Afghans condemn Iranian police after refugees killed in car blaze

Iran says about 2.5 million Afghan migrants, both legal and undocumented, live there. Above, Afghan returnees at a transit center in Herat after arriving from Iran in this January 3, 2019 photo. (AFP file photo)
Short Url
Updated 06 June 2020

Afghans condemn Iranian police after refugees killed in car blaze

  • Footage posted on social media showed a boy escaping from the blazing car with burns on parts of his body

KABUL: Afghans have taken to social media to denounce Iranian police after a video of a car carrying with Afghan refugees set ablaze in Iran went viral, arousing new anger weeks after Afghan officials accused Iranian border guards of drowning migrants.
Afghanistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday three Afghans were killed and four injured in Iran’s central Yazd province after their vehicle was shot at by Iranian police, triggering the fire.
Video footage posted on social media showed a boy escaping from the blazing car with burns on parts of his body and begging for water. The ministry said the video was genuine and Afghans in Iran were trying to identify the victims.
The boy’s plea of “give me some water, I am burning” was widely circulated on social media and taken up by rights group demanding justice.
“Iran has no right to kill Afghan refugees, they can seal their borders, expel all Afghans but not kill them,” said Ali Noori, a lawyer and rights activist said on Facebook.
Afghans have for decades sought refuge in Iran from war and poverty in their homeland.
Iran says about 2.5 million Afghan migrants, both legal and undocumented, live there. Facing its own economic problems worsened by international sanctions, Iran has at times tried to send Afghans home.
Last month, Afghan officials said Iranian border guards killed 45 Afghan migrant workers by forcing them at gunpoint into a mountain torrent on the border.
At the time, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi issued a statement saying only that the incident in question had taken place on Afghan soil.
Iranian embassy officials in Afghan capital, Kabul were not immediately available for comment on the latest incident.


I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

Updated 12 July 2020

I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

  • University president and UN human rights chief join condemnation of ‘incompetent’ government

BEIRUT: Beleaguered Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday defied a barrage of criticism to declare that his government alone ruled Lebanon and it was determined to implement reforms to resolve the financial crisis.

Diab dismissed as “fake news” reports that he was on the verge of resignation, and said: “Lebanon will not be under anyone’s control as long as I am in power.”

The prime minister spoke after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that Lebanon was enduring “the worst economic crisis in its history” and was “fast spiraling out of control.” 

She urged Diab’s government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to “the people’s essential needs, such as food, electricity, health, and education.”

Diab also faced harsh criticism from the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he was vice president and a professor before becoming prime minister.

BACKGROUND

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged the Lebanese government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to ‘the people’s essential needs, such as food, health and education.’

AUB president Fadlo Khuri said Diab’s government was the worst in Lebanon’s history in its understanding of higher education.

“I have not seen any shred of competence in this government since its formation six months ago,” said.

“The government owes the AUB $150 million in medical bills,” Khuri said, and he urged Diab to “at least discuss with us a payment timeline.”

Lebanon’s financial plight is illustrated by its currency, the lira, which has lost 80 percent of its value. 

The black market  dollar exchange rate on Saturday was 7,500, compared with the official rate of 1,507.

Bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund were suspended in a dispute over government debt, but Diab insisted on Saturday: “We have turned the page … and started discussing the basic reforms required and the program that the IMF and Lebanon will agree upon, which will restore confidence and open the door to many projects.”