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ARDHIS + INTER LGBT + ACT UP PARIS + SOS HOMOPHOBIE

TsaïCommuniqué de presse inter associatif
Paris, le 5 novembre 2009

Deux homos menacés d’une expulsion imminente : la France doit leur assurer protection et leur permettre de faire valoir leurs droits à l’asile ou au séjour !

L’Ardhis, SOS homophobie, Act Up-Paris et l’Inter-LGBT demandent l’annulation des procédures d’expulsion et la régularisation de leur situation administrative.

Merlin, Camerounais de 30 ans fuyant les persécutions homophobes dont il était la cible, a été arrêté à Hendaye, tout juste une heure après avoir passé la frontière, et ce après un périple de plusieurs mois à travers l’Afrique et l’Espagne. Il envisageait de construire une nouvelle vie ici en France, un pays où il serait protégé ! Mais son dessein s’effondre. Son destin, s’il retourne dans son pays, est particulièrement sombre : au Cameroun, les actes homosexuels sont punissables d’un emprisonnement d’un à cinq ans et d’une amende de 20 000 à 200 000 francs CFA. Des arrestations et condamnations sont régulièrement prononcées au nom de cet article. Par ailleurs, la stigmatisation sociale et le chantage sont courants.

Nos associations rappellent que conformément à l’article 6 de la directive 2004/83/CE, le statut de réfugié, au titre de l’asile conventionnel ou de la protection subsidiaire, doit être accordé aux personnes LGBT ayant été ou risquant d’être persécutées par les pouvoirs publics de leur pays d’origine, ou par quelque autre acteur non étatique.

Dans le même centre de rétention se trouve Tsaï1, chinois de 37 ans, diplômé de lettres françaises et de gestion des entreprises à l’université de Nantes. Il est aujourd’hui professeur de chinois ; et vit en couple depuis huit ans à Pantin (93) avec un Français, Jean-Paul Marlet. Dans la suite de ses études de gestion, Tsaï travaillait en CDI pour une entreprise d’import-export de la région parisienne, mais son employeur a été « contraint » de le licencier parce qu’il ne s’était pas vu attribuer un titre de séjour « Salarié » après l’expiration de son titre de séjour « Etudiant », alors même que l’employeur le soutenait dans ses démarches. Il est ainsi entré dans l’irrégularité et est depuis obligé de travailler « au noir » pour gagner sa vie. Entre 2000 et ce jour, Monsieur Tsaï a ainsi établi sa vie privée et familiale sur notre sol et il exerce une activités prfessionnelle stable. Son retour forcé serait préjudiciable, tant pour lui que pour ses proches. Il a passé 10 ans de sa vie en France et sa vie est bien ici !

Pour chacun d’entre eux, l’expulsion vers leur pays d’origine les expose à la haine, aux persécutions, à des peines de prison du fait de leur homosexualité, qui détruirait la nouvelle vie qu’ils s’étaient employés à bâtir.

Nous rappelons qu’il est ordinairement difficile de faire la preuve rapide de persécutions ou de rejets subis dans son pays d’origine et que l’orientation sexuelle n’est pas quelque chose qui se « démontre » de façon évