Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Human Rights Day protest against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill – Ugandan Embassy, London, 10 December 2009. L-R: Michael Senyonjo, Richard S, Topher Campbell, Peter Tatchell, Godwyns Onwuchekwa, Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay – Photo credit Brett Lock

London Uganda Demo – Photos and Report by Peter Tatchell

Protesters urge: “Drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

London – 10 December 2009

Nearly 100 protesters rallied outside the Ugandan Embassy in London on Human Rights Day to support the Ugandan LBGTI community. They called on the Ugandan government to drop its draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently being debated by the Ugandan parliament.

Under this proposed law, LGBTI Ugandans will face execution for certain homosexual acts and life imprisonment for all other same-sex acts – even mere caressing and kissing.

The London protesters included LGBTI activists from the UK and of Jamican descent, plus LGBTI campaigners from Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, the Congo and Kenya.

See photos of the protest here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157622975859486/

These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock of OutRage!

The keynote speakers were gay Ugandan John Bosco and straight Ugandan human rights activist, Michael Senyonjo.

John Bosco was recently jailed in Uganda, after he was illegally and forcibly returned to Uganda by the British Home office while seeking asylum in the UK.

He condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as “an attack on the civil liberties of all Ugandans,” denouncing it as “dividing Ugandans against each other and requiring people to report on their own family members who are gay.”

Michael Senyonjo told the crowd:

“In the last five years we have seen Idi Amin return to Uganda and his name is (President) Yoweri Museveni. We cannot allow fascism to return to Uganda. He should leave power and go because he is not taking the country anywhere but to disaster,” he said.

Peter Tatchell of the London LGBTI rights group OutRage! echoed this view:

“President Museveni is fast becoming the Robert Mugabe of Uganda and that’s a threat to the civil rights of every Ugandan person – gay or straight….There’s a huge ground swell of public opinion that this bill goes way too far. Even people who say they’re against homosexuality say this bill is excessive and a threat to the human rights of all Ugandans.

The Ugandan government should drop this law and abide by international human rights legislation.

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates the equality and non-discrimination clauses of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are merely asking Uganda to uphold international human rights law.

“This homophobic legislation undermines the right to privacy and individual liberty and thereby sets a dangerous legal precedent which threatens the human rights of all Ugandans. It is part of a wider drift towards an authoritarian state,” Mr Tatchell said.

The protest MC was Dennis Hambridge, global coordinator of the Gay Activists Alliance International (GAAI). He said the protest was about sending a message to the Uganda government – that the world is watching and that human rights supporters deplore this repressive bill.

Nigerian gay activists Godwyns Onwuchekwa, Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay and Bisi Alimi declared that gay rights are human rights and expressed pan-African solidarity with Ugandan LGBTI people.

Other speakers condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including Skye Chirape (a Zimbabwean lesbian activist), Topher Campbell (a Black British gay man of Jamaican descent, who is a lead member of the black arts collective, the Rukus Foundation) and Josh Kutchinsky (a spokesperson for the British Humanist Association).

The London protest was coordinated by the Gay Activists Alliance International, with the support of OutRage! and Ugandan LGBTI exiles (most of whom were too afraid to be photographed or identified in case there are reprisals against their families in Uganda).

Other supporting organisations included Changing Attitudes, Rainbow Church, Queer Youth North, British Humanist Association, Rukus Foundation and the National Union of Students LGBT section.

See full details of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:

http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/09/Nov/Bill-No-18-Anti-Homosexuality-Bill-2009_Uganda.pdf

“The new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed, proposes the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ and ‘serial’ homosexual acts and extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have gay relations. Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same-sex mariage,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage!.

“Membership of LGBT organisations and funding for them, advocacy of LGBT human rights and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people will result in a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of seven years for “promoting” homosexuality. A person in authority who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will incur three years behind bars.

“Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jusridiction. It will also apply to Ugandans who commit these ‘crimes’ while living abroad, in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda,” added Mr Tatchell.

According to Dennis Hambridge of GAAI:

“The bill is likely to be detrimental to the fight against HIV/AIDS by denying gay and bisexual men access to condoms and safer sex advice and driving countless numbers of them further underground. It will create even more stigma, discrimination and oppression

“Activists in Uganda have reported to GAAI that there are eight gay people currently awaiting trial or sentencing in Uganda.

