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UNHCR Afghan refugee letter template

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UNHCR Afghan refugee letter template

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UNHCR Afghan refugee letter template

Country/Region: Afghanistan, South and East Asia

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Ms. Montserrat Feixas Vihe
Chief of Mission
UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees)
14 Jor Bagh, New Delhi - 110 003

Fax: 0091 1143530460

Tel: 0091 1143530428/ 0091 1143530424

indne@unhcr.org

and/or

Ms. Kiran Kaur
Refugee Senior Protection Officer
UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees)
14 Jor Bagh, New Delhi - 110 003

Tel: 0091 1143530428/ 0091 1143530424

Fax: 0091 1143530460

Email: indne@unhcr.org

I am writing to request that UNHCR reopen and reconsider the following refugee applications:

  1. Mr Rahimullah, his wife Rita, who have three children (UNHCR Ref # 07C01071)
  2. Mr Mir Mohammad Asef and his wife Bibi Aisha, who have two children (UNHCR Ref # 07C00996)
  3. Sisters Shazia and Sunita (UNHCR Ref # 07C01121)

I appeal to you in support of these applicants and ask you to sympathetically reconsider these refugee status requests on humanitarian grounds. As converts they risk arrest, torture and possible execution if denied refugee status by your office and returned to Afghanistan. Their status as converts from Islam is known and public, and Afghanistan has a well-known and recent history of hostility to apostates from Islam with the possibility of execution in accordance with sharia (Islamic law). The applicants therefore face a real and imminent threat to their lives.

The Afghan political establishment strongly disapproves of conversion from Islam. Following the showing of television programmes in May 2010 containing footage of alleged Afghan Muslim converts to Christianity, including scenes of baptisms, the government made its opposition clear to any Afghan becoming a Christian. On 31 May 2010 Abdul Sattar Khawasi, Deputy Secretary of the Afghan Lower House of Parliament (the Wolesi Jirga), openly called in parliament for the public execution of the Afghan Christians shown in the TV programme. The Speaker of the House echoed the general agreement when he said that "if there are genuine conversions, then we need to take it seriously." Since then there have been renewed arrests for evangelism and conversion, the highest profile recent examples being those of Said Musa and Shoaib Assadullah, who have suffered cruel and degrading treatment during their detention, as well as death threats. In 2006 there was the very high profile case of Abdul Rahman who narrowly escaped execution after major international pressure and was given asylum in Italy.

It should be noted that Afghanistan's official policy towards converts is contravening its own Constitution (Article 2). It also contravenes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18, and Article 7 of the Rome Statute International Criminal Court, to both of which Afghanistan is a signatory.

The six people in these three cases should be eligible for refugee status under Article 6B of the UNHCR statute which states that "a refugee is a person who is outside his or her country of nationality and is unable or unwilling to return because of well founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion" (my emphasis).

I would be grateful therefore if you could kindly reopen and reconsider the above-mentioned cases and grant them appropriate protection via officially recognized refugee status as per Article 6B of the UNHCR statute.

Yours sincerely,

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