Policymaking framework and refugee rights in Iran, focusing on the refugee status determination

Document Type : Call for Special Issue on "Migration Policy"


1 M.A International Law, Master student at Human Rights Programme, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany

2 M.A,. International Law, M.A. the European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR), Oldenburg University, Germany


The right to seek asylum is an inevitable right of every asylum seeker under international instruments, including the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. This right includes the duty and responsibility of the receiving States to consider the request and determine the status of asylums. Since the Convention has not specified how this right should be granted and has made it an internal power of States, this matter is affected by States' policies. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has developed a Refugee System Determination (RSD) to identify the situation of these asylums. However, parties to the Convention are not legally binding to follow this system. As one of the most crucial host countries to asylum seekers, Iran has a council for determining the refugees' status, a census system, and a temporary residence permit (Amayesh card). Since the enjoyment of any assistance depends on individuals' legal and residential status, it is essential to assess the situation of more than half a million new arrivals right after the Taliban takeover. Based on relevant legal instruments, this study will evaluate the legal framework of refugee law in Iran through a qualitative research method based on a literature review and discuss the necessity of RSD policymaking. The findings suggest that the lack of adequate laws and accumulation of regulations in the executive bodies have complicated these migrants' current and future conditions. Moreover, not issuing an Amayesh card for newcomers and undocumented migrants is one of the most critical challenges of the current system. Evolution in this system determines the status of many migrants and decreases the additional burden due to the presence of undocumented migrants. This will also maximize the protection of refugees' and migrants' rights.


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