“With immense pressure being put on the Ugandan Government to drop the bill, by human rights groups, governments and religious groups worldwide, we call on people in the UK to protest,” he said.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and the World AIDS Campaign.

It violates the Commonwealth principles of human rights and human dignity. You can email the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, here:

secretary-general@commonwealth.int

If you were not able to attend Thursday’s protest, please lobby your MP and MEP. Ask them to write to the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, urging that the legislation is dropped. You can email your MP and MEP here: http://www.writetothem.com

You can also email the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, yourself:

info@ugandahighcommission.co.uk

Thank you.

All power to Ugandan LGBTI people! For a free, democratic, secular and humanitarian Uganda!

ENDS

Videos of Uganda protest in London – Human Rights Day – 10 December 2009

Videos of the protest outside the Ugandan Embassy in London to support the Ugandan LBGTI community and oppose the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The keynote speakers were gay Ugandan John Bosco and straight Ugandan human rights activist, Michael Senyonjo.

John Bosco – Gay Ugandan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH4hEbjG5G0

Michael Senyonjo – Ugandan human rights activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S54WZHbPbyE

Skye Chirape – Zimbabwean lesbian activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkQHe96-GXY

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay – Nigerian gay pastor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_F9ZQCAtDs

Godwyns Onwuchekwa – Nigerian LGBT activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YoBWgozMKI

Topher Campbell – Black gay activist, Rukus Foundation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbJ79YTXTmM

Peter Tatchell 1/2 – OutRage! gay activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMnTQR2Z8b8

Peter Tatchell 2/2 – OutRage! gay activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbMdPT_PT6A

Terry Conway – Lesbian trade union activist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CZejmcPlSM

See also photos of the protest here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157622975859486/
These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock of OutRage!

Among the protesters were African LGBTI activists from Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, the Congo and Kenya.

The photos and videos omit some of the Ugandan LGBTI exiles who joined the demo. They asked to not be photographed or filmed in case there are reprisals against their families in Uganda. This is proof that homophobia is already – even before the Anti-Homosexuality Bill – wrecking the lives of LGBTI Ugandans and their families and friends.

For more details of the protest, see here:

http://www.petertatchell.net/international/london-uganda-demo.html

Video from Pride London

Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill Protest London 7th Nov 2009

Protest Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Thursday 10th December 2009

12pm- 2pm

Ugandan High Commission

58-59 Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross

London, WC2N 5DX

To coincide with International Human Rights Day, this Thursday 10 December, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has called for worldwide protests against the draconian Anti-Homsexuality Bill currently being debated by the Ugandan parliament.

Under this proposed new law, gay Ugandans will face execution for certain homosexual acts.

See details of the legislation here:

https://gayswithoutborders.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/bill-no-18-anti-homosexuality-bill-2009_uganda.pdf

If you can’t attend Thursday’s protest, please lobby your MP and MEP. Ask them to write to the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, urging that the legislation is dropped. You can email your MP and MEP here: http://www.writetothem.com

You can also email the Ugandan High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, yourself:

info@ugandahighcommission.co.uk

“The new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed, proposes the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ and ‘serial’ homosexual acts and extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have gay relations. Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same-sex mariage,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group OutRage!.

Out Rage! is backing the London protest, which is being coordinated by the Gay Activists Alliance International, with the support of Gay Uganda and Ugandan LGBT exiles. Mr Tatchell will speak at the rally, together with Davis Mac-Iyalla (Nigeria and co-founder of GAAI) and Skye Chirape (Zimbabwe)

“Membership of LGBT organisations and funding for them, advocacy of LGBT human rights and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people will result in a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of seven years for “promoting” homosexuality. A person in authority who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will incur three years behind bars,” added Mr Tatchell.

“Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jusridiction. It will also apply to Ugandans who commit these ‘crimes’ while living abroad, in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda,” he said.

According to Dennis Hambridge, GAAI global coordinator:

“The bill is likely to be detrimental to the fight against HIV/AIDS by denying gay and bisexual men access to condoms and safer sex advice and driving countless numbers of them further underground. It will create even more stigma, discrimination and oppression

“Activists in Uganda have reported to GAAI that there are eight gay people currently awaiting trial or sentencing in Uganda.

