Archive for the ‘Asylum Seeker’ Category

Norway threatens to deport Asghar Hedayati to Iran. Please stop his deportation
Thursday, January 28, 2010, by EveryOne Group

A letter to His Majesty The King Harald V of Norway , the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the Chief Justice Topre Schei, the minister of Justice Knut Storberget, the Immigration Appeals Board of Norway – Utlendingsnemnda and the Norwegian Ministers and Parliamentarians.

28th Jan 2010

His Majesty The King Harald V the King Of Norway
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
Minister of Justice Knut Storberget
The Immigration Appeals Board of Norway
Honorable Norwegian Ministers and Parliamentarians


The European Parliament
The European Commission

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Your Majesty,
Honorable Sirs,

we are contacting you to request your assistance on a very urgent case involving Asghar Hedayati a gay Iranian, who is currently in Norway. We received some information about him through the IRanian Railroad for Queer Refugees, based in Toronto, Canada.

Asghar Hedayati is a citizen of Iran, with case number DUF 2003 046 114 08. He escaped Iran in 2003 because of his well-known fear of persecution on basis of his sexual orientation. He applied for asylum in August 2003, but the Norwegian Government unfortunately denied his asylum status for several times and he is now at risk for deportation.

His asylum judge said that he can live in Iran if does not ‘come out’, which is against fundamental human rights. We would like to express our deep concern about his situation, as he will experience imprisonment, torture, and even execution upon his forced return to Iran.

We are urging you to reconsider this case under the spirit of respect for human rights and we are requesting you to grant Iranian queer refugees the full state of asylum in Norway because there a lot of evidence that Iranian queers in Iran are threatened because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Yours sincerely,

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro,
Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson
EveryOne Group

See Also:

Montag, 5. Oktober 2009 (Photo Reuters)

Franco-British Charter to Kabul: The Odious Show Continues

By No Border 09 Lesvos

A Franco-britannique deportation “charter” is scheduled for October 6 flying to Kabul. While the humanitarian situation and security continue to deteriorate in Afghanistan, that there has more civilian casualties than ever, and NGOs such as the Secretary General of UN expressed particular concern about the situation, France and Great Britain are trying, as they did in November 2008 with a joint operation. Afghanistan is a country at war. It is unacceptable to refer those that have fled to seek protection in Europe.

In France the Minister of immigration is mocking the decision of different courts to release 130 OF the 138 Afghans who had been arrested on September 22, for their removal, with the spectacular closure of the the largest “jungle” in Calais.

These courts have highlighted the inanity of this media operation recalling the respect of the people rights and fundamental freedoms Several courts have cancelled the papers obliging the migrants to leave the French territory (APRF) with the motivation of the non respect of the right to claim asylum. The government has not remedied this.

The government remains locked in his rhetoric about the magnetic effect of the jungle, according to which Afghans, Eritreans, Iraqis, Iranians, Sudanese, etc.. don’t come to Europe to save their lives and their freedoms, but for reasons of pleasure and comfort. According to this rhetoric, the current raids are supposed to carry disincentive messages in the countries of origin. So it like this that the Afghans of Calais are being taken hostage to try to terrorize their fellow victims of violence in the country.

These “cleaning operation” are continuing as well as the placement of Afghans in detention .

The joint charters which are contrary to the principle of collective deportation. They are leading to arbtitrary discriminatory and inhuman practices , in defiance of peoples fundamental rights.

We call upon the French and the Britsh authorities to waive any project of deportation to Afghanistan which would seriously endanger the lives of the Exiles.

We reaffirm the urgency of making sense of asylum in Europe by providing a mechanism for all refugees to seek protection in the country of his/her choice. In the meantime, that France can and must suspend the application of the Dublin Regulation so it may host on its territory those who continue to flee conflict and take refuge in Europe.

Cimade Julie Chansel 06 82 24 03 47

Full Article


mehdin1We request your assistance with an urgent case involving Mehdi N., a 29-year-old gay Iranian who seeks asylum in Germany.

Mehdi N. escaped from Iran at the beginning of 2007 due to his well-known fear of persecution on the basis of his sexual orientation. He stayed in Istanbul, Turkey for six months, but was unaware of his ability to apply for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey. At that time, he was also uninformed about the existence of the IRanian Queer Railroad and our ability to support him.

Mehdi N. was lonely in Turkey. His biggest fear was that Turkish police would arrest him and deport him back to Iran. Eventually, someone took him to Germany where he sought to claim asylum.

