Thursday, 31 December 2009

Iran: 2010 New Year Resolution

Dear Friends,

In these last few days of 2009, I write to thank you all for what you have done for us here at Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR). I want to thank you for your support, your generosity, your activism, your spirit – and for your courage, which is the fuel of change.

 IRQR is working on about 250 Iranian refugee cases now. In the last twelve months 36 of our asylum applicants have been recognized as refugees, with 43 of them resettled in Canada, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands. We received 32 new cases in 2009.

This leaves about 200 refugees who are in a limbo situation – desperate today for aid in finding safe haven, legal support, or resettlement assistance.

In 2009, the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugee (IRQR) received its Canadian Federal Corporation status. We celebrated this important step because it helps us to expand the cause for Iranian human rights and to support those who escape Iran on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the past year, we helped vulnerable persons obtain their refugee status: Hassan got his status after a 20-year wait in the United States. We lobbied the German government who stopped Mehdi N.’s deportation and granted him refugee status. Pegah received a letter from the British home office that her asylum application had been accepted and that she would remain in England. There are other moving examples that you can find on our website.

With our recent incorporation and strong track record, our New Year’s Resolution is to expand our services - to help those who are waiting so long for their asylum, to help ensure their safety after escaping Iran, and to lobby European governments to review their outdated and often false reports on Iranian queer human rights – governments that must conduct new investigations through their embassies in Iran in order to help Iranian queer asylum seekers. Our executive director has a meeting with the office of the German Minister of Foreign Affairs in early January 2010 to ignite new progress in these reviews and updates from there.

We want your own New Year’s Resolutions to include your continuing involvement in our struggle and activism. You can support us much more easily than you think. By donating the equivalent of less than $1 per day, you can obtain full membership with IRQR – indeed, for less than your morning coffee.  Your support is easier to give than you think. In 2009, for example, a number of friends of Iranian queer joined our Refugee Sponsorship Plan to help some refugees with their basic needs. Also we were able to assist our refugees with more than $4000 in donations which we received from our worldwide friends.  This figure though invaluable is one we need to triple in order to make significant headway into resolving more quickly the awful situations so many Iranian queers endure.

We ask you to please make your New Year Resolution now by subscribing to our $1 per day support here

There is another option for you to donate $10 per month and support the Iranian queer cause, if you are otherwise unable to join the $1 per day support program. We appreciate all of your support - even if you just write a note of support to asylum-granting governments for us.

Happy New Year and we wish you all the best in 2010!

Arsham Parsi
Executive Director
Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees - IRQR


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