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Experts address nexus between asylum and terrorism during the 39th Session UNHRC

Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) – A Side-event entitled 'Asylum and Terrorism' was held by Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) in collaboration with  European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), Himalayan Research and Cultural Studies, and European Centre for Information Policy and Security (ECIPS).

Experts addressed the issue of nexus between asylum and terrorism, the mutual effects, and the abuse of the right to asylum for spreading terrorist operation.

 

It is clear that the European Union is in direct breach of the 1951 refugee convention by hosting terrorists

Ricardo Baretzky, the president of European Centre for Information Policy and Security (ECIPS) said the situation in Idlib indicates the humanitarian crisis if the actors continue to play with human lives. It's unimaginable that there were more than 261 fatalities and no one took the responsibility. In 2015, a total of 211 completed, failed, or foiled terrorist attacks were reported by the EU states, resulting in 151 fatalities and over 360 people injured.

The provisions of the 1951 Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to those committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity.

It is clear that the European Union is in direct breach of the 1951 refugee convention by hosting terrorists and providing national refugees' status to terrorists during the period of 2013 to 2017 during the Syrian refugee influx to Europe.

 

Alleged nexus between migration and terrorism and the approach of the West

Research Analyst at European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) Ms. Danielle DePaulis stressed that as thousands of migrants fled their homes in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and more recently, Myanmar, the borders of Europe have found themselves adapting, expanding, and overflowed in attempts to accommodate those in need of being resettled. She highlighted that the main reason for such a large migration of people is because of terrorism and that terrorism is deplorable in all its forms and its effects on local populations is devastating. Ms. DePaulis elaborated that the effects of terrorism are not just contained to where it is occurring and has an impact globally – as one can see from the challenges Europe is now facing in trying to cope with the amounts of new arrivals within its borders. One of the biggest fears within Europe in correlation with the Refugee Crisis was that of radicalization of the refugees and, in turn, terrorism.

Ms. DePaulis also said that the main goal is to help those who are actually refugees. These people do need to be kept separate though. We need to think twice on how we allocate our budgets and where we decide to continue or stop funding or our attention. The main challenge in the detection of flagged suspects stems from little to poor data in EU information-sharing data bases as well as operational and technological capacities on the front-line staff in border states to put information to use in real time. Schengen border policies and management are crucial in order to address the challenges faced from the intersection migrants and terrorists. 

 

Asylum is granted only to individuals if they stop committing violence

Professor of Tehran University Dr. Alireza Ebrahimgol said that the 1951 Refugee Convention clearly states that the provision of this convention shall not apply to any person who has committed a crime against peace, a crime against humanity, or a war crime.

"Today we know what is the war crime, what is the crime against humanity and against peace, there are many international documents which refer to this concept and we have various and comprehensive case law from international courts." He added that António Guterres, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees had said asylum is not granted to a group, it is granted only to the individual and only if he has stopped committing violence.

 

Still members of terrorist groups are granted asylum

Ms. Mansoureh Karami, Vice-President of Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism emphasized that according to the 1951 Refugee Convention clearly states that the provision of this convention shall not apply to any person who has committed a crime against peace, a crime against humanity, or a war crime. But, in the recent years we see that members of terrorist groups have taken refuge in Europe and they even attend the international conferences which can be ridiculing international laws.

 

Contrary to UN Security Council in the 1373 resolution, some states are refusing to accept the international laws and grant asylum to terrorist offenders

Professor Warikoo, researcher at Himalayan Research and Cultural Studies stated that in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the articles of 1951 Convention, the right to asylum is guaranteed. UN Security Council in the 1373 resolution denied all the states of accepting the individuals who have committed terrorist crimes and take appropriate measures. But, some states are refusing to accept the international laws and grant asylum to terrorist offenders, and neglecting the consequences.

 

Mohammad Reza Kolahi, the perpetrator of Hafte Tir bombing resided in Europe with a fake identity

Mr. Paknejad, member of Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism pointed out the Hafte Tir bombing, killing his father and uncle in the incident, and added Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi, the agent of the terrorist act who escaped from Iran in 1980s, lived in Camp Ashraf for years and then migrated to Europe while his identity was unknown. In 2015, Dutch media released news about the killing of a person who was originally an Iranian. Recently media including Parole, Panorama, Crime Site, and even a governmental media said that the murdered person is Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi, the former member of MKO and the perpetrator of Hafte Tir bombing.

 

Dutch Judiciary officials should release the information of the background of Kolahi and the court for the victims of the Hafte Tir bombing

Ms. Hagh Panahi, another member of ADVT read a statement and proposed the following recommendations to solve refugee crisis.

  1. Defining and clarifying the boundaries of terrorism and political crime with emphasis on granting asylum,
  2. More emphasis on the verification mechanisms for granting asylum,
  3. Revision, amendment and transparency in laws to prevent the granting of asylum to terrorist offenders,
  4. Establishing more appropriate mechanisms for the extradition of terrorist offenders,
  5. Releasing the Mohammad Reza Kolahi's case file, the perpetrator of Hafte Tir bombing, by the Lelystad court and creating a situation for the families of the victims to file a lawsuit as a third party in the case.