“When I got to the airport, I introduced myself to police. I told them that I am gay and am seeking asylum. The police officer then shouted, ‘what are you doing here?!’ I feared death, and then started to cry,” Mehdi N. wrote in his letter to the IRQR.

While in Iran, Mehdi N. was forced to live in the closet, hiding his sexual identity from his family and society. He was raped by his boyfriend and sexually abused by his boyfriend’s friends. Mehdi N. was forced to have sex with his boyfriend while the friends filmed the action using a cell phone camera without his knowledge or consent.

“They sent the clip of me having sex with him to others. Many of my friends who received the video had no previous knowledge about my sexual orientation. I was in a very risky situation. They sent the clip to my family as well. I prefer not to talk about the experience and what I suffered,” Mehdi N. said.

He still cannot disclose his sexual orientation in Germany. He fears deportation because his claim for asylum has been refused several times. If deported back to Iran, he will face persecution, punishment, or even death.

“In Iran, one of my biggest challenges was having to deny my sexual orientation. Now, in Germany, the hardest challenge is to prove it,” Mehdi N. said.

At court, Mehdi N. was ridiculed and disparaged by his judge.

“The judge asked me how it was possible that I could be a 28-year-old gay man without my family knowing about it. I explained that I was good at denying my sexual orientation and was careful to avoid consequences from my behavior. The judge explained to me that in Germany, if a man does not have a girlfriend, everyone knows he is gay. I replied that circumstances are not the same in Iran, but unfortunately he didn’t believe me. The judge said ‘I have had many gay people come here and sit in front of me. They looked like gays, but I do not have this feeling about you,’” Mehdi N. said.

After his trial, Mehdi N. received a letter from the court, which said that his refugee status was not granted. He must now leave Germany.

Mehdi N. should be granted refugee status by the German government, because upon his forced return to Iran, he will face imprisonment, torture, and even execution. On February 10, 2009, the European Commission affirmed that persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation is a legitimate justification for an asylum claim. The Commission has confirmed that there is “an obligation on Member States to grant refugee status to persons who are found to have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of membership of a particular social group, including a group based on a common characteristic of sexual orientation.”

“They used to pay me 176 Euros for food and daily expenses, but they have no subtracted 41 Euros as a fine. I live off of just 135 Euros per month. Most importantly, I am suffering here,” Mehdi N. said. “There are about 70 people living in this home. Every few days, they come to deport some people back. I expect death whenever I hear someone knocking on the door. I have no permission to leave this city, no rights to have a bank account, no rights to travel, and no rights to do anything. I do not exist in Germany. I just want to be a free human without any fear of persecution or punishment.”

Mehdi N. is in an unjust situation and needs your urgent action. Please show your support by writing to the Deutsch government to urge them to grant refugee status to Mehdi N. You may copy and paste the sample letters (below) into an email and send it to the provide emails below or you may write your own letter in support of Mehdi N.

Send your letters to:

BMI – Federal Minister of the Interior Mr. Wolfgang Schäuble

Address: Alt Moabit 101 D10559 Berlin

Phone: +49 3018 681-0

Fax: +49 3018 681-2926


BMJ – Federal Minister of Justice Ms. Brigitte Zypries:

Address: Mohrenstraße 3710117 Berlin

Phone: +49 1888 580-0

Fax: +49 1888 580-9525


European Justice & Human Rights Spokeswoman Ms. Sarah Ludford:

European Parliament, Brussel

Phone: +3222847104

Fax: + 3222849104


Please CC IRQR for tracking purposes. Thank you for your support.

In addition, if you or your organization is interested in hosting an event to support Mehdi and other Iranian gay refugees, please contact Arsham Parsi at as soon as possible. Thank you for your support.

Related Article:

IRanian Queer Railroad – IRQR
(001) 416-548-4171
414-477 Sherbourne St.
Toronto, On – M4X 1K5

– – – – – – Sample Letter – – – – –


To: Minister of Interior, Mr. Wolfgang Schäuble,

Minister of Justice, Ms. Brigitte Zypries,

European Justice & Human Rights Spokeswoman, Ms. Sarah Ludford,


Subject: Germany threatens to deport Mehdi N. to Iran – Urgent need for action

Dear Ministers,

I am contacting you to request your assistance on a very urgent case involving Mehdi N., a gay Iranian, who is currently in Germany. I received some information about him through the IRanian Queer Railroad, based in Toronto, Canada.

