Archive for the ‘Refugee’ 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

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Lille: Un homosexuel camerounais menacé d’expulsion, Têtu News
, par Habibou Bangré

Le Camerounais homosexuel Paul Patience Nguimbous, sans papier depuis 2005, pourrait être expulsé «sans délai» si l’Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (Ofpra) rejette la demande d’asile qu’il déposera lundi 26 mai, révèle à Têtu l’Association de reconnaissance des droits des personnes homosexuelles et transsexuelles à l’immigration et au séjour (Ardhis). Interpellé le 13 mai dans la région de Lille (Nord), Paul Patience Nguimbous est actuellement placé en rétention administrative au centre Lesquin de Lille.

Le tribunal administratif de Lille a rejeté mercredi 21 mai son recours visant à annuler un arrêté de reconduite à la frontière malgré les preuves de répression des homosexuels camerounais rapportées par divers associations et médias. L’Ardhis explique que le jeune homme de 29 ans, «inscrit au Parti socialiste», était arrivé dans l’Hexagone en 2001 pour ses études mais aussi pour vivre tranquillement son orientation sexuelle, passible de cinq ans de prison dans son pays.

Homosexual acts are banned in Cameroon, and are punishable with up to five years in jail according to Section 347 of the country’s penal code.

See also :

Mobilisons-nous pour Paul Patience Nguimbous
Francia, un omosessuale camerunese minacciato d’espulsione
LGBT rights in Cameroon

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


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.

preview_16x16.png SIGN THE PETITION FOR MEHDI’S FREEDOM HERE

March 14, UK: Mehdi Kazemi, Pegah Emambakhsh, Iranian Gays and Lesbians Still Facing Deportation from the Kingdom of Fear

March 14, IRQO: Update on Mehdi Kazemi Case And The European Resolution

March 13, Mehdi Kazemi Is Safe – EveryOne Group Celebrates With Allies And Announces New Human Right Campains

March 13, UK: George Galloway’s Iranian Anti-Gay Propaganda – Mehdi Kazemi’s Boyfriend Defamed

March 13, Mehdi Kazemi – Peter Tatchell: Iranian LGBTs Deserve Asylum, BBC News

March 12, Mehdi Kazemi: EveryOne Group Requests Urgent Meeting with Gordon Brown

March 11, Mehdi Kazemi, Gay Azylum UK Press Release: Mehdi Kazemi will be Deported to the UK from Holland Within the Next 72 Hours

March 9, Mehdi Kazemi, Gay Iranian Refugee, EveryOne Group: “United Kingdom Is a Danger for All Refugees”

March 7, Mehdi Kazemi Must Stay – No Deportation to Iran, by Peter Tatchell

March 5, The Iranian Gay Mehdi Must Receive Asylum in the Netherlands

March 1, Mehdi Kazemi, the Iranian Homosexual, Is Presently Being Held in Rotterdam Detention Centre

February 26, Petition for Mehdi Kazemi: Europe Must Stop Deportation of Iranian Queers

February 24, Mehdi Kazemi: Iranian Gay Refugee Risks Deportation From the United Kingdom, Urgent Appeal to Europe

February 20, Mehdi Kazemi: Iranian Gay Refugee Risks Deportation From the United Kingdom, Urgent Appeal to Europe

iraqibenefitparty.jpg

Benefit Party for Iraqi LGBT at the North Star Fund
Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 6:30 – 8:30
520 Eighth Avenue, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018

Due to lack of funding, Iraqi LGBT has been forced to shut down three safe houses in southern Iraq. These houses sheltered LGBT Iraqis receiving death threats from Islamic militias.
Help keep Iraqi LGBT’s two remaining safe houses open and protect 40 LGBT persons who need shelter, food, and medical care. Several of the Iraqis are HIV-positive and ill. This fundraiser will be addressed by Iraqi LGBT’s London-based coordinator, Ali Hili, via speaker phone. Please come and bring your checkbook!

Doug Ireland

Iraqi LGBT

Heartland Alliance, Benefit Party, New York, April 22, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

GAY IRANIAN REFUGEE, EVERYONE GROUP: “UNITED KINGDOM IS A DANGER FOR ALL REFUGEES”

REPORT WILL BE PRESENTED IN EUROPE

THE UK HOME OFFICE: “GAY PEOPLE CAN RETURN TO IRAN, IF THEY ARE ‘DISCREET'”

In an article published on Friday March 7th 2008, in the The Independent, Simon Hughes, leader of the Liberal Democrats and the party’s Shadow Leader in the House of Commons, stated: “The Home Office claims that a gay person can return to Iran and avoid persecution by being “discreet”. All advice suggests that in Iran, to be discreet means that you would have to deny your identity. The punishment for giving in to personal feelings might well be nothing less than torture or death”.

