Archive for the ‘Gay Freedom’ Category

exorcism(Photo: Exorcism in Russia – Source Unknown)

Exorcism of gays in the UK

Protest against abuse by fundamentalist Christians

London – 23 July 2009

Fundamentalist Christian churches in Britain are performing exorcisms on lesbian and gay people in a bid to purge them of their homosexuality.

“The exorcism rituals involve the casting out of alleged demons and witches that supposedly possess a gay person’s soul and turn them away from heterosexuality,” said LGBT human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“There are claims that gay teenagers and young adults are being subjected to exorcisms at the insistence of their parents and pastors, in an attempt to rid them of same-sex attraction.

“The exorcisms can include traumatic emotional scenes where the victims are surrounded by a group of church elders who scream at them to drive out the evil spirits and who sometimes shake their bodies.

“When this is done to youngsters under 18, it is a form of child abuse and the police should intervene to stop it.

“Some gay adults have been pressured into exorcisms by their family members or faith communities. Other victims are people with learning difficulties or mental health problems. They have been preyed upon when they are in a vulnerable state and are not capable of giving fully informed consent.

“There needs to be a thorough police investigation of all the churches that are doing these exorcisms,” said Mr Tatchell.

One London church admits it does exorcisms on four or five gay people every year. This church, United Pentecostal Ministry in Harrow north London, was exposed by The Metro newspaper late last month:

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Homosexuals_left_traumatised_by_ceremonial_cure&in_article_id=692445&in_page_id=34

The church pastor, Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide, said he did the ritual to cast out the demons and evil spirits that he believes are responsible for homosexuality. Sometimes people were calm during the process but sometimes their body convulsed, he conceded.

Exorcisms can be performed on gay children or on those who are suspected to be gay. There is no minimum age for the exorcism ceremony because a demon could possess a person at any age in life and could incline them to “wrong” sexual thoughts and behaviour, said Rev Ogbe-Ogbeide.

“United Pentecostal Ministry says it performs four or five exorcisms on gay people each year. It is just one of hundreds of fundamentalist churches in Britain. Gay exorcisms are likely to be performed in many of them. It is possible that dozens or even hundreds of LGBT people could be subjected to exorcism abuse in the UK. Because it takes place behind closed church doors and is kept secret, it is impossible to give an accurate assessment of the numbers involved,” added Mr Tatchell.

What you can do:

1) Protest to Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide

United Pentecostal Ministry
8 Angel Road
Harrow HA1 1Jy
Tel 07957106465
johnogbeuniperm@aol.com

Calm, compassionate, rational arguments are likely to be more effective than a rant.

2) Ask your MP to press the police to investigate this church and other churches who perform exorcisms on gay people, in order to check that criminal acts of assault and homophobic abuse are not taking place. Cite the Metro letter below as evidence.

3) Report Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide to your local police. Ask them to commence a criminal investigation to determine if the law is being broken. Give them a copy of the Metro article that follows as evidence.

4) Report what responses you get to the LGBT press and to the local paper.

Thank you, Peter Tatchell, OutRage!

Homosexuals left traumatised by ceremonial ‘cure’

Metro

25 June 2009

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Homosexuals_left_traumatised_by_ceremonial_cure&in_article_id=692445&in_page_id=34

Gay exorcisms are regularly being performed in Christian churches in Britain, it has emerged.

The ceremony is being carried out to rid worshippers of the supposed demons which make them homosexual.

The pastor of one Pentecostal church in north-west London said he held four or five exorcisms a year and claimed they always worked.

However, gay campaigners said the 20-minute ritual often traumatised those on whom it was carried out.

Details of the practice emerged after a video of the exorcism of a 16-year-old American boy was posted on YouTube.

The footage was taken down amid calls for the church leaders involved to be prosecuted.

Here, the Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide, who runs the United Pentecostal Ministry in Harrow, said he carried out the ritual to cast out evil spirits that were responsible for homosexuality.

He added: ‘The evil spirits are telling you what’s wrong is right, the opposite sex is not attractive.’

There was no minimum age for the ceremony because a demon could take hold at any point in life, said Mr Ogbe-Ogbeide.

Sometimes people were calm during the process but sometimes their body convulsed.

‘There are some who speak but we know this is the demon. The demon can speak through anybody,’ he added.

Mr Ogbe-Ogbeide last performed the ritual in January to help a young man, who was planning to marry his girlfriend but said he was also in love with another man.

