Archive for the ‘Kamal’ Category

Gay Iranian denied refugee status by UN

By Tony Grew • July 25, 2008

Credit Photo Lewishamdreamer

A gay couple who fled to Turkey from Iran may be separated after the United Nations accepted one man’s case and denied the other.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is meant to protect and support refugees and assist in their return or resettlement.

Kamal and Reza hoped could start a life together without the fear of being punished for their sexuality.

Kamal has been told he will be recognised as a refugee but Reza received word earlier this week that he will not.

“Reza will have a chance to appeal this decision with the aid of a different UNHCR legal officer,” said a spokesman for IRQO, the Canada-based Iranian Queer Organisation.

“We should urge UNHCR on appeal to recognize Reza as a refugee. The other option is for us to request UNHCR to present Kamal to the Canadian Embassy in Ankara for resettlement purposes.

“Then Kamal can apply for Reza as his common law partner.”

Human rights groups claim up to 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the 1979 revolution in Iran.

These are usually under the guise of honour killings, says a 2006 report released by LGBT activists OutRage!

Full Article Here


Gay Iranian granted refugee status by UN
By Jessica Wilkins • July 17, 2008

A gay Iranian asylum seeker has been granted refugee status by the UN after eighteen months of campaigning.

Kamal and Reza fled Iran for Turkey so they could start a life together without the fear of being punished for their sexuality.

Kamal has been told he will be recognised as a refugee while Reza is hopeful he will receive notification soon.

Human rights groups claim up to 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the 1979 revolution in Iran.

These are usually under the guise of honour killings, says a 2006 report released by LGBT activists OutRage!

In a speech given to Columbia University in New York in September 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.”

Kamal and Reza fled Iran and arrived in Turkey in December 2006.

As Turkey does not recognise non-European refugees, anyone seeking asylum must register for refugee status within five days of arriving in the country.

It has taken until now for Kamal to be recognised as a refugee.

A diabetes sufferer, Kamal had been suffering from fits due to lack of medication.

This has caused his partner, Reza, so much worry he has developed depression. Both of them have been living in unsanitary conditions with very little income.

Reza is still waiting to hear back from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) but is optimistic he will receive news of his refugee status in a couple of days.

The Iranian Refugee Queer Organisation, who have backed Kamal and Reza’s campaign, called the news of Kamal’s refugee status “a testament to what the international community can achieve.”

After details of Reza and Kamal’s case were reported by the international news media, the UNCHR received a plethora of emails urging them to act on behalf of these two asylum seekers.

Turkey has a long history of offering safety for refugees. Between 1923 to 1997 1.6 million people fled to Turkey, displaced by WW2, the Cold War and the Gulf conflicts.

Millions have fled Iran since the 1979 revolution and many either have settled in Turkey or claimed refugee status and emigrated to another country.

Amnesty International has reported cases of non-European asylum seekers registering for refugee status and then being forcefully deported by Turkish authorities.

There have been cases where refugees have been handed directly to the authorities of the country they were fleeing.

Full article :

Call to Action for two gay Iranian refugees in Turkey (July, 14), IRQO

Dear Friends:

We are contacting you to request your assistance on a very urgent case involving 2 gay Iranians, Reza and Kamal.
It is no secret that queer Iranians who flee to Turkey and other countries continue to face risks due to homophobia. This often results in depression and post traumatic stress symptoms. Reza and Kamal, a gay Iranian couple, fled Iran 2 whole years ago, but have still not received refugee status. The common complications that queer refugees experience are escalated for them because Kamal is seriously ill. Immediate attention by UNHCR is critical!

Please show your support by writing to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to urge them to expedite the refugee process for Reza and Kamal.
There are 2 ways you can help:

1. You may copy and paste the sample letters in English into an email and send it to UNHCR; OR

2. You may write your own letter in support of Reza and Kamal.

Send your letters to and please cc IRQO for tracking purposes. You can also fax letters to UNHCR at 0090-312-441-1738 ATTN: Legal Department. If you choose to fax your letter, please email a copy to

Thank you for your support.

Reza and Kamal’s Story:

I, Reza, and my partner, Kamal, are 2 Iranian gay asylum seekers in Turkey. We have been waiting to complete our process for refugee status since December 9, 2006, and we have many problems. We fled Iran because of our lack of safety there. According to Iranian families, society and government, we could not live together freely, as a couple, in Iran.

We registered through the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara on December 12, 2006. The officers asked us to come back for legal interviews on September 6, 2007. We had to wait about ten months just for our legal interviews. Throughout this period, we had to pay all expenses, which was an additional problem for us. Now, ten months have passed since our legal interviews and we have still not received any answer from UNHCR.

Kamal is very sick. He has Diabetes Mellitus. Over the last few months, he has become worse than ever. He even has convulsions. His psychologist said stress and the effects of Kamal’s experiences in Turkey have had on him are causes of these hard convulsions. We are very connected and I now suffer from depression because I cannot bear to see Kamal sick and helpless. Kamal also contracted hepatalgia and has cardiac problems. He has poor vision now. I contacted the UNHCR but they only tell me to “just wait.”

We forwarded our entire medical files to UNHCR. After about two years of inquiring persistently for updates by mail, phone, and fax and sometimes in person, we still have no status. We do not know what we should do. We fled Iran because we lacked security and yet, our life here, too, is at risk. Who will be responsible if we get in trouble here? If Kamal passes away, who will take this responsibility? I ask everybody help. We just want a normal life, the same as everybody else, but we are stuck here.

Sample Letter to UNHCR



To United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-Ankara:

This letter particularly concerns the cases of Reza and Kamal with file numbers 385-06C03012 and 385-06C03015, respectively. Reza and Kamal completed their legal interviews on September 6, 2007, and are currently waiting for the commissioner’s decision. We, as supporters of queer Iranians, urge the acceptance of their applications for refugee status, as there is every reason to suppose that their lives may depend upon it. We are concerned about their physical and emotional states in Turkey, and urge you to bring them relief from the hard living conditions, which include unsanitary housing, lack of medical supplies and life expenses. Reza and Kamal are particularly affected because Kamal is seriously ill and needs urgent medical assistance.

We realize you have many refugee applicants that you must respond to. However, due to the exigent circumstances especially facing queer refugees, we urge you to assist Reza and Kamal, and grant them refugee status as soon as possible.

Your timely, informed and sensitive treatment of this case will be much appreciated.