Pegah Emambakhsh Has Finally Been Granted Permanent Asylum in the United Kingdom


Pegah, the Iranian lesbian, has finally been granted permanent asylum in the United Kingdom.

By EveryOne Group

EveryOne Group and Friends of Pegah: “A historical victory for refugees’ rights, but now we have to block the illegitimate deportation of people persecuted because of their sexual leaning, race or ethnic group”.

EveryOne Group, Assist and the Friends of Pegah Campaign association have finally received some long-awaited news where the rights of refugees are concerned: Mrs Pegah Emambakhsh, who took refuge in Sheffield (England) in 2005 after fleeing from Iran to escape stoning due to her homosexuality, has finally been granted refugee status in the United Kingdom. “This is extremely important news”, comment the activists of EveryOne, “because when we took on the responsibility of initiating the “flowers campaign” Pegah’s fate seemed decided. In the summer of 2007 the campaign for Pegah’s life promoted by EveryOne saw the participation of thousands of people, who sent flowers and letters of support from all over the world to the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, where Pegah was awaiting her transfer to the airport from where she was to fly back to Teheran, and the executioner.

“Twice we were able to stop the flight to death, while the movement to save Pegah’s life grew day by day. The campaigners were joined by GLBT associations, the Radical Party, European political parties and intellectuals – but most of all by a multitude of citizens from all five continents who appealed to the United Kingdom to save Pegah, and to Iran to interrupt its persecution of homosexuals, dissidents and minorities”. Pegah’s case, and that of Mehdi Kazemi (another case taken up by EveryOne), was at the base of a resolution by the European Parliament which led to a significant change in the UK’s asylum laws.

“The flowers campaign for Pegah’s life and later campaigns which allowed us to block some deportations,” say the activists, “were made possible thanks to the receptiveness of the British institutions, who always pay great attention to the cases put to them by human rights groups. In each case the British Embassy in Rome acted as mediator with the British Government and facilitated the successful outcome of cases where the requests for asylum had been turned down by the immigration office. Pegah’s case has not only changed the destinies of homosexual refugees, it has also helped people who have fled from countries where horrific humanitarian tragedies are underway, like Annociate Ningaparitse and Alvin Gahimbaze from Burundi. Our group was not only able to block their deportation, it was also able to show the British Government the dramatic humanitarian situation in Burundi, which led to the consequent extension of humanitarian protection rights”.

And now the British Government has officially granted Pegah permanent asylum on British soil: a ruling that marks an important step forward in the field of refugees’ rights.

“We share this success with EveryOne, the associations, the politicians and the Friends of Pegah who have made this fantastic result possible,” comments Leslie Boulton, the president of the Friend of Pegah Campaign association, with enthusiasm and emotion. “It is a really wonderful event and a reward for the hard work we carried out, side by side, to prevent Pegah being deported back to Iran”.

EveryOne Group is at present in contact with the British Embassy in Rome, with the British Border Agency and with the government authorities appealing for humanitarian protection for G.B., a young homosexual who fled to the UK from Iraq where, since 2001, homosexuality has been punished by execution. G.B. is being helped in the United Kingdom by the Iraqi LGBT association. “The reason given by the Immigration Office for turning down his appeal is paradoxical,” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, leaders of EveryOne. The authorities, in fact, have explained their decision by stating that a homosexual person can avoid becoming the victim of Iraq’s discriminatory laws and the death sentence simply by “being discreet about his or her sexual conduct’”.

“Even if we ignore the fact that people should be free to manifest their lifestyle as they see fit without having to fear repressive actions due to the discriminatory laws in force in their own country, the decision of the British Government (if carried out) would still put the Iraqi’s boy’s life in danger as he is already known to be a homosexual by the Iraqi authorities. And is it right to expose a homosexual refugee to the death penalty if his sexual preferences happened to be discovered?”

In the next few days EveryOne will be sending the UK Government a dossier testifying to the conditions of discrimination and persecution that homosexuals are subjected to in Iraq.

Gruppo EveryOne

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527 (+ 39) 331-3585406 ::

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