He added: ‘He said if it carried on it would upset their plans to have kids and he wanted to live in matrimony.’

But the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said it was frequently contacted by people left traumatised by the experience.

Chief executive the Rev Sharon Ferguson, said ‘a lot of fundamentalist groups believe homosexuality can be cured’.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said he had heard of exorcisms on children, which was child abuse ‘pure and simple’.

He added: ‘Some adults who have been pressured into exorcisms have been preyed upon when they’re in a vulnerable state and not really able give fully informed consent.

‘They’re maybe people with learning difficulties or mental health problems. There needs to be a thorough investigation of all the churches who are doing these exorcisms.’

In March, it was revealed that a fifth of therapists, many in the pay of the NHS, had attempted to ‘cure’ patients of homosexuality.

ENDS

NOTE: Please do not reply via this automated email system.

www.petertatchell.net

You can also follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeterTatchell or join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/cj9y6s

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

Advertisements

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
www.irqr.net

Task Force Pride (TFP) would like to invite you and/or your group to participate in the 2008 Manila Pride March, which will happen in Malate on 6 December 2008, Saturday, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. On-site registration and assembly is from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM at the Remedios Circle or you can pre-register your participation online at www.manilapride2008.com.

Theme.
This year’s Pride March pays tribute to: our rights, our lives, our loves, our selves. Thus, we envision the 2008 Manila Pride March to be the most visually spectacular to date. We encourage you to put on your best fairytale and fantasy costume, design your float accordingly and help transform the streets of Malate into a bursting display of rainbow colors and pride. The March is open to all human rights – and equal rights – believing individuals regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Route.
The route of this year’s march is: Remedios Circle – Remedios Street – MH Del Pilar – Pedro Gil – Maria Orosa Street.

The march will be followed by the coronation of Miss Queen Philippines, the official Pride Queen of the 2008 Manila Pride March with a brief cultural program showcasing both LGBT and non-LGBT talents and culminate in a street party along Maria Orosa Street by the Orosa-Nakpil Courtyard.

Significance.
The Pride March is known for its overwhelming attendance. It attracts thousands of participants and generates extensive local and international media attention.

This year’s Pride March is particularly significant as it marks TFP’s 10th year, coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR60) and the launch in Manila of the Yogyakarta Principles (www.yogyakartaprinciples.org), an international declaration which affirms sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as fundamental human rights.

Bruce Amoroto

ENDitorial: Massive mobilization against EDVIGE, the new French database

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Remember the movie ‘Das Leben der Anderen’ (The Lives of Others), where a Stasi agent was monitoring a playwriter’s life? This doesn’t translate anymore in French into ‘La vie des autres’, but rather into EDVIGE, the name of a newly created database to be used by French intelligence services and the administrative police.

EDVIGE will file “individuals, groups, organisations and moral persons which, due to their individual or collective activity, are likely to attempt to public order”. Not only these persons will be filed (without any offence committed), but also “those who undertake or have undertaken direct and non fortuitous relations with them.” Filing starts at age 13.

This, clearly, means filing everyone, in view of “informing the government and the representatives of the State” in any and all French town and region. In other words, EDVIGE, which has been created by a decree issued on 27 June 2008 in the framework of the merging of two French intelligence services (RG and DST), is the perfect instrument of a political police.

EDVIGE will contains data on “civil status and occupation; physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses; physical characteristics, photographs and behaviour; identity papers; car plate numbers; fiscal and patrimonial information; moves and legal history.”

As highlighted by lesbians and gays associations, this will include data on sexual orientation and health, in particular HIV seropositivity. This has been confirmed by a representative of the Interior ministry, who declared that “the mention of these data will only be authorised for incidental need in relation with an activity. In the intelligence field, this mainly means activism.” Moreover, French EDRI member IRIS notes that the inclusion of “identity papers” in these data is particularly significant in the context of the newly created French biometric passport including 8 fingerprints and of the draft law in preparation on biometric ID cards.

A large mobilization against EDVIGE immediately started, with a petition calling for the withdrawal of this file. This petition is hosted and maintained by RAS (‘Réseau associatif et syndical’), an NGO acting as an ISP for its members, almost 200 activist NGOs and trade unions, among them EDRI member IRIS. The petition has already gathered since 10 July 2008 more than 16.000 individual signatures, and more than 170 signatures from associations, trade unions and political parties from the opposition. Signatories will organize into a global coordination against the EDVIGE file, and are preparing various actions starting from next September. In the mean time, some of these groups will file a complaint against the French government, requesting the annulment of the EDVIGE decree.

