Report: U.N. needs access to Iran refugees

Dec. 14, 2012 at 8:13 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch issued a report Friday asking Turkey to allow officials from the U.N. Human Rights Council to interview Iranian refugees in the country.

The report, written by Faraz Sanei, the Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch said it is vital for U.N. special rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed to have access to the refugees to learn more about the human rights conditions in Iran, Today's Zaman reported.

Turkey should "allow Shaheed access to the country in his official capacity so that he may meet with Iranian refugees and document cases of rights abuses per his mandate," the report said.

The Iranian government has not allowed Shaheed to enter the country, so he has had to conduct his investigation in France, Germany and Belgium, where there are many Iranians,Today's Zaman said.

A UNHCR report in April 2012 said there are 5,736 Iranian refugees in Turkey, making up about 22 percent of the country's total refugee population.

The report also called on Turkey "to create conditions that will allow registered asylum-seekers to live and work comfortably while they are waiting for resettlement to a third country."

Not allowing refugees residence permits and making them pay residence fees prevents them from access to healthcare, education, social assistance and employment, the report said.

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