Iranian Refugees Are Refused Asylum and Sew Their Mouths Shut in Protest

Iranian Refugees Are Refused Asylum and Sew Their Mouths Shut in Protest

In the last few weeks, many emigrants from countries in Asia and Africa have been refused access into Europe on the border between Greece and Macedonia.  Two weeks ago, six Iranians were not granted entrance into the Republic of Macedonia and sewed their mouths shut in protest.

Being refused asylum is a common occurrence for those not of Syrian descent. Asylum seekers from the countries of Bangladesh, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Iran have all been denied admittance at the Macedonian border.

Macedonia in relation to the Middle East (via worldatlas.com)
Macedonia in relation to the Middle East (via worldatlas.com)

In the past decade, political structure in the Middle East has experienced a complete upheaval.  Following the Invasion of Iraq in 2001 by the Bush administration, almost fifteen countries in the Middle East and Africa have become destabilized, civilians caught in the conflict between insurgent groups and harsh government retaliation.  In the last decade, Iran has been a temporary home for more than 800,000 people, most of whom come from Afghanistan.   However, Sunni Muslim refugees often feel unsafe in Iran. Iran is roughly nine-tenths Shia, and has recently been dealing with sanctions and the economic problems that impede the settlement of refugees.  For personal safety, many Sunnis have left Iran to come to Europe.

Since the original protests, little has been done to improve the treatment of impoverished migrants of non-Syrian descent. Although the problem may seem isolated to Macedonia, it is the entire E.U. that has turned a blind eye, and has even promoted the acceptance of only Syrian refugees. Selectivity speaks to the misconception that a nation-centered conflict only affects that nation. But in light of the ISIS’s growing operations in the Middle East, the E.U. must expect refugees coming in from not just Syria, but neighboring nations also impacted by ISIS operations. A true defense of international law and human rights calls for universal acceptance of refugees.

by Alex Small ’18