UK – Petition: “Urgently Review the Way LGBT Asylum Seekers Are Treated” on Downing St Website

UK – Petition: “Urgently Review the Way LGBT Asylum Seekers Are Treated” on Downing St Website

Text of the petition :
In the light of the cases of Pegah Emembakhsh and Mehdi Kazemi, Iranian LGBT asylum seekers, who sought asylum in the UK, we call upon the Prime Minister for an urgent review of the treatment of all LGBT asylum seekers. In particular we think that the following are needed for fair treatment –
1. Compulsory training for all asylum staff on sexual-orientation and trans-awareness.
2. Explicit instructions to all immigration and asylum staff, and asylum judges, that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum.
3. Clearer and up-to-date guidance from the Home Office for asylum judges to reflect the accurate scale of LGBT persecution throughout the world using expert information from NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
4. Legal-aid funding for asylum claims needs to be substantially increased.

Submitted by Phelim Mac Cafferty, Amy Kennedy and Nigel Tart – Deadline to sign up by: 05 February 2009


Petition on Downing St website calls for review of gay asylum policy – Pink News
By Phoebe Ferris-Rotman • August 6, 2008

LGBT Greens have launched a petition on the Downing St website to push urgent review of Home Office approaches to asylum for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people.

The political group wants compulsory training for all asylum staff.

Earlier this year, gay rights groups were taken aback by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s assertion that gay men and lesbians who are “discreet” are not in danger in Iran.

The Iranian regime’s record of brutality towards sexual minorities is well-documented and the Islamic nation regularly uses torture and the death penalty.

The issue has not only been taken up by various LGBT equality rights groups such as the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration group, but has also attracted attention in the US.

In April, during the race Democratic nomination for President, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s campaign teams both condemned Gordon Brown and the UK government policy to deport LGBT people to countries where they face persecution, citing the controversial case of gay Iranian teenager Medhi Kazemi.

Phelim Mac Cafferty, media spokesperson for LGBT Greens stated: “After much campaigning on the issue since the cases of Iranian LGBT asylum seekers Pegah Emembakhsh and Mehdi Kazemi came to light, we have got clearance from the web team on the Prime Minister’s website for our petition.

“We now challenge the government to start treating LGBT asylum seekers with the fairness that they deserve.

“These are people who’ve often fled persecution, rape and torture who flee to our country and our response is to lock them up like criminals. We say enough is enough of this inhumane policy- we need to stick our necks out now and stand up for LGBT asylum seekers.”

The petition also calls for explicit instructions to all immigration and asylum staff and judges that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum.



  1. Good news. The need for greater education and awareness on the part of asylum staff is long overdue.

    British Home secretary, Jacqui Smith’s unfortunate comment about “discreet” homosexuals avoiding trouble in Iran, suggests that a closeted Iranian gay community, too fearful to draw attention to itself, is something desirable.

    Surely the focus of the British government should be on human rights abuses in Iran and on holding Ahmadinejad’s feet to the fire on these and other LGBT issues, rather than suggesting that there wouldn’t be a problem if Iranian gays would just stay inside the closet.

    By sending this signal Ms Smith is inadvertently
    disempowering the struggle for homosexual rights in Iran – the wrong signal to send to Ahmadinejad.

  2. First there were the people of England who were tired of the King’s tyrannous rule. They were persecuted and beaten down until they moved away to form America. Then there were the Continental Natives(Indians). White people beat them down and persecuted them and stole their land from them, forcing them onto Indian Reservations. Then there were the Africans. White men brought them to America as slaves and beat them down and persecuted them. During which, all this time, women in general were beaten down and persecuted for their gender. Now that all of this has been put beyond us, aside from a few select bigots, the white man, joined by the Native American and African American, and women, and those of all races, have chosen now to pick on someone else. Who? Homosexuals. Why? The human race has a terrible need for self destruction. It’s time to let go of that hatred.

  3. Omar Kuddus

    Gayasylum UK wants more to sign petition to Gordon Brown.
    The campaigning group Gayaylum has already called on all those moved by the plight of the 19-yo Iranian Mehdi Kazemi to support other lesbian and gay asylum seekers at risk of return to torture and possible death.
    The group is calling on all British people outraged by government policy to also sign the petition to Gordon Brown (at
    This petition, established by Durham Methodist minister Walter Attwood, says: ‘we the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop deporting gays and lesbians to countries where they may be imprisoned, tortured or executed because of their sexuality’.
    The petition has 3051 signatures but needs many more to achieve significance in the Number Ten petitions system, established by Downing Street to affect and inform policy.
    The group has also established an international petition to support Prossy Kakooza, a 26-year-old lesbian woman seeking asylum in the UK. She fled Uganda after suffering vicious sexual, physical and verbal attacks due to her sexual orientation. Her application has been refused with Prossy being told she can return and ‘be discrete’ when this is not an option in Uganda.International petition for Prossy
    We are also highlighting the cases of:
    * Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian threatened by the British government with deportation to torture and possible death by stoning.
    * Gay Syrian refugee JoJo Jako Yakob, who fled his homeland two years ago after being arrested, shot and beaten.
    * Babakhan ‘Babi’ Badalov, a target of repression and persecution as an openly gay radical artist and poet in Azerbaijan.
    Their claims for asylum have all been dismissed.
    There are many more LGBT asylum seekers in the UK that need support and help in fighting their case for Asylum in the UK.

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