The Head of the Office for Foreigners, a first instance authority, granted refugee status to Mr and Mrs H., who came to Poland with their 8-year-old son. The family decided to apply for international protection because they could not safely return to Iran.

While applying for international protection, the migrants referred to the fact that Mr H. had worked as a musician in Iran all his life. Meanwhile, the performance of non-religious music is considered by the Iranian authorities as incompatible with religion and thus constitutes a criminal offence. Mr H.’s musical instruments have been repeatedly destroyed and confiscated by the authorities. For that reason, Mr H. has also repeatedly been fined. As a result, he could not work in the profession of his choice and predilection.

In her application Mrs H. invoked the problems she experienced as a woman in Iran. She was repeatedly fined for wearing the hijab improperly, she was detained for this reason and experienced violence. She was also mistreated by her relatives. She could neither study nor work. Both Mr and Mrs H. had no prospect of improving their situation in Iran.

During the proceedings, an employee of the Office for Foreigners interviewed the migrants, in the presence of a Farsi interpreter. They presented evidence from reports of international organisations, in particular, highlighting the difficult situation of women in Iran. They also referred to the UN Fact-Finding Mission stating that institutional discrimination against women and girls enabled human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the context of recent protests[1].

After almost one year after having submitted their application, Mr and Mrs H. were granted refugee status in Poland. The Head of the Office for Foreigners considered that they met one of the conditions set in the Refugee Convention for granting this status. They can now safely build their life in Poland.

The migrants were supported by the trainee attorney-at-law Magdalena Fuchs and the case worker Elena Efimova from our Association.