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Iranian beauty queen granted refugee status



An Iranian beauty queen seeking asylum in the Philippines has been granted refugee status and is now allowed to go out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where she has been staying since Oct. 17.

Bahareh Zare Bahari, who represented Iran at the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila, and who has studied dentistry in the Philippines since 2014, has been held for a week at the airport after Iran sought an International Police Organization Red Notice on her for assault charges.

Bahari’s counsels from Martelino Bacungan & Associates said their client sought temporary shelter in a local hotel.

In a notice of recognition order dated Nov. 6, the Department of Justice informed Bahari that she is “recognized as a refugee under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.”

Under the terms of the notice, Bahari is entitled to the issuance and stamping of 47(b) visa on the passport and the issuance of an Alien Certification of Registration I-card free from payment of alien registration and immigration fees.

“If you intend to work, this Office can provide you a certification for exemption on Alien Work Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment,” the notice said.

The notice was signed by Senior State Counsel Rosario Elena A. Laborte-Cuevas of the DoJ’s Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit.

The RPPSU also told the beauty queen that it has informed the Bureau of Immigration that she has been granted refugee status. The BI was also instructed by the RPPSU get her fingerprints, stamp on her passport a 47(b) visa, as well as issue an ACR I-card.

She said the assault charges are false accusations and she will either be killed or jailed for a long period of time if she is returned to Iran. Bahari said she being targeted by the Iranian government for her political views and violating her country’s traditions, including her taking part in the beauty pageant. (Jeffrey Damicog and PNA)