MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has granted refugee status to Iranian beauty queen Bahareh Zare Bahari, who had sought asylum in the Philippines for fear of death or detention in her home country.
In a document dated Nov. 6, 2019, Bahari was "recognized as a refugee under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol."
The DOJ said they have notified the immigration bureau of the development.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said being a refugee is the status accorded under international law to one outside his or her country of nationality (or if without nationality, his or her habitual residence) because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted on account of race, religion, and others.
Asylum, meanwhile, is the protection given to that person by the country in which the application for recognition as a refugee is filed.
The beauty queen was held for more than a week at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while waiting for the processing of her asylum request filed by her lawyer with the Philippine government.
Bahari, who was Iran’s representative in the Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageant held in Manila, arrived in the country from Dubai on October 16.
She was held on the basis of a red notice from the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for allegedly assaulting a fellow Iranian.
Bahari earlier said she believes a high-ranking official of the Iranian Embassy in Manila was closely monitoring her activities in the country for leading several anti-government activities in her home country for the promotion of human rights and women's rights.
She also claimed that the charges filed against her in the Philippines and in Iran were all trumped up.
- with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News