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“Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in the EU Members States” by Olivier de Schutter
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More informations : Solidarité Internationale LGBT
Gay refugees face prejudice across the world
15th April 2008 18:20
Biplob Hossain, a gay refugee from Bangladesh who is seeking asylum in Australia, and Joaquin Ramirez, facing deportation to El Salvador, have highlighted the plight of gay men who flee their countries to escape persecution.
Mr Hossain, 25, moved to Australia on a student visa when he was 19.
He applied for asylum on the basis that he would suffer persecution in Bangladesh. He was placed in a detention centre for 29 months.
After three rejections by the Refugee Review Tribunal and a failed High Court bid, Mr Hossain is hoping for a personal intervention from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans.
He was released from Villawood Detention Centre in October 2006, but is not allowed to work or collect social security benefits.
Sandi Logan, a spokesperson for the Immigration Department, told Australian SX News:
“A person’s sexual orientation does not of itself enable that person to be granted asylum.”
“We provide protection for asylum seekers under the UN definition of a refugee, under the Convention 67 protocol, which doesn’t include their sexual orientation or their fears of persecution associated with that orientation.”
Bangladeshi law states that gay sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and life imprisonment.
The national law itself is rarely directly enforced however there have been numerous reports of incidents of vigilantism.
People suspected of homosexuality have also been sentenced to death by a fatwa.
Meanwhile, in Canada, a gay man is facing deportation to his native El Salvador where he claims that three police officers who raped him are now out to kill him.
Joaquin Ramirez, a 39-year-old HIV-positive man said the accused perpetrators have visited his family and threatened to kill him because he infected them with the HIV virus.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board doubted Mr Ramirez’s claims, asking why he did not seek legal support in his own country when the incident occurred.
Mr Ramirez told Canadian newspaper The Star:
“How could I go to the same people and ask them to protect me when it’s those people who did this to me?”
Mr Ramirez worked as a volunteer outreach worker with the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Salvadoran Network of People Living with HIV.
He said he was picked on by three drunken officers at a restaurant in 2006 and driven to a plantation field where he was allegedly beaten and raped.
Five months later he claims a stranger called his sister and threatened to kill him for infecting them with the virus.
The refugee didn’t believe Ramirez left El Salvador because of the alleged assault as he had already planned to leave in November 2005.
The two stories come just weeks after the much published case of Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi.
Mr Kazemi came to London in 2005 to study English but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.
The UK rejected his first asylum plea, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now granted him a temporary reprieve from deportation while she reconsiders his case.
In 76 countries people face jail for having gay sex.
Homosexual acts officially carry the death penalty in several nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen.
In many Muslim countries, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment.
In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws.
Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural pointing out that the Qu’ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love.
However, this position remains highly controversial even amongst liberal movements within Islam, and is considered beyond the pale by mainstream Islam.
The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which means that it has a responsibility under international law not to return refugees to a place where they would face persecution.
Par Antonin Sabot | Etudiant en journalisme | 15/04/2008 | 16H04
Le fichier informatique Ardoise permettra de préciser si une victime, un témoin ou un suspect est homosexuel, SDF, syndicaliste…
Pas encore en service, le prochain système d’exploitation des données de la Police, baptisé Ardoise fait déjà débat. Recueillant les informations lors des enquêtes de police et de gendarmerie, il devrait remplacer les actuels logiciels Stic et Judix. Lundi 14 avril, le Collectif contre l’homophobie (CCH), basé à Montpellier, a saisi la la Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations (Halde) et la Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (Cnil) pour s’opposer à sa mise en oeuvre. L’association dénonce un recueil abusif de données à caractère personnel par ce logiciel.
Lorsque les fonctionnaires rempliront le ficher Ardoise, une fenêtre s’ouvrira leur demandant de spécifier “l’état de la personne”. Etat qui pourra contenir des données personnelles comme savoir si elle est homosexuelle, handicapée ou représentante syndicale; quel que soit son rapport avec l’affaire en cours, simple témoin, victime ou suspecte.