Full article

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Credit Photo : Lesbian and Gay Pride Lyon

Gay refugees face prejudice across the world
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/view.php?id=7403

15th April 2008 18:20
Adam Lake

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.

Last week the International Lesbian and Gay Association released the latest version of their map of LGBT rights across the world.

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.

Full Article Pink News

http://www.rue89.com/2008/04/15/la-police-sapprete-t-elle-a-ficher-les-homosexuels
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.

Gays Demand China Free AIDS Advocate at Olympic Torch Protest:
A press conference was supposed to be held today at 11 AM at United Nations Plaza by Tibetans living in the US, to demand China end its occupation of their country. I went to it expecting 2 or 3 dozen Tibetans and their supporters would be standing behind a microphone tree, explaining what they hope to accomplish as the Olympic torch passes through town.

What I found when I got there was a full-fledged rally, held in front of a large elevated stage near the north end of the plaza, and perhaps five-hundred protesters waving flags, chanting slogans and handing out flyers.

I hooked up with five other gay men who were there to call for the release of Chinese AIDS advocate Hu Jia, sentenced to three years in jail last week for pro-democracy advocacy, and to add our voices to the “Free Tibet” chorus.

Here are two photos of us posing for the cameras:

I’m proud a handful of us gays were present today, and will be attending other pro-Tibet events today and tomorrow, as the Olympic torch wends its way through San Francisco. And big thanks to the other gays who showed up today in support of our Tibetan friends and incarcerated AIDS advocate Hu Jia.

By Michael Petelis :
http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2008/04/gays-demand-china-free-aids-advocate-at.html

Olympic torch ambushed in London

Bus halted, gay activist Tatchell arrested

“Gordon Brown colludes with China’s tyrannical leaders”

London – 6 April 2008

The bus bearing the Olympic torch was today ambushed outside Selfridges department store in Oxford Street, London, by gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

Mr Tatchell ran in front of the bus carrying the Olympic flame. He held up a placard which read: “Free Tibet, Free Hu Jia.” He shouted the same words as he ran along in front of the bus.

The police wrestled Mr Tatchell to the ground, which delayed the bus briefly while he was removed to pavement. After questioning, he was later released without charge.

“Hu Jia was jailed for three and half years last week for campaigning for free speech, Tibetan autonomy, environmental protection, and for the human rights of the rural poor and people with HIV,” said Mr Tatchell.

“He exposed the Chinese government’s cover up of the use of HIV contaminated blood, the lack of support and care for people with HIV, and he challenged social prejudice and discrimination against people with the virus.

“Hi Jia is a truly heroic figure, who has shown immense foresight, determination and bravery. He has kept campaigning, even though he knew it would put him at risk of arrest, torture and imprisonment.

“In jail, Hu Jia is likely to be mistreated, denied medical treatment for his hepatitis B infection and starved of proper food.

For more information about Hu Jia, see here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hu-jia-chinas-enemy-within-804589.html
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/2006/03/29/china_hujia/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Jia_(activist)

“Gordon Brown has shamed himself and Britain by greeting the Olympic torch at Downing Street, at a time when China is shooting dead Tibetan protesters and jailing and torturing hundreds of political prisoners,” added Mr Tatchell.

“It is hypocritical for the Prime Minister to boycott the Zimbabwean regime, but not the dictatorial regime in China. These double standards bring our government into disrepute.

“The UK should not be colluding with a police state like China. Attempts to gently persuade the Beijing leaders to stop their human rights abuses have failed. They are manipulating the Olympics. We must
not allow them to exploit the Beijing games to divert attention from China’s abysmal human rights record.

“All countries that love freedom, democracy and liberty should refuse to host the Olympic torch and boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Athletes should wear Tibetan flags during their events and on the podium when they collect their medals.

“China should be subjected to sporting protests in the same way that apartheid South Africa was subject to sporting protests.

“China is one the world’s most vicious anti-worker regimes. It has poor labour laws. Employees have little protection against abuse. Independent trade unions are banned and their leaders jailed.

