DOJ grants refugee status to Iranian beauty queen

Published November 8, 2019, 5:46 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has granted refugee status to Iranian beauty queen Bahareh Zare Bahari, who has been staying at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 since October 17.

(Photo courtesy of law firm Marcelino Bacungan and associates)

“You are hereby informed that you are recognized as a refugee under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in a decision dated 06 November 2019,” read the letter dated November 6 addressed to Bahari and sent by the DOJ’s Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit (RPPSU).

The RPPSU also informed the beauty queen that it has already informed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) that she has been granted refugee status.

The BI was also instructed by the RPPSU to get her fingerprints, stamp on her passport a 47(b) visa, as well as issue her an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)-I card.

The RPPSU also recommended to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to issue her a travel document should she require it.

If she intends to work in the country, the RPPSU also assured her that “this Office can provide you a Certification for Exemption on Alien Work Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment.”

Bahari joined as a representative of Iran during the 2018 Miss International pageant held in Manila.

She was prevented from entering the country upon her arrival on October 17 due to an Interpol red notice due an assault case she facing in Iran that was filed by a fellow Iranian.

However, she claimed that it was a trumped-up assault case, and that 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.