Averti par des fonctionnaires de police en formation sur Ardoise, le Collectif contre l’homophobie s’inquiète de la possibilité de création de fichiers catégoriels. Pour l’association, la police doit qualifier des faits et non pas “profiler des personnes”. “Rien n’exclut qu’ici où là quelqu’un fasse des extractions des données”, explique Hussein Bourgi président du CCH:
De son côté, le ministère de l’Intérieur joue l’apaisement. Selon lui, les fichiers Ardoise ne contiendront pas d’informations qui ne figuraient pas déjà dans le logiciel Stic employé jusqu’à aujourd’hui. En effet, ces fichiers contiennent bien une entrée “état de la personne”, mais qui n’était remplie que pour la victime et le suspect. Ardoise ne serait qu’une modernisation des précédents logiciels et permettrait l’unification des données détenues par la gendarmerie et la police.
Le porte-parole du ministère, Gérard Gachet, fait valoir que “lors d’une affaire avec des circonstances aggravantes comme une agression de personne homosexuelle, il faut bien que ces renseignements apparaissent quelque part”. Mais ce type d’information n’apparaît pas lorsque la personne est hétérosexuelle fait valoir le CCH. Ces informations doivent aussi aider les enquêteurs à résoudre certaines affaires et elles ne seront d’ailleurs renseignées que si elles ont un lien avec l’affaire assure le ministère: “Un avertissement clair sera affiché à ce propos.” Argument qui ne convainc pas Hussein Bourgi:
Quant à la date d’entrée en vigueur de ce système d’exploitation, le porte-parole du ministère avoue qu’il “ne sait pas” lui-même quand elle aura lieu. Elle devait intervenir au second semestre 2008, mais les tests (à Ecully, en région Lyonnaise) et les formations ne sont pas encore finies. De plus le logiciel devra être validé par la Cnil avant d’être installé.
A Roman Catholic Cardinal has suggested that gay people should be banned from political office.
Latvia’s Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis resigned last week and the Archbishop of Riga Janis Pujats warned new candidates not to support LGBT related issues.
He asked that all candidates running for the post of Prime Minister state whether they intended to “defend the Latvian nation against the invasion of homosexuality in public life.
“Anyone who is not a stern advocate of the people’s moral values, must neither run nor be nominated for prime minister,” he said, urging candidates to give a public answer on the issue, as he said people were “entitled to it.”
During public debates yesterday, all three Prime Ministerial candidates voiced tolerant views about people with different sexual orientations.
In May the controversial Cardinal defined homosexuality “total corruption in the sexual arena” and “an unnatural form of prostitution.”
He also called on people to take to the streets of Latvia’s capital Riga to oppose the Pride march on June 3rd.
“If there are 1,000 sexually crazy people acting foolishly in the square of Pride, then the people’s march in Riga should have at least 40,000 or 50,000,” he wrote in a letter.
“That proportion would give the government and public thought enough reason to leave sexual perversion outside the law.”
“Could I tell my mother that I am gay? She is nearly eighty-years-old now. I would never want to cause her such trauma at this stage in her life. My father – when he was alive – asked me, but I could not admit it to him either,” recalls the man in his forties, too afraid to give his name, too self-conscious, constantly looking over his shoulder.
Getting in touch with Gjerji, as he wants to be called, was not an easy task. A form of underground credibility must be established through a network of intermediaries. Repeated cases in the past have taught the homosexual community that, in a traditional society like Albania, going public with their sexual orientation means losing their jobs, risking threats and possible rejection by their families.
“From what we know, the data that we have, there is a community of nearly 3,500 in Tirana alone,” says Genci Terpo, a lawyer with the Albanian Human Rights Group, AHRG.
Though the Albanian Parliament legalized homosexual relationships in 1995, more than a decade later, gays and lesbians are still heavily stigmatized, and a majority of them are choosing to leave, amidst fears that if their sexual orientation is discovered, their safety will be endangered.
