Iranian beauty queen granted refugee status in Philippines

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Iranian beauty queen granted refugee status in Philippines

(Philstar.com) – November 8, 2019 – 6:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has granted refugee status to an Iranian beauty queen who sought asylum in the country.

Bahareh Zare Bahari, Iran’s representative in the Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageant, applied for asylum in the Philippines, claiming she will be detained or killed if she is deported to her home country for breaking traditions and for speaking on women’s welfare.

In a decision dated Wednesday, the Department of Justice recognized Bahari as a refugee under the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

Refugees, according to the United Nations, are persons who are outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order and, as a result, require international protection.  

In a separate order, the Bureau of Immigration recalled the exclusion order issued against the Bahari after “finding no prejudice to State interest and for purely humanitarian grounds.” Exclusion pertains to the state’s refusal to allow an alien to enter its territory.

The 31-year-old Iranian beauty queen was held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport mid-October upon her arrival from Dubai on the basis of a red notice from the International Criminal Police Organization.

Bahari was accused of assaulting a fellow Iranian in the Philippines, an allegation she has denied.

She told the STAR that a “fake case” was made against her by the Iranian government. — Gaea Katreena Cabico