Mehdi N. is a citizen of Iran, with case number 5265469-439. He escaped Iran in early 2007 because of his well-known fear of persecution on basis of his sexual orientation. He applied for asylum in July 2007, but the Deutsch Government unfortunately denied his asylum status and he is now at risk for deportation.

His asylum judge did not believe that he was gay due to the fact that he didn’t look like other gay individuals and the fact that Mehdi N.’s family was unaware of his homosexuality. I would like to express my deep concern about his situation, as he will experience imprisonment, torture, and even execution upon his forced return to Iran.

I am urging you to reconsider this case under the spirit of respect for human rights and I am requesting you to grant this person the full state of asylum in Germany.




“John Bosco Back in UK” by Paul Canning.

LGBT Asylum News has been informed that Ugandan gay asylum seeker is back in the UK.

Bosco was the Mister X who a judge recently ordered the Home Office to return to the UK.

He returned to the UK on Friday 6 March and was immediately taken to Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre, which is near Gatwick airport.

The judge had said that the Home Office “deliberately misled” Mr X and effectively deprived him of his right to seek legal advice before his removal.

Their actions were calculated “to avoid any complication that could arise from his removal becoming publicly known”, said the judge.

In a statement seen by the court Mr Bosco said that, last September, he was deceived into thinking he was being taken from Tinsley House immigration removal centre for an interview with an immigration officer.

Instead, without warning, he was taken in a van by four security men to a plane.

He said that when he resisted leaving the van he was handcuffed, punched in his private parts to make him straighten his legs so they could be belted together. Crying, he was lifted on to the plane and flown out of the country.

His mobile phone had been taken from him and he was given no chance to contact friends or lawyers, even though Home Office rules required that he should have 72 hours’ notice of removal to give him a chance to make calls.

The judge said he was also satisfied that the actions of the Border Agency officers were “deliberately calculated to avoid any complication that could arise from Mr Bosco’s removal becoming publicly known.”

The judge said agency officers must have known the 72-hour requirement was designed to provide an opportunity for a person being removed to have access to a lawyer for legal advice and possibly for the courts to become involved in the case.

Mr Bosco first arrived in the UK in September 2001 and worked here for some seven years before being earmarked for removal after the failure of his original asylum claim.

Michael Woolley, the coordinator of the Haslar Visitors’ Group that represents the interests of asylum seekers, said: “The way these arrests are carried out is disgraceful, without any chance to put affairs in order.

“John has signed regularly at a police station for years, and there is no reason to think he would abscond. Yet he was given no notice, no opportunity to pack a bag, to say goodbye to his friends or to sell his car.”

Bosco has been working with mentally ill people in Portsmouth while his application to stay in the UK has been heard.

He fled to the UK from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal and carries a punishment of life in prison.

His case has attracted publicity in Uganda.

Mr Bosco said in a statement seen by the court that, on his return to his homeland, his circumstances had become “quite desperate”.

He had been beaten up during a period in detention and he had now gone into hiding to avoid being interviewed by the police about his homosexuality.

The judge said the evidence before him made it perfectly plain that Mr Bosco had come to the notice of the authorities, and this had added to the risk of his human rights being breached by reason of his homosexuality.

In rejecting the Home Office’s argument that it was safe to return Mr Bosco to Uganda, the judge said: “I find it impossible to conclude, on the basis of the evidence as it now is, that there is not the real possibility that a judge might find that he is at risk if he is returned (to his homeland) by reason of his homosexuality.”

Another Uganda gay asylum seeker Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker Prossy Kakooza recently won her case to stay in the UK.

She was handed over to the police by her own family and was raped and tortured by the police. The Home Office denied her asylum claim on the basis that they were ‘the random action of individuals’.

A supporter of John Bosco said regarding Kazooza and the situation in Uganda:

“This would be a defensible argument if the men in question had been prosecuted by the authorities. They have not.”

LGBT Asylum News Original Article


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 ::

See also:

pillsA Glance at Iranian Queer Asylum Seeker’s life in England (December 2, 08)

Translated by Ava

At 2 am on Saturday 15th November, Saeed attempted suicide by swallowing many pills. He was taken to the emergency room at the hospital. He was in critical condition and in a coma. Due to his comatose state the doctor did not wash out his stomach. They could not give him a vomit-inducing agent because of the potential danger. The deep coma could prevent him from vomiting. Since he had overdosed and the amount of pills he had taken was so large they did not want to take any risks.