“The attitudes toward homosexuality have not changed much, and they have to protect themselves,” says Terpo. “It’s not that now, in 2007, there is any real difference to what we have seen before. They continue to be subjected to discrimination in all walks of life, and that includes state institutions,” he adds.
In the past the majority of homosexuals leaving the country tended to pass through the illegal smuggling routes that were such a familiar feature of the Balkans during the 1990s. Now a growing number is turning to human rights organizations, like AHRG.
“Our biggest problem is identifying ourselves and the possibility of having a shared space where we can meet without fear. There are gay and lesbian clubs all over the world, even in Arab countries which are historically more traditional than ours, and yet here we live in fear” says S.L., a member of the Albanian Gay and Lesbian Association, ALGA.
S.L. says he has good reason for such fear. “We were sitting in a park when two police vans pulled over. The officers got out of the van and dragged us away. One of the drivers came over to me and kicked me repeatedly, his boot hitting my stomach. When I begged him to stop, he just shouted ‘Shut up you faggot’, and continued kicking me”, adds S.L., recalling the incident.
ALGA and AHGR have been trying to bring to the public’s attention the treatment of homosexuals in Albania. In addition to its publicity work, AHGR also provides legal representation, free of charge, for ALGA members in case of arrest or mistreatment.
According to S.L. a number of members from the organization are currently applying for asylum in EU countries due to the discrimination they face, and a few of them have already left.
The first case registered by ALGA was in 2002, when one of its members was granted asylum in the Netherlands through the assistance of AHRG, after being subjected to repeated psychological and physical violence from police officers.
Human rights reports on Albania concede that ingrained attitudes among the public leave Albanian gays and lesbians on the fringes of society. According to AHRG, Albanian homosexuals face “intolerance, physical and psychological violence – often from the police – and discrimination in the workplace.”
A.A., another member of ALGA, has been granted asylum in Sweden. After being repeatedly harassed by police, he turned to AHRG to seek a way to leave the country.
African and European LGBT organizations call on all States to fight homophobia and to adopt the Yogyakarta Principles.
On occasion of the Summit which will gather heads of states from the European Union and from Africa on December 8 and 9 in Lisbon, ILGA, Pan Africa ILGA and ILGA Europe join Solidarité Internationale LGBT to issue the following press release aimed at protesting against State Sponsored Homophobia on the African continent.
We invite LGBT groups from Europe and Africa as well as international NGOs to sign this statement. Please send your agreement to email@example.com
Les associations LGBT africaines et européennes demandent à tous les États de combattre l’homophobie et d’adopter les Principes de Jogjakarta.
Chères amies, chers amis,
A l’occasion du sommet qui réunira les chefs d’Etats de l’Union européenne et d’Afrique à Lisbonne les 8 et 9 Décembre prochains, ILGA, Pan Africa ILGA et ILGA Europe s’unissent à Solidarité Internationale LGBT pour diffuser le communiqué de presse ci-joint qui vise à protester contre l’homophobie d’état sur le continent africain.
Nous invitons les groupes LGBT d’Europe et d’Afrique ainsi que les ONGs internationales à signer cette déclaration. Envoyez votre accord à firstname.lastname@example.org
Philipp Braun & Rosanna Flamer-Caldera
ILGA International Lesbian and Gay Association
Danilo Da Silva & Linda Baumann
Pan Africa ILGA
Solidarité Internationale LGBT / Inter-LGBT
Russian Judge Backs Another Gay Demo Ban: Organisers ready to go up to the European Court of Human Rights
A Moscow court has dismissed a complaint from the organisers of the picket in support of the EU visa ban for Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov for his violations of human rights and particularly the right to freedom of assembly.
The picket, organised by several organizations including LGBT Human Rights Project, GayRussia.Ru and movement LGBT Rights, was supposed to take place on 27th June, the day Mr. Luzhkov was being confirmed by the City’s Duma (parliament) for other term in office.
Organisers planned to picket the office of the representation of the European Commission in the Russian Federation and give the letter to EU authorities asking for the EU entrance ban for Luzhkov.
