Our committee member Soroush has finally been granted refugee status.
His is just one of many stories of those seeking asylum.
Read his story below.
‘I am 34 years old. I had a normal early life in one of the smallest cities in Iran, but started to think it wasn’t my ideal and that I had to raise my voice about what I believed; to say I am Kurdish, that I want human rights for my ethnic group, and for all Iranians, including the women. I did speak out: Why don’t we have the same rights as the other ethnic groups? Why are women treated as goods, without fundamental rights? But the authoritarian Shia Islam dictatorship in Iran isn’t interested in human rights. It requires everyone to accept everything it says without thinking. If you question, you are labelled as ‘fighting with god’, punishable by hanging.
I had to leave my country, and leave everything behind, to be safe. Had I stayed in Iran I’d be dead, like so many who have been killed by the regime. I arrived in Malta two and a half years ago, and applied for protection. I became a member of Humanists Malta, able to participate in their activities and share my ideas freely, which I could never do in Iran. I joined their committee in January 2023, and gained refugee status in July 2023, with their support. I am far from home and it isn’t easy, but after 2 and half years I can say Malta is a kind of home for me, and I appreciate the chance to live a new life.
I am grateful to have been accepted here, and want to continue my work with the humanists. Meanwhile the Iranian dictatorship continues its tyranny, supressing peaceful protests and arresting those who defy it, including women who reject the hijab. Iranian law considers acts such as insulting the prophet, apostasy, same-sex relations between men, adultery, and drinking alcohol as crimes punishable by death. Non-marital sex is criminalised with flogging if unmarried, death if married. As was recently reported to the UN, human rights in Iran are deteriorating, particularly for ethnic minorities, women and girls; and enforcement, including torture and execution, is becoming more and more stringent and cruel.’