They transferred Saeed to ICU so he could be placed in intensive care. They attached an oxygen mask to him until Sunday morning close to noontime when he gained consciousness. The risk of side effects to the kidney and lungs was high so they kept him under treatment and monitoring. He was given antibiotics to prevent infection.

Later in the day they transferred him to a different section where his medical treatment continued and he was placed under supervision of the mental health team to make sure he would not try to escape.

Around 5 in the evening the mental health team came to see him and after speaking to him decided to transfer him temporarily to the Mental Health Hospital so he could be watched over incase he made another attempt at taking his life. On Friday he was transferred to the Mental Health Hospital where he resides at the moment and is under surveillance.

At this point I should mention that in the past few months Saeed has been under intense emotional stress. He was dealing with the uncertainty of his refugee application and being ignored by Home Office. On the other hand he didn’t have a work permit and received little money from *social office*. He applied multiple times for a driver’s license and was refused because he did not have a passport or visa. He had a difficult time in the house he had been given, as his housemates would ridicule and belittle him because of his sexuality. This caused him to complain repeatedly to the office that supported him but they did nothing. (Paolo is aware of this situation)

Let me remind you of the background details of Saeed’s situation in case you don’t remember:

In 1999 when Saeed was 36 years old, due to his homosexuality and the problems it created for him in Iran, he fled Iran and went to the UK where he applied for refugee status. But his claim was ignored until in 2003 they rejected his appeal in court without granting him a lawyer, cut all his support, and gave him a deportation order. Numerous lawyers refused to take on his case until it gained some attention and was picked up again and pursued until, as you know, in 2006 Home Office arrested him and took him to a detention centre in Oxford. He was there for 10 days. With much support including those of IRQR and other friends they released him but without providing any support or work permit. They also demanded that once a week he goes to London to sign documents attesting to his presence.

A few weeks later, after he had requested that they space out the times he was required to provide a signature, Home Office sent Saeed a letter informing him that during the appointment they have given him officers will be going to his home and tagging his feet. (This is a police foot tag with radar and security alarm, which goes off if the person wearing it walks beyond the geographic limits legally assigned to him. If home office wants to arrest that person they locate him through the radar and publically embarrass him by turning his alarm on.)

Saeed was suffering from extreme skin allergies, which his doctor assigns to a reaction to metal, or any other potential allergenic triggered by the emotional and psychological pressures he is dealing with. Saeed’s doctor sent a letter to Saeed’s lawyer and to Home Office, preventing them from attaching the tag on Saeed’s foot.

After a long time of being homeless and sleeping on the street Saeed received some financial support and was given a place to stay. His housemates made his stay there unbearable. Moreover, ever since Saeed’s release from detention centre right up till this very day, every letter his lawyer has sent to Home Office has gone unanswered. Home Office does not respond at all and their dismissal of Saeed is very hard on him.

All these pressures and the toll of not seeing his family for 9 years caused him to try and end his life.

I visit him every day but he is not emotionally stable and says he does not want to live anymore. He doesn’t regret his attempted suicide and is likely to try again at any moment if he finds an opportunity.

This is why they have taken him to the Mental Health Hospital so they can control him and protect him so he will not have personal freedom and access to things he could use for suicide.

A friend of Saeed

More informations:

IRanian Queer Railroad – IRQR
PH4-150 Graydon Hall Drive
Toronto, Ontario
M3A 3B3 Canada

cyprusflag5Iranian homosexual threatened with deportation to Iran – Urgent need for action

By KISA – Action for Equality Support Antiracism

Mr Abbas Bagherian Noveiri, citizen of Iran, came to Cyprus and applied for asylum in June 2004 and for the last three years he has been living with his Cypriot partner. Mr Bagherian had an initial interview at the Asylum Service in July 2005. At the interview, He was not able to reveal that the genuine cause of his persecution in Iran was his sexual orientation, because he was afraid that this information would have been leaked to the Iranian authorities and in case of a rejection of his application for international protection, he would face, upon his forced return to Iran, imprisonment, torture, even death sentence.

Mr. Abbas Bagherian informed the Asylum Service of the above and in April 2007 he had another interview at the Asylum Service. During his interview, Mr Bagherian informed the Asylum Service that he was a homosexual and that he was arrested and detained at the age of 15 by the authorities of Iran because of his homosexual relations. In addition, Mr Bagherian informed the Asylum Service that he had been arrested four or five times by the authorities of Iran, during which he had been detained and beaten up.