“With immense pressure being put on the Ugandan Government to drop the bill, by human rights groups, governments and religious groups worldwide, we call on our people in the UK to support this protest,” he said.

GAAI are also hoping that gay Ugandan John Bosco Nyombi will be able to attend Thursday’s protest. Earlier this year, the British courts ordered the return of John Bosco Nyombi to the UK after he was illegally and forcibly returned to Uganda while seeking asylum in the UK.

The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Uganda is a signatory. These breaches of international humanitarian commitments undermine the right to privacy and individual liberty and thereby set a dangerous legal precedent which threatens the human rights of all Ugandans. They are part of a wider drift towards an authoritarian state. President Museveni is fast turning into another Robert Mugabe.

http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/z1afchar.htm

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and the World AIDS Campaign.

It violates the Commonwealth principles of human rights and human dignity. You can email the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, here:

secretary-general@commonwealth.int

ENDS

www.petertatchell.net

If you want to respond to this email, or at any time to contact Peter, please email him at his NEW email address: peter@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

No Sharia rally in London
Oppose all religious laws & courts

Call for secularism & universal human rights

London – 21 November 2009

Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims joined forces in London to protest against Sharia and against all religious laws and courts.

The themes of the protest were “one law for all” and “universal human rights.”

Expressing solidarity with Muslims resisting the “inequalities and inhumanities” of Sharia law, the protesters affirmed their commitment to democracy, secularism, equality and human rights.

The rally took place in Hyde Park today, Saturday 21 November 2009

Among those addressing the crowds were speakers from Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and the UK. They expressed solidarity with Muslim communities worldwide and condemned racist, anti-Muslim far right and fascist groups.

“Sharia law is a form of religious dogma and tyranny. It is homophobic, sexist and anti-democratic. It persecutes LGBT Muslims. Same-sex acts carry the death penalty in several Islamic states. Gay people can be stoned to death or hanged in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. We support LGBT Muslims – and all Muslims – who are fighting for their freedom,” said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage! and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East.

“This protest supports secular democracy. Secularism is often confused with anti-clericalism. The two are not the same. Secularism is not against religion per se. It is against giving religion privileged status, rights and protections.

“We believe there should be a separation of religion from the state. No faith should dominate any government and seek to impose its creed on the rest of society. When this happens, freedom of expression is diminished and minority faiths are victimised.

“For these reasons, secularism is not only an important element of freedom of expression. It is also the best guarantee of religious freedom, as it prevents any one faith becoming politically dominant and abusing its powers to oppress people of other faiths,” Mr Tatchell added.

Lib Dem MP Evan Harris condemned the government for “caving in to religious pressure.” He cited the way Britain’s equality laws allow religious bodies to discriminate against LGBT people and people in certain circumstances. Mr Harris also condemned the government for giving privileged advisory status on policy and legislation to often unrepresentative faith leaders.

Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union warned that over 50 Islamic states, with the support of many developing countries, are currently “demanding that the United Nations outlaw the defamation of religion.” This would restrict free speech by criminalising criticism and condemnation of religious beliefs and institutions, he said.

A speaker from Iraq, Issam Shukri, told the rally how Islamist militias linked to the cleric and MP Muqtada al-Sadr had executed dozens of women who they deemed to be improperly dressed because were not fully covered head-to-toe. These militias have also organised death squad executions of LGBT Iraqis.

Maryan Namazie, the rally organiser, told the crowd:

“Our rally is being held to mark Universal Children’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. We are not defending western values. We are defending universal humanitarian values. Sharia adversely affects the rights, lives and freedoms of countless human beings across the world. Opposing Sharia law is a crucial step in defending universal equal rights and secularism, and showing real solidarity with people living under and resisting Sharia.”

Philosopher AC Grayling warned that Sharia law was an attack on precious, hard-won, civil liberties. It was a threat to freedom of speech, freedom of belief and freedom of conscience, he said.

Rahila Gupta from Southall Black Sisters highlighted the way religion and cultural tradition are often anti-women and homophobic. She urged solidarity with women resisting patriarchal clericalism and demanded equal rights for women, whatever their cultural, ethnic or religious background.

Excerpts from Peter Tatchell’s speech at the Hyde Park rally:

“We are here to defend Muslim people – and all people everywhere – who are victims of religious tyranny.

