Saturday, 14 August 2010

Ignorance and the UN Threaten Plato's Legacy

On July 28, 2010, Hamid Sadeghi, an Iranian refugee sealed his lips together using a thread and needle, and with a compatriot commenced their hunger strike in protest after their asylum applications were rejected. Such is reminiscent of a scene from a horror movie where mouths of victims are sewn together. What could have driven such a desperate individual to such extreme measures? The tyranny and oppression of the IRI has caused record numbers of Iranians to flee Iran in hope of finding sanctuary by claiming asylum in other states. In Athens, Greece, these desperate asylum seekers demonstrated outside the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Giorgos Tsarbopoulos, head of the UNHCR in Athens, stated the refugees’ despair ‘stems from the enduring problems of the asylum system.’ He promised that the UN refugee agency would resume its role in assessing asylum applications if the government re-establishes appeal committees.

Why did Mr Tsarbopoulos present such a comment? The United Nations have endorsed a cumbersome and overly bureaucratic process in addressing individual claims for asylum by people who desperately fled their country. In Turkey, for example, asylum seekers have to obtain a visa to remain there whilst the UN addresses their claim. Because the procedure is so cumbersome, the asylum seekers have to renew their visas every six months in order to remain without being deported. They fund their own visas, without any assistance from the UN or Turkish authorities. Furthermore, they are not granted work permits; therefore they are denied practical opportunities to earn money in order to sustain themselves until the UN completes their case.

The UN website reveals that the average annual salary for an official at the UN is $100,000. With so much money going into the UN, why are desperate asylum seekers left to fund their applications and not permitted to earn a living in order to maintain themselves? Is this not tantamount to a breach of the human rights law the ‘International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966’; namely Article 6 right to work and gain a living through work? Turkey has ratified this legally binding instrument of human rights. For these refugees, the situation in Greece is not much different.

In a statement released by the UNHCR on 5th August, 2010, it was made clear that the UNHCR could not “help them at this stage, since there are no committees to examine their claim”. What benefit does the $100,000 annual salary of UN officials serve when ‘there are no committees’ to help such destitute refugees?

It has been reported that on 13th August, police in Greece arrested the concerned Iranian asylum seekers. Their arrest was encouraged by the Iranian Embassy, which happened to be the neighbouring building; the staff at the IRI embassy clapped when the police brutally removed the silent and hungry demonstrators from the steps of the UN building – the gateway of the international community. Their tents and placards were also confiscated by the authorities.

Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of reported torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment perpetrated by the Greeks against asylum seekers. On 27 October, 2009, BBC News reported that a UN expert on torture, who had seen pictures of the alleged abuse on the young Kurdish asylum seeker in question, said: "The bruising... looks fairly typical of what are known as 'tramline' bruises that result from a beating with a round or square section of rod or stick”.

Fashioning a heavy sense of disappointment, one expects a lot more from a nation whose history and civilization revelled in the methods of the intellect and philosophy, rather than engage in brutal and ignorant savagery – Plato, your legacy is threatened by ignorance’s corrosive erosion.


  1. Well said. But you should be more assertive on these animals.

  2. Very well said. I love the last paragraph. Greece has totaly lost the civilization once they cherished, long long time ago. Now they are as uncivilized and brutal and ignorant as the blood sucker turks in turkey (ottoman) as the shitty UN.

  3. I am sorry for the aggressive language but I am too angry and let down by this crimes going on in the world against Iran and the Iranian people by the nasty and greedy politicians who shake the bloody hands of this regime.

  4. Interesting read.

    Muks - DXB