The International Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers
The pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government has generated a wave of Afghan people fleeing incoming Taliban rule. With the Taliban committed to governing according to fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, concerns are particularly heightened for women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, journalists, and those who supported the fight against the Taliban. Abroad, governments have debated whether and to what degree to accept asylum-seekers, with many seeking to either offshore asylum processing or contain refugees to the immediate region of southwest and Central Asia. For refugees who do make it out, the intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world’s regions in recent years—including the increasing political power of far-right nativist movements—has created new threats for asylum-seekers in their destination countries.
While politicians and analysts around the world bicker over responsibility and blame, Afghans scramble to exit before the full weight of the new Taliban regime comes down. Here is a collection of reporting on the conditions in Afghanistan for those needing refuge, which countries are offering haven, and reactions from the Afghan diaspora.
Leaks of executive compensation at state-owned firms led to controversy when local media revealed some business leaders were receiving dozens of times the amount of pay the average Iranian household received.
Iranian law dictates that the top government salary should not exceed seven times the amount of the lowest paid, but bonuses and additional incentives have at times been used to skirt that requirement.
Four public bank chiefs have been fired in the wake of the revelations as Iranians continue to wait for the economic benefits of the lifting of international sanctions in 2015.
Iranian pilgrims denied travel rights as diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues
Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced that Iranians would not be allowed to make the annual trek to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Relations between the regional rivals have deteriorated in the wake of Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, which led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Riyadh’s severance of diplomatic ties.
In September 2015, hundreds of Iranians were among the thousands killed in a stampede in Mecca, and the continued absence of an official Saudi report has exacerbated tensions between the two countries.
Iranian human rights activist languishes in jail as sentence expires
Bahareh Hadayat, an activist who spoke out on women’s rights issues and government suppression, was in and out of jail before being sentenced to sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail for threatening national security, insulting the supreme leader, and insulting then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Many expected parts of Hadayat’s sentence to be commuted, but police threats and Hadayat’s continued activism from behind bars have diminished that prospect.
Hadayat’s husband reports health complications have exacerbated the effects of Hadayat’s stay at the Evin prison, where around 18 other female political prisoners are held.
“The authorities have put pressure on us because of speaking out about Bahareh’s situation in jail. … They’ve threatened us, and have told her in jail that they’ll arrest me if we keep speaking out. They want to keep us silent.”
Iranian actor apologies after summoning by authorities following LGBT-supportive tweet
Bahram Radan tweeted in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage, leading to his summoning by Iran’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance.
The reaction to the U.S. ruling highlights the division in Iranian society and the diaspora over LGBT rights, seeing online debate stirred after many added Facebook’s rainbow filter to their profile pictures in solidarity with the decision and many others condemned the action.
Iran’s hardline conservative authorities have relaxed some punishments against homosexual acts, but they are still criminalized and treated as manifestations of mental illness.
“They’re afraid that people in Iran are beginning to talk about homosexuality as a sexual minority, not an illness, and they don’t want that to be normalised.”
Advocates and sports federation officials express unease at Iran’s equivocation on easing of restrictions on women’s attendance at sports matches
With Tehran set to host a world league volleyball match, the FIVB, the sport’s international federation, says it is committed to ensuring open, inclusive participation globally, though it has indicated no countermeasures should the Iranian government refuse.
Last week, Iran’s VP for women and family affairs indicated that women’s attendance would be limited to family members of athletes in a select set of sports, considered by many to be capitulation to the country’s vocal conservatives.
British-Iranian Ghoncheh Ghavami was jailed for nearly five months for trying to attend a volleyball match, leading the FIVB to state that Iran would not be eligible to hold international championships until the ban was lifted.
“The situation has got worse in recent years and hardliners have become more extreme on this matter but on the positive side, more people are aware of our cause now than ever before.”
The NY Times has published a graphically enhanced look at the global migration crisis that is being called the worst since World War II
38 million have been displaced within their own countries, while 16.7 million refugees have fled internationally.
Roughly 11 million Syrians and 3 million Iraqis have been internally displaced, while 4 million Syrians have left the country, straining the intake abilities of neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.
Approximately 25,000 Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants have been trafficked via sea in Southeast Asia, some finding conditional acceptance in Indonesia and Malaysia and others being repatriated.
To date, around 78,000 have traveled across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa and Turkey, fleeing violence, persecution, and poor economic prospects in North, West, and East Africa.
Finally, the conflict in Ukraine has displaced 1.3 million inside the country and sent 867,000 abroad, mostly to Russia with few European countries willing to accept them.
Israel nixes bus segregation plans, the U.K. takes strong stance against undocumented immigrant labor, Russian bill looks to criminalize abortion procedures, a British Muslim woman takes on ISIS through poetry, Ireland celebrates passing of same-sex marriage referendum, and 35 other stories in this week’s news rounds…Continue reading The Week’s Rounds→