“We support the many victims of Sharia law, especially the Muslim women who are campaigning for equality. We cannot accept the way Islamic states, including western allies like Saudi Arabia, restrict women’s freedom of movement, make women subject to the control of male guardians, deny women access to certain jobs and positions in government and enforce the compulsory veiling of women with the hijab, niqab, jilbab or burqa.

“We stand in opposition to all religious laws in Britain and worldwide.

“We express our support for the many courageous, inspiring Muslims who are campaigning against the inequalities and inhumanities of Sharia law, often at great risk to their liberty and life.

“Contrary to the way our critics are trying to misrepresent our rally, this is not an attack on Muslims or Islam. We are here to support Muslims who are resisting Sharia law.

“We defend Muslims and people of all faiths against hatred and discrimination. The victimisation of people because of their religious beliefs is just as wrong as victimising people because of their race, gender or sexuality.

“In a democracy, everyone should be subject to the same laws, with the same rights and responsibilties. Religious rulings should not influence the laws or courts in any way.

“We believe that Muslims and all peoples worldwide should have rights, freedoms and choices, in accordance with the principles of equality and non-discrimination that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are not western values. They are international humanitarian values, agreed by the global consensus of the member states of the UN.

“It is wrong to tolerate the denial of human rights to non-white Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, when most of us would never tolerate the denial of these rights to white (and non-white) people in Britain.

“There should be no double standards. No moral or cultural relativism. Defend universal human rights. One law for all,” said Mr Tatchell.

For further information and photos, contact Maryam Namazie onelawforall@gmail.com

Web: www.onelawforall.org.uk

Peter Tatchell

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

Video: San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 2009, Harvey Milk Plaza

Gay Iraq Vigils: NYC on Friday 10 April, London Next Thursday 16 April 2009

By Michael Petrelis

Two international actions are planned over the coming two week because of the murder of gay Iraqis in the slums of Baghdad.

Activists will gather in New York City this week, and in London next week, to protest the deaths of gay Iraqis, the continuing American occupation of the country, and to express strong solidarity with the LGBT people of Iraq.

Big thanks to Brendan and Ali for organizing the vigils.

Here are the details for each action that I’ve received from the organizers. If you’re near these cities, please try and get to the actions.

NEW YORK CITY ACTION:

Contact: Brendan Fay

E: brendan@stpatsforall.com

P: 718-721-2780

We will gather later this week to remember our murdered brothers in Iraq, at a vigil in front of the Iraqi mission to the United Nations. We will light candles, lay a wreathe with rainbow ribbons, and also speak out against homophobic violence everywhere. A letter of protest will be delivered to the mission.

Please join us!

What: Vigil of Remembrance & Solidarity With LGBT Iraqis

When: Friday, April 10

Time: 12 Noon

Where: Iraq Mission to the UN

14 E 79th St

New York, NY 10075

LONDON ACTION:

Contact: Ali Hili

Email: iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk

Web: http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

What: Protest and Support Iraqi LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgendered

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: Home Office Direct Communications Unit

2 Marsham Street

London, United Kingdom

See also: London protest about Iraqi gay executions by LGBT Asylum News

See more details and RSVP via Facebook

This is a generic event but some people on here that are in London on the Sunday 28th may be interested in coming. The counter demo starts at 1pm at Piccadilly Circus.

Call for Al-Quds Day Counter Demo on Sunday 28th Sept

Islamic Republic sponsored annual march through the streets of London is due on Sunday 28th Sept.
http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3603

To oppose this Islamic Republic propaganda march, we will assemble for a standing counter-demo at Piccadilly Circus at 1:00 PM.

Join us to oppose the Islamic Republic march on this day.

Last year’s Al-Quds march and counter demo:

http://azarmehr.blogspot.com/2007/10/counter-demo-to-al-quds-rally.html

http://azarmehr.blogspot.com/2007/10/some-more-pics-from-al-quds-and-counter.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPaloDmcLYY

Erm before I and others organising the counter demo get denounced for being a stooge of Bush and the US government I would draw attention of people to this little fact.

http://azarmehr.blogspot.com/2008/09/us-embassy-in-london-shopped-arash-to.html

It is not just gay asylum seekers that have trouble with the British and US authorities.

