Mehdi Kazemi, Gay Iranian Refugee, EveryOne Group: “United Kingdom Is a Danger for All Refugees”
Sunday, March 9th, 2008
GAY IRANIAN REFUGEE, EVERYONE GROUP: “UNITED KINGDOM IS A DANGER FOR ALL REFUGEES”
REPORT WILL BE PRESENTED IN EUROPE
THE UK HOME OFFICE: “GAY PEOPLE CAN RETURN TO IRAN, IF THEY ARE ‘DISCREET’”
In an article published on Friday March 7th 2008, in the The Independent, Simon Hughes, leader of the Liberal Democrats and the party’s Shadow Leader in the House of Commons, stated: “The Home Office claims that a gay person can return to Iran and avoid persecution by being “discreet”. All advice suggests that in Iran, to be discreet means that you would have to deny your identity. The punishment for giving in to personal feelings might well be nothing less than torture or death”.
The same theory had was pointed out by the members of the NNRF (Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum) years ago: “The Home Office claims that if a gay person is less obvious about being gay or lesbian they won’t attract the attention of their persecutors,” writes Richard McCance on the refugees’ association’s website.
The EveryOne Group, that, since its launch, has promoted, along with the Non-Violent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, and the Nessuno Tocchi Caino and Certi Diritti associations, a campaign in support of its member Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, is going to present a written deposition to the European Union objecting to the UK Home Office’s behaviour towards refugees claiming asylum.
“Mehdi absolutely has to stay in the Netherlands. It has been shown that the United Kingdom operates an out-and-out persecutory policy towards refugees, especially homosexuals” affirm the EveryOne Group’s leaders Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau. “The Home Office’s statements are serious, and contrary to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is to be hoped that European Authorities urgently intervene in this situation”.
“In 2004, a 29-year-old Zimbabwean, Thando Dube, was at death’s door, following a 33-day hunger strike in a UK detention camp. Her crime? Thando was a lesbian who fled to Britain to escape the well-known persecution of LGBT people in Zimbabwe. “Her asylum claim was refused,” it’s written in the EveryOne Group’s report. “In September 2003, Israfil Shiri, a gay Iranian asylum seeker, died after pouring petrol over himself and setting himself on fire in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester, after his asylum claim was refused (in the lower and appeal court) and his deportation to Iran, where he would-have-been hanged, had been arranged. In April 2005, 26-year-old Hussein Nasseri shot himself two weeks after his asylum claim was turned down by the Home Office, refusing in this way to let himself be killed by Iranian executioners”.
However, according to the EveryOne Group not only homosexuals suffered from the British Government’s indifference: Burhan Namig, born in 1980, was deported on September 5th 2006 from the United Kingdom – where his asylum claim had been refused because “not at sea” – to Kurdistan, despite falling into a deep depression and attempting suicide. On arrival in Kurdistan, Burhan had a heart attack, as a result of the inhuman treatment received in a British detention centre. In February 2007, at least two Iraqi Kurds were deported in secret from United Kingdom to the North of Iraq on a military plane carrying medicines and other humanitarian supplies, this despite the ongoing violence in Iraq, after American military actions, and despite the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq being subject to continuous terrorist attacks and serious human rights abuses. “We take a robust approach to people who are here illegally” a Home Office spokesperson told IRR (Independent Race and Refugee News Network) last year.
The latest case is that of Ama Sumani, a 39-year-old Ghanaian woman, studying in the UK, who was diagnosed with a malignant tumour that couldn’t be treated in Ghanaian hospitals. Her asylum claim was refused by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the woman was removed, against her will, on January 9th 2008, from University Hospital, Cardiff, in a wheelchair, and repatriated. According to the Home Office, this was all carried out with “politeness and dignity”.
“All this demonstrates how the United Kingdom’s and its Home Office’s behaviour represent a danger for all refugees, all the more so for those such as Mehdi Kazemi or the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakshs, who face capital punishment because of their homosexuality” conclude Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau. “We ask the Dutch Authorities to immediately grant Mehdi refugee status, to avoid another life being destroyed because of the demonstrable and incontrovertible attitude of the UK to violating refugees’ rights. Finally, we ask the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to look out for the rights of refugees currently in the United Kingdom, who come from nations where they risk persecution, in order to prevent any abuse, violation and/or unjust deportation”.
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