The same theory had was pointed out by the members of the NNRF (Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum) years ago: “The Home Office claims that if a gay person is less obvious about being gay or lesbian they won’t attract the attention of their persecutors,” writes Richard McCance on the refugees’ association’s website.

The EveryOne Group, that, since its launch, has promoted, along with the Non-Violent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, and the Nessuno Tocchi Caino and Certi Diritti associations, a campaign in support of its member Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, is going to present a written deposition to the European Union objecting to the UK Home Office’s behaviour towards refugees claiming asylum.

“Mehdi absolutely has to stay in the Netherlands. It has been shown that the United Kingdom operates an out-and-out persecutory policy towards refugees, especially homosexuals” affirm the EveryOne Group’s leaders Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau. “The Home Office’s statements are serious, and contrary to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is to be hoped that European Authorities urgently intervene in this situation”.

“In 2004, a 29-year-old Zimbabwean, Thando Dube, was at death’s door, following a 33-day hunger strike in a UK detention camp. Her crime? Thando was a lesbian who fled to Britain to escape the well-known persecution of LGBT people in Zimbabwe. “Her asylum claim was refused,” it’s written in the EveryOne Group’s report. “In September 2003, Israfil Shiri, a gay Iranian asylum seeker, died after pouring petrol over himself and setting himself on fire in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester, after his asylum claim was refused (in the lower and appeal court) and his deportation to Iran, where he would-have-been hanged, had been arranged. In April 2005, 26-year-old Hussein Nasseri shot himself two weeks after his asylum claim was turned down by the Home Office, refusing in this way to let himself be killed by Iranian executioners”.

However, according to the EveryOne Group not only homosexuals suffered from the British Government’s indifference: Burhan Namig, born in 1980, was deported on September 5th 2006 from the United Kingdom – where his asylum claim had been refused because “not at sea” – to Kurdistan, despite falling into a deep depression and attempting suicide. On arrival in Kurdistan, Burhan had a heart attack, as a result of the inhuman treatment received in a British detention centre. In February 2007, at least two Iraqi Kurds were deported in secret from United Kingdom to the North of Iraq on a military plane carrying medicines and other humanitarian supplies, this despite the ongoing violence in Iraq, after American military actions, and despite the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq being subject to continuous terrorist attacks and serious human rights abuses. “We take a robust approach to people who are here illegally” a Home Office spokesperson told IRR (Independent Race and Refugee News Network) last year.

The latest case is that of Ama Sumani, a 39-year-old Ghanaian woman, studying in the UK, who was diagnosed with a malignant tumour that couldn’t be treated in Ghanaian hospitals. Her asylum claim was refused by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the woman was removed, against her will, on January 9th 2008, from University Hospital, Cardiff, in a wheelchair, and repatriated. According to the Home Office, this was all carried out with “politeness and dignity”.

“All this demonstrates how the United Kingdom’s and its Home Office’s behaviour represent a danger for all refugees, all the more so for those such as Mehdi Kazemi or the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakshs, who face capital punishment because of their homosexuality” conclude Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau. “We ask the Dutch Authorities to immediately grant Mehdi refugee status, to avoid another life being destroyed because of the demonstrable and incontrovertible attitude of the UK to violating refugees’ rights. Finally, we ask the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to look out for the rights of refugees currently in the United Kingdom, who come from nations where they risk persecution, in order to prevent any abuse, violation and/or unjust deportation”.

For further information:

Gruppo EveryOne

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527
www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