Mr Bagherian also informed the Asylum Service that he was afraid that in case he returned to Iran, the Iranian regime would arrest, torture and execute him. Despite this, on April 2007 the Asylum Service decided to again reject his application for asylum.

In May 2007, Mr Bagherian filed an appeal at the Refugee Reviewing Authority against the decision of the Asylum Service. In October 2008 the Refugee Reviewing Authority rejected his appeal.

At present, Mr Bagherian is considered to reside in Cyprus “illegally”. As a result, he was arrested and now held in detention with detention and deportation orders issued by the Migration Officer and could be either detained indefinitely (according to national law) or deported to Iran any time.

Unfortunately, in Cyprus there are no judicatory procedures for the examination of the substance of the decisions of the Refugee Reviewing Authority. If Mr Bagherian files an appeal at the Supreme Court of Cyprus against the decision of the Refugee Reviewing Authority, the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to examine only the procedures used by the Refugee Reviewing Authority for the examination of his application for asylum.

In light of the above, we believe that both the Asylum Service and the Refugee Reviewing Authority have unjustifiably rejected Mr Bagherian’s application for asylum.

Moreover, we believe that Mr Bagherian’s case raises serious concern about the fairness and effectiveness of the asylum procedures in Cyprus.

With this letter we urge you to send a letter to the Minister of Interior and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (see below their contact details) expressing your solidarity to Mr Bagherian and requesting his immediate release.

Warm regards

Doros Polykarpou

Director of KISA

– – – – – – Form Letter – – – – –

7 November 2008

To: Minister of Interior, Mr Neoklis Sylikiotis,

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Marcos Kyprianou

Subject: Iranian homosexual threatened with deportation to Iran

Mr Abbas Bagherian Noveiri, citizen of Iran, came to Cyprus and applied for asylum in June 2004 and in July 2005 had an initial interview at the Asylum Service. At the first place, because of his fear, he didn’t draw the attention to the Asylum Service about his homosexuality but in April 2007, informed the Asylum Service that he was a homosexual and that he was arrested and detained at the age of 15 by the authorities of Iran because of his homosexual relations. The authorities also arrested and detained him four or five times beaten him cruelly. Despite this, on April 2007 the Asylum Service decided to again reject his application for asylum. In May 2007, he filed an appeal at the Refugee Reviewing Authority against the decision of the Asylum Service. In October 2008 the Refugee Reviewing Authority rejected his appeal. As a result, he was arrested and now held in detention with detention and deportation orders issued by the Migration Officer and could be either detained indefinitely (according to national law) or deported to Iran any time.

Dear Minister, we’re urging you to re-examine this case under the spirit of the respect of human rights and we’re asking you his immediate release and to grand this person the fully state of asylum.


– – – – – – – End of Form Letter – – – – – –

Minister of Interior

Mr Neoklis Sylikiotis

Dimostheni Severi ave

1453 Nicosia

Phone: 22867600

Fax: 22676709


Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr Marcos Kyprianou

Presidential Palace ave,

1447 Nicosia

Phone: 22401200

Fax: 22663649


Anti-gay graffiti on a Jamaican wall.

Gays seek asylum outside Jamaica

Gays living in Jamaica face difficulty reconciling two parts of themselves—being gay and being Jamaican.

Homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica, and considered a sin by church-going Jamaicans. Pastors rail against homosexuality from the pulpit, reggae lyrics glamorize gay killings and sodomy laws make homosexuality punishable by a 10-year prison sentence of hard labor.

A video captures the story of a gay Jamaican police officer and his search for asylum in Canada.

The “Jamaica Views blog” questions whether discrimination is getting worse and suggests that the situation can only improve when churches, schools and society as a whole reform their teachings.

Last May, Jamaica’s prime minister said he would not allow homosexuals into his cabinet. Jamaicans reacted to the prime minister’s public anti-gay declaration.

According to Immigration Equality, a New York-based national organization that works to seek asylum for persecuted gays, each month brings new stories and different versions of the same crimes — murder, attacks, beatings — against gays by Jamaican citizens and police. There has also been little effort by the government to outlaw the “buggery” or sodomy laws.

Jamaica’s intolerance for homosexuals and severe anti-gay record have proven to be grounds for gays to seek asylum in Britain, Canada and the U.S. Gays make up a small percentage of 12,000 asylum cases won in the U.S. every year.

October is LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] month in the U.S. To celebrate, “Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica: LGBT Blog” remembers Brian Williamson, a gay activist and J-FLAG founder, who was murdered in 2004.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Chrysaora under a Creative Commons license.

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.