The story had a happy ending and Arash is now out of the detention centre (Arash’s case has not been re heard by the Home Office though).

http://azarmehr.blogspot.com/2008/09/arash-is-released.html

See also: London Al-Quds March: Islamists Slander and Threaten Peter Tatchell

Gay Rights in Iran: Walking the Fine Line Between Tehran and Washington by Therion

At the Pride London celebrations earlier this month, Labour MP Harriet Harman was heckled and booed.

The reaction of the crowd was hardly surprising. The Labour government’s handling of gay asylum seekers in the UK is a disgrace. Many asylum seekers who are fleeing from persecution in their home countries, live under threat of deportation.

Gay activist Peter Tatchell who attended London Pride, marched alongside Sir Ian McKellan and Davis Mac-Iyalla, a leader of the Nigerian gay rights movement.

When asked about the dire situation facing the gay community in Iran, Tatchell said:

“Ahmadinejad leads a regime that arrests, jails, flogs, tortures and sometimes executes gay people. It also terrorises trade unionists, students, women activists, journalists, bloggers, Sunni Muslims and ethnic minorities like the Ahwazi Arabs, Baluchs and Kurds.

I don’t support a military attack on Iran, but I do urge greater international solidarity with democratic, liberal and progressive Iranians who are struggling to overthrow the clerical dictatorship from within.”

Tatchell has been unfairly accused of being Islamophobic, whereas in fact he is opposed to religious fundamentalism and bigotry in all religions. He has defended Muslim victims of injustice and in his writing has pointedly condemned Islamophobia: “Any form of prejudice, hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims is wrong. Full stop.”

Taking on the Iranians for their human rights record, is viewed by some on the left as giving comfort to American hawks. Given the record of the Iranians when it comes to the treatment of homosexuals, looking the other way is simply not a viable option.

During his trip to the US, Ahmadinejad said “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country (US).”

This is a preposterous lie that masks an ugly reality. Gay Iranians live in fear of persecution. Many have fled to Turkey and destinations in Europe to escape the suffocating climate in Iran, where “coming out” in an overtly public fashion can have dire consequences.

The Iranian people deserve better. But the choice has to be theirs. American aggression is not the answer.

Those activists who support the right of Iranians to live in a society free of oppression, are walking a fine line between the politics of Tehran and the politics of Washington. But it is a line that has to be staked out in the name of justice and human rights.

Full article here

See also : London’s Gay Pride Parade: “My Penis Is This Big” – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President, Murderer, Homophobe, Mocked by Gays

Iranian President mocked by gays

London – 6 July 2008

Gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell marched in the London’s Gay Pride Parade on Saturday 5 July carrying a poster placard ridiculing the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It featured a doctored photo of Amhadinejad wearing blue eye shadow, red lipstick, a gold earring and pink nail varnish.

See photos of the placard here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/outrage/sets/72157605994039273/
These photos are free to use, without charge.

The placard was emblazoned with the words: “President of Iran. Murderer. Homophobe.” Next to the President’s tiny wagging finger was a mocking speech bubble with the words: “My penis is this big.”

“Sometimes the best way to deflate tyrants is by mocking them,” said Mr Tatchell.

“Ahmadinejad leads a regime that arrests, jails, flogs, tortures and sometimes executes gay people. It also terrorises trade unionists, students, women activists, journalists, bloggers, sunni Muslims and ethnic minorities like the Ahwazi Arabs, Baluchs and Kurds.

“I don’t support a military attack on Iran, but I do urge greater international solidarity with democratic, liberal and progressive Iranians who are struggling to overthrow the clerical dictatorship from within,” he said.

Speaking from the Gay Pride main stage in Trafalgar Square, Mr Tatchell condemned “President Amadinejad’s violent homophobia” and “the Labour government’s policy of deporting lesbian and gay asylum claimants back to Iran.”

He condemned the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith MP, who last month refused requests for a moratorium on the return of gay asylum seekers to Iran. She claimed “the evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against, gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation.”

“This is complete nonsense and deeply insulting,” said Mr Tatchell.
“It is like saying that Jews in Nazi Germany were safe if they hid their Jewishness.”

Peter Tatchell

Harman was booed because of asylum stance claims Tatchell

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

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