preview_16x16.png SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

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Mehdi must stay – No deportation to Iran
The Home Office bid to deport an Iranian gay asylum seeker will put him at risk of arrest, imprisonment, torture and execution
London – 7 March 2008
Gay Iranian asylum applicant Mehdi Kazemi is in detention in the Netherlands. He is fighting attempts by the Dutch government to return him to the UK. Mehdi fled Britain and sought asylum in the Netherlands because the British government wants to deport him back to Iran. The gay human rights group OutRage! campaigns on asylum issues and supports Mehdi Kazemi’s claim for refugee status. OutRage! spokesperson Peter Tatchell said: “The Home Office decision to deport Mehdi back to Iran is shameful and reckless. “If returned to Tehran, he will be at risk of imprisonment, torture and execution. “Gay men in Iran are hanged from public cranes using the barbaric method of slow strangulation, which is deliberately designed to cause maximum suffering. “This deportation order borders on a criminal decision. It violates the government’s legal obligations under the Refugee Convention. “The Home Office country report on Iran ignores the true scale of homophobic repression, in order to justify the deportation of lesbian and gay Iranians. “I have been tipped off by a senior Home Office official that government orders are to cut asylum numbers at almost any price. “Staff are encouraged to assume that all asylum applicants are bogus and to play down the merits of individual cases, such as Medhi’s,” said Mr Tatchell. Background Here is the Everyone organisation’s link about Medhi’s case. Please scroll down to read Mehdi’s own statement, as given to the Iranian Queer Rights Organisation: http://www.everyonegroup.com/
Need to reform the handling of LGBT asylum claims “The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith MP, must urgently remedy her department’s five failings with regard to the treatment of LGBT asylum claimants,” added Mr Tatchell. “Currently, the Home Office stands accused of: – No training on sexual orientation issues for asylum staff and adjudicators – No explicit official policy supporting the right of refugees to claim asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation – No action to stamp out the abuse of LGBT refugees in UK asylum detention camps – No accurate, up-to-date information on the victimisation of LGBT people in violently homophobic countries – No access to adequate legal representation for LGBT asylum applicants “These are systemic failings by a callous and indifferent government that is more interested in cutting asylum numbers than in ensuring a fair, just and compassionate asylum system,” concluded Mr Tatchell.
ENDS
Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
http://www.greenoxford.com/ and www.petertatchell.net
PETER TATCHELL HUMAN RIGHTS FUND
Donations are requested to help fund Peter Tatchell’s campaigns promoting human rights, democracy and global justice. Peter is unpaid and receives no grants. To continue his human rights work, he depends on donations from friends and supporters. Please make cheques payable to: “Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund”. Send to: Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund, PO Box 35253, London E1 4YF To download a donation form or a standing order mandate, go to Donations at: www.tatchellrightsfund.org To email PTHRF: info@tatchellrightsfund.org
Thank you. Richard Kirker, Treasurer PTHRF
For information about Peter Tatchell’s campaigns: www.petertatchell.net

European Union must stop him being handed over to United Kingdom: he could be deported to Iran

EveryOne Group, together with the Non Violent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty and Nessuno Tocchi Caino association, is making an urgent appeal to the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Italian Foreign Office and the Dutch authorities to stop the 19 y.o. iranan homosexual Mehdi Kazemi being handed over to the British authorities who, according to a bureaucratic procedure that is difficult to modify, would immediately expel him to Iran, where he would be put to death for his homosexuality. In Iran in 2006, Mehdi’s former partner, Parham, was executed after being tortured, and after revealing the names of the boys he had had sexual relations with.

“We are asking for the application of the European Parliament Directive 2004/83/CE on the recognition of refugee status for people in need of international protection, which must be applied by all the Member States of the European Union” said Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, the leaders of EveryOne Group. “We’re also going to ask today for a urgent appointment with the Dutch Embassador in Italy, together with the Radical Party and Nessuno Tocchi Caino, to ask him to put pressures on the Dutch Government, so that Mehdi can stay in The Netherlands and obtain his refugee status and the asylum as soon as possibile”.

For further information:

EveryOne Group

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527

 

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IRANIAN GAY REFUGEE RISKS DEPORTATION FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM, URGENT APPEAL TO EUROPE
EVERYONE GROUP: “SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HIS HOMOSEXUALITY, WE MUST STOP THE UMPTEENTH VIOLATION OF A REFUGEE’S RIGHTS BY THE BROWN GOVERNMENT”

THE FLIGHT THAT WILL TAKE YOUNG MEHDI KAZEMI FROM AMSTERDAM TO LONDON, FROM WHERE HE WILL BE DEPORTED TO IRAN, IS BOOKED FOR TUESDAY FEBRUARY 26TH. EVERYONE GROUP IS APPEALING TO THE EUROPEAN UNION TO OVERRULE THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S DECISION, AND GRANT THE 19-YEAR-OLD POLITICAL ASYLUM. MEHDI HAS RECENTLY BECOME A REGULAR MEMBER OF EVERYONE. MEHDI IS WANTED IN IRAN AFTER HIS PARTNER – EXECUTED FOR HIS HOMOSEXUALITY IN APRIL 2006 – ADMITTED THEY WERE IN A RELATIONSHIP.

His full name is Seyed Mehdi Kazemi, he is not yet twenty, and he is one of the members of EveryOne. Mehdi is an Iranian homosexual who in November 2005 left Teheran to go and study in London. He was forced to apply for asylum to the British Home Office after the discovery, by the Iranian authorities of his homosexual relationship with another boy, who had already been sentenced to death and executed in April 2006.