Organisers informed the prefercture of the Central Area of Moscow about the picket on 22nd June.
On 25th June the deputy prefect informed them that the prefecture has nothing against holding of the picket two days later.
On 27th June, right before the start of the picket, organisers were given another letter signed by deputy prefect dated 26th June in which the picketing was banned due to rebuilding works next to the office of the European Commission representative.
The prefecture said this created a threat to the security of the participants.
Around 25 activists showed up to take part in the picket with placards carrying the slogans “Luzhkov: Moscow – Strasbourg – The Hague” and “Europe, Ban Luzhkov’s EU entrance.”
Three of the participants, including the chief organiser Kirill Nepomnyaschiy, were arrested by the police and taken to the local police station. They were later released.
In their complaint to Taganski district court organisers maintained that prefecture breached the time limits set by the law for the consideration of the notifications and did not offer any alternative place or time of the event.
Organisers insisted that the ban on the picket was due to the information that appeared in the media after the authorisation that there are representatives of sexual minorities among the organisers and participants.
The representative of the prefecture said in court on Wednesday that prefecture did not ban the event but terminated it due to security reasons.
In which case they were not obliged to offer any alternative place.
Despite the fact that the second letter of the prefecture clearly bans the picket and not terminates it.
According to Russian law a public event can be terminated only after it already started.
Judge Mikhail Kazakov sided with the arguments of the prefecture and dismissed organiser’s complaint.
Moscow Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev, who was one of the organisers, of the picket, was in court yesterday.
“What is going on in Moscow courts is really becoming outrageous,” he said.
“There is not rule of law anymore because the law is being interpreted in the way that is suitable for the authorities.
“Yesterday’s decision is the outrageous proof of it. We are going to appeal the decision to Moscow City Court when it is ready in the final version and then we will send this case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”
Next week the same judge, Mikhail Kazakov, will consider another ban on the picket against homophobia organised by gays in front of the office of the Fair Russia political party.
On 10th December the same judge will consider the ban of the picket against restrictions on blood donations by homosexuals which was supposed to take place next to the Health Ministry.
“Our application concerning the ban of the first Gay Pride in Moscow on 27th May 2006 is in Strasbourg since January and shortly we are going to send to the European Court the application concerning the ban of this year’s Gay Pride,” said Mr Alekseev.
24th October 2007, PinkNews.co.uk writer
The High Court in London has overturned an order that a gay man from Algeria seeking asylum in the UK should be repatriated.
The Home Office had argued the 27-year-old man, referred to as B, would be safe from persecution as long as he was “discreet” about his homosexuality.
However Mr Justice Collins disagreed, saying that B, who has been fighting to remain in the UK since 1996, was at risk of persecution.
The ruling has infuriated the tabloid press, with The Sun reporting that:
“A FAILED (sic) asylum seeker had his deportation halted yesterday – because he is too CAMP to go home.”
The judge stressed that this case was exceptional, and that he was satisfied that B is gay and would not be able to conceal his sexuality.
A medical report backed the assertion that he would not be able to reintegrate into Algerian society.
Allegations that B had over-emphasised his sexuality to stop his deportation were rejected by Mr Justice Collins.
“It may be, when the matter is investigated and tested, that conclusion could be drawn, although it is highly unlikely in the light of the evidence so far produced,” he said, according to PA.
The Home Secretary will now have to reconsider his case.
Sodomy and “outraging public decency” are both offences in Algeria and carry a prison sentence or a fine.
Gay activist group OutRage! has previously claimed there is a “serious danger” of an openly gay man such as B being murdered by Islamic fundamentalists if returned to Algeria.
Some gay activists wrote optimistic statement after Polish election.
But I don’t know WHY ?
Civic Platform Party is almost so homophobic as the Law and Justice Party!
Sunday was a SAD DAY for many gays and lesbians. Most of them voted for coalition “Leftish and Democrats” (LiD) and this coalition get only 13 %. Politician’s from Civic Platform said many terrible things about gays and lesbians.
