Press Release
November 3, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 639:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the Interpol Red Notice vs. Ms. Bahareh Zare Bahari


Right to non-refoulement, or the right not to be returned to a country where one would be at risk of persecution or faces threats to his or her life or freedom for reasons of, among others, political opinion.

This well-recognized principle under international human rights law should be foremost in the minds of relevant authorities - DOJ/BI and DFA - in tackling the situation of Bahareh Zare Bahari, a former Iranian beauty queen and now a dental student here in our country. She's now a subject of an Interpol Red Notice issued by Iran, and being held at NAIA for possible deportation to Iran.

Ms. Bahari claims that it's her activism and criticisms of the Iranian government, and her advocacies for human rights and gender equality, that made her a target of persecution from her own government. She further claims that the charges filed against her in the Philippines and Iran, which gave rise to the Interpol Red Notice, were all trumped-up.

I urge our authorities to seriously consider Ms. Bahari's application for asylum anchored on her political beliefs. I also urge the CHR to look into her case in keeping with its role as the constitutional monitor and protector of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, nationals and non-nationals alike.

Our domestic statutes, notably the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 (R.A. 9745), have formalized the applicability of non-refoulement in our jurisdiction. The right of non-refoulement is prominently listed as among the rights of refugees in the Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Bill I filed last Congress, and refiled this Congress (S.B. 379).

Let's do the right thing in the name of human rights. Let's uphold and defend Ms. Bahari's right to non-refoulement. Let's save her from repression. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 639, here:

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