Refugee Council response to murder of Iranian asylum seeker, Tayman Bahmani, in Sunderland on 28 August 2002

30 Aug 2002

Nick Hardwick Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Tayman Bahmani who was murdered in what the police believe to be a racially-motivated attack. We hope they and the local Iranian community receive the support they need to cope with this tragedy and develop a safe environment for refugees living in that area.

"Many local people in Sunderland have extended a warm and welcoming hand to asylum seekers dispersed to their area and are deeply shocked by this terrible tragedy.

"Sadly, this tragedy has not come as a complete surprise to us. We have been warning for years about the correlation between the constant reiteration of asylum seekers as a "problem" and the interpretation of this message on the streets.

"It is clear to us that many people are very unclear who refugees are and why they are here and this is because they are not being presented with the facts. We not only have a legal obligation to protect those fleeing persecution but a moral obligation based on shared common humanity. Refugees make immense contributions to our society and we urge Government at a national and local level to help refugees integrate and be treated with decency and compassion."

Ends

Read the BBC's online report on the stabbing.