Parham, his partner since the age of 15, was arrested by the Teheran police and accused of “lavat” (sodomy) after being caught by the Iranian authorities in the company of another boy while Mehdi was attending college in England. During the interrogation in jail, Parham was forced by his accusers to reveal the names of all the men he had had relationships with, among them Mehdi himself. The Iranian Police had already turned up at Mehdi’s father’s home in Teheran with an arrest warrant for his son, with the intention of sending him to trial.

A few months ago his application for asylum was turned down by the British Home Office: Mehdi will have to be repatriated to his country of origin because according to the British Government, he does not run any risk there. Mehdi therefore fled in secret from England, intending to take refuge in Canada, but he was blocked by the German border police. After hearing his story, he was sent to Holland (a country known for granting refugee status to Iranian homosexuals) and again handed over to the police. However, the United Kingdom has now sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi’s return to Britain – according to the Treaty of Dublin, and according to regulation CE 343/2003, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

Omar Kuddus, from the Gay Asylum UK association, tells EveryOne Group that he received a phone call from Mehdi, on February 18th, informing him that the flight that is to take him back to Britain has been arranged for Tuesday February 26th: it will leave at 8 a.m. (Dutch time) from the Amsterdam Airport of Schiphol, and arrive at Heathrow, London at about 8.30 a.m. (British time)

“We are asking the European Union to adopt a tough stance and overrule the decision taken by Gordon Brown’s Government, say the leaders of EveryOne, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, who have taken up the case. “The United Kingdom is continuing undaunted to violate the international conventions on human rights and the rights of refugees, as well as the European directives and laws which determine the requests for political asylum: they did it with the Iranian lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh, when they refused her refugee status, claiming she was unable to prove her homosexuality; they did it a month ago when they deported Ama Sumani back to Ghana. Ama is terminally ill with cancer, she had desperately asked to be treated in England seeing it would be impossible back in her country of origin.”

Everyone Group is making an official appeal to the European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, to put an immediate stop to the boy’s deportation and ensure he is immediately recognised refugee status. Only last January 31st the European Commission took a stance stating “Member States cannot expel or refuse refugee status to homosexual persons without taking into account their sexual preferences, the information relevant to the situation in their country of origin, including the laws and ways in which they are applied”.

“It is time the European Commission’s ruling became reality”, say the representatives of EveryOne. “We invite civil society to express its indignation towards the actions of the British Government, aimed at undermining the values of freedom and dignity of the individual”.

The young man’s full story, as well as his testimony, sent to the Iranian Queer Organization, is available from Monday the 25th in Italian and English on the EveryOne website http://www.everyonegroup.com.

For further information:

EveryOne Group

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527

www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

preview_16x16.png PETITION HERE

By 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(Baghdad) The Iraq government is considering the release of some 5,000 prisoners but a spokesperson said it would not include terrorists or homosexuals.

The Iraqi government has about 20,000 people in custody, while the U.S. military holds about 25,000.

Homosexuality itself is not illegal in Iraq, but police regularly arrest gays on other charges often trumped up.

The amnesty bill drafted by the Shiite-dominated government falls far short of Sunni demands. About the only thing on which the two sides agree is that imprisoned gays not be freed.

The amnesty would cover less than a quarter of the total number of people held in Iraqi prisons, and none of those held by the American military.

Sunni parliamentarians have criticized the bill for its limited scope. They have argued that most prisoners are charged with terrorist crimes, rendering it ineffective. Some also fear referring the bill to Iraq’s gridlocked parliament will actually delay prisoner releases.

The total number of gays being held is not known. And, they may be the lucky ones, according to some LGBT activists.

Death squads imposing strict Islamic law are reportedly responsible for the murders of hundreds of gay men across Iraq.

Last year the leader of an exiled Iraqi LGBT rights group told a London conference on homophobia that that militias blamed for the murders of hundreds of gay men and women are sanctioned by the government and the US-led coalition is doing little to stop the killings. (story)

Ali Hili said that the Badr and Sadr militias – the armed wings of the two main Shia parties that control the government of Iraq – are routinely rounding up men and women, primarily in Baghdad, suspected of being gay. The men and women are never heard from again.

Five members of Hili’s own group were taken away in November of 2006. About a dozen members of Rainbow For Life, another Iraqi LGBT group also have been seized and are presumed dead.

Another 70 have been threatened with kidnapping Rainbow For Life has said.

In 2006 the Iraq government strongly criticized a U.N. report on human rights that put its civilian death toll in 2006 at 34,452, saying it is “superficial” because it included people such as homosexuals.

©365Gay.com 2008

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