Call to Action for Two Gay Iranian Refugees in Turkey
We are contacting you to request your assistance on a very urgent case involving 2 gay Iranians, Reza and Kamal.
It is no secret that queer Iranians who flee to Turkey and other countries continue to face risks due to homophobia. This often results in depression and post traumatic stress symptoms. Reza and Kamal, a gay Iranian couple, fled Iran 2 whole years ago, but have still not received refugee status. The common complications that queer refugees experience are escalated for them because Kamal is seriously ill. Immediate attention by UNHCR is critical!
Please show your support by writing to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to urge them to expedite the refugee process for Reza and Kamal.
There are 2 ways you can help:
1. You may copy and paste the sample letters in English into an email and send it to UNHCR; OR
2. You may write your own letter in support of Reza and Kamal.
Send your letters to Turan@unhcr.org and please cc IRQO firstname.lastname@example.org for tracking purposes. You can also fax letters to UNHCR at 0090-312-441-1738 ATTN: Legal Department. If you choose to fax your letter, please email a copy to email@example.com.
Thank you for your support.
Reza and Kamal’s Story:
I, Reza, and my partner, Kamal, are 2 Iranian gay asylum seekers in Turkey. We have been waiting to complete our process for refugee status since December 9, 2006, and we have many problems. We fled Iran because of our lack of safety there. According to Iranian families, society and government, we could not live together freely, as a couple, in Iran.
We registered through the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara on December 12, 2006. The officers asked us to come back for legal interviews on September 6, 2007. We had to wait about ten months just for our legal interviews. Throughout this period, we had to pay all expenses, which was an additional problem for us. Now, ten months have passed since our legal interviews and we have still not received any answer from UNHCR.
Kamal is very sick. He has Diabetes Mellitus. Over the last few months, he has become worse than ever. He even has convulsions. His psychologist said stress and the effects of Kamal’s experiences in Turkey have had on him are causes of these hard convulsions. We are very connected and I now suffer from depression because I cannot bear to see Kamal sick and helpless. Kamal also contracted hepatalgia and has cardiac problems. He has poor vision now. I contacted the UNHCR but they only tell me to “just wait.”
We forwarded our entire medical files to UNHCR. After about two years of inquiring persistently for updates by mail, phone, and fax and sometimes in person, we still have no status. We do not know what we should do. We fled Iran because we lacked security and yet, our life here, too, is at risk. Who will be responsible if we get in trouble here? If Kamal passes away, who will take this responsibility? I ask everybody help. We just want a normal life, the same as everybody else, but we are stuck here.
Sample Letter to UNHCR
To United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-Ankara:
This letter particularly concerns the cases of Reza and Kamal with file numbers 385-06C03012 and 385-06C03015, respectively. Reza and Kamal completed their legal interviews on September 6, 2007, and are currently waiting for the commissioner’s decision. We, as supporters of queer Iranians, urge the acceptance of their applications for refugee status, as there is every reason to suppose that their lives may depend upon it. We are concerned about their physical and emotional states in Turkey, and urge you to bring them relief from the hard living conditions, which include unsanitary housing, lack of medical supplies and life expenses. Reza and Kamal are particularly affected because Kamal is seriously ill and needs urgent medical assistance.
We realize you have many refugee applicants that you must respond to. However, due to the exigent circumstances especially facing queer refugees, we urge you to assist Reza and Kamal, and grant them refugee status as soon as possible.
Your timely, informed and sensitive treatment of this case will be much appreciated.