“To make way for new cities, millions of rural people have been forced off their land with little or no compensation. China is free market state capitalism at its worst. The gap between the rich and poor is
one of the widest of any country on earth.

“The idea that China is any longer a communist state is laughable. The Communist Party has become a new ruling class and a route to personal advancement, corruption and wealth aggrandisement.

“The Beijing leaders are new emperors who ride roughshod over their own people. They have almost total power and they abuse it to oppress and exploit the Chinese nation, in ways that are often similar to the old feudal and colonial powers of the nineteenth century,” said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790


Conservative MEP John Bowis made the following powerful speech in the European Parliament in favour of the successful resolution supporting Mehdi and Pegah Emambakhsh.


Bruxelles: The European Parliament has approved with 60 votes (46 in favour, 2 against and 12 abstentions) an urgent resolution on the case of Seyed Mehdi Kazemi – the 19-year-old Iranian gay – member of EveryOne Group – who is about to be extradited from Holland to the United Kingdom. He risked immediate deportation from London to Teheran, where the death sentence awaits him because of his homosexuality.

SEE ALSO :
https://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/irqo-update-on-mehdi-kazemi-case/

Full text of the European Parliament’s Resolution on Mehdi Kazemi’s case:

The European Parliament,

– having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and in particular to Article 3 thereof, which prohibits the removal, expulsion or extradition of persons to countries where there is a serious risk that they would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and in particular to Articles 18 and 19 thereof on the right to asylum and on protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition respectively,

– having regard to the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the Status of Refugees,

– having regard to Council Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted (Qualifications Directive) and to Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 on the criteria and mechanisms to determine the Member State responsible for assessing asylum applications (Dublin Regulation), as well as to other EU asylum instruments,

– having regard to the letter of 10 September 2007 from its President to the UK Prime Minister on the case of Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian who risked being sent back to Iran after her request for asylum was turned down,

– having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Mehdi Kazemi, a 19-year-old gay Iranian citizen, requested asylum in the United Kingdom and had his application turned down; whereas, fearing deportation, he fled to the Netherlands, where he applied for asylum; whereas Dutch authorities, after examining his request, have decided to send him back to the UK,

B. whereas UK authorities are now left with the final decision on his asylum application and possible deportation to Iran,

C. whereas Iranian authorities routinely detain, torture and execute persons, notably homosexuals; whereas Mehdi’s partner has already been executed, while his father has threatened him with death,

D. whereas in the similar case of Pegah Emambakhsh the UK authorities decided, after international pressure, not to deport her back to Iran, but whereas it is still not clear what her fate will be,

E. whereas the UK Prime Minister’s spokesperson, while not commenting on the case of Mehdi Kazemi, gave general assurances as to the conformity of UK asylum procedures with international commitments and to the possibility of appealing against asylum decisions to an independent judge, as well as to the fact that the authorities would not remove anyone who would be at risk on his or her return,

F. whereas more attention should be devoted to the proper application of EU asylum law in Member States as regards sexual orientation,

1. Expresses its serious concern regarding the fate of Mehdi Kazemi;

2. Asks for the proper and full application of the Qualifications Directive, which recognises persecution for sexual orientation as a ground for granting asylum and requires Member States to consider the individual case and the situation in the country of origin, including laws and regulations and the manner in which they are applied;

3. Believes that the EU and its Member States cannot apply European and national laws and procedures in a way which results in the expulsion of persons to a third country where they would risk persecution, torture and death, as this would amount to a violation of European and international human rights obligations;

4. Appeals to the Member states involved to find a common solution to ensure that Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum or protection on EU soil and not sent back to Iran, where he would be executed, thus ensuring that Article 3 of the ECHR is fully respected by all European authorities and notably, in this case, by the UK; asks the Commission and the Council to fully cooperate with the Member States on this case;

5. Asks EU institutions and Member States to take action to prevent similar situations, in the future, through cooperation and EU guidelines to find solutions in similar cases; asks the Commission to monitor and evaluate the application of EU asylum law in Member States, and in particular as regards sexual orientation, and to report to the European Parliament; underlines the fact that the Commission has announced, for 2008, amendments to the Dublin Regulation and the Qualifications Directive which will address the issues raised in this resolution;

6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Member States, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and Mehdi Kazemi.

Activist Peter Tatchell explains the life-threatening situation for lesbian and gay people in Iran, during the BBC News,12 March 2008, item on gay asylum seeker, Mehdi Kazemi.