“I will never agree for gay marriages or any other pro-gay regulations in Poland” – Donald Tusk, Leader of Civic Platform
“Lesbians are sickening ! If we will find any lesbians in Civic Platform, we will throw them out ! ” – Stefan Niesiolowski, PM from Civic Platform.
Sad true is that gay rights in Poland are lost for next feew years !
Coordinator of LGBT group in Polish Socialdemocrats
After two steps backwards, made thanks to the ruling party of Kaczynski twin brothers, the time has come for a step forwards.
On 21 October, citizens of Poland chose normality and peace. The party of Donald Tusk, centre-right and liberal PO (Platforma Obywatelska – Civic Platform) defeated the rightist and populist PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – Law and Justice). Poles said “no” to disastrous government of Kaczynski twins. No surprise, as the last two years were dominated by quarrels over settling accounts with the past, attempts to antagonize the society, tapping and constant conflicts. Polish economy went on only owing to favorable conditions in the whole European Union, and Poland was many times an object of ridicule of Europe or even the whole world due to incompetence of its diplomatic services.
The elections turned out to be a plebiscite – the majority of the crowds of voters gave their support to PO in order to remove PiS from power. Most probably, many gays and lesbians voted for PO, even though this party had given no promises to the LGBTQ people. PO’s leader, Donald Tusk, declared during the last TV debate that in the field of social issues, as well as the relationships between the state and the Catholic Church, status quo will be maintained. That means no rights for sexual minorities.
On the other hand, Polish LGBTQ people had really very little choice. From the only Polish left-hand party, LiD (Lewica i Demokraci – Left and Democrats), only a few candidates included in their programs the improvement of the situation of sexual minorities. In LiD’s election program, 100 Concrete Points for Poland, only one point concerned sexual minorities and mentioned only combating violence, racism and homophobia. Not a word about civil partnerships.
We may, however, pronounce certain victory. We are saying goodbye to LPR (Liga Polskich Rodzin – League of polish Families), a party that called us perverts, encouraged „curing” homosexuality and threatened with God’s anger. Roman Giertych, its leader, became Minister of Education and decided to remove from teaching curricula everything that could have the faintest relationship to homosexuality. LPR attempted to openly forbid openly gay teachers to work at schools. Finally, LPR is the party of Elżbieta Sowińska, children’s ombudsman known in the whole world due to her statements on the homosexuality of Tinky Winky Teletubby, which moved the public opinion everywhere and made Poland an object of ridicule once again. LPR received little more that 1% votes, which means both staying outside the Polish Parliament and being left without re-financing of the costs of the pre-election campaign – a financial death for the party.
Summing up – we may be glad that two years of irresponsible governments are over, two years of increasing threats for and discrimination of lesbians and gays. However, a lot of work is before us. We must do a lot as concerns our public image, mobbing of politicians and breaking our own prejudice, so that we can finally live in a really open and tolerant country.
ELECTIONS 2007: On 21 October 2007, early parliamentary elections took place in Poland. The largest number of mandates – 209 seats in the future Sejm (lower chamber of Polish Parliament) were received by PO (Platforma Obywatelska – Civic Platform). PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – Law and Justice) has the second position with 166 seats. LiD (Lewica i Demokraci – Left and Democrats) received 53 seats, and PSL (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe – Polish Peasants’ Party) 31. The German minority has one seat.
The election threshold was not met by Samoobrona (Self-Defence) with 1.53 %, LPR (Liga Polskich Rodzin – League of polish Families) with 1.30 %, PPP (Polska Partia Pracy – Polish Labor Party) with 0.99 % and PK (Partia Kobiet – Women’s Party) with 0.28 %.
In Senat (upper chamber) PO has 60 seats, and PiS 39. An independent candidate has one seat.
Attendance was 53.88 % – and it was the highest level in parliamentary elections since the 1989 breakthrough.
Paweł Walczak and Michał Minałto
Translation Uschi – Sass Pawlik