes and a handsome man. The Kurds are originally from Persia, they have Persian blood. They have been between one country and another for a long time now, and have been beaten by all sides.

11:05AM PST on Nov 8, 2011

I wish some day this would be over all around the world .

2:25PM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

What would Jesus do?

12:01PM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

Thanks for this. I've signed the petition.

4:09AM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

To be honest I don't underestand that this is happening in Sweden. Our northern brothers and sisters are usually much more lenient and humane to the immigrants, than us here in Denmark. That is why due to our catostrophal immigration plight mand the unfair rulings thereof, people are forced to move to Sweden to be able to bring their husbands and wives in family reunion.

Sounds a little to me that once again, the scapegoat Iran is being presented in an unfair light to justify the plans of the US to take over yet another Muslim country to benefit their own greed.

11:06PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

Thanks. Signed petition.

6:58PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

any word on progress?

2:02AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

I am very disappointed by the lack of participation in this petition. I know why..... it's just a pity people are so judgemental and don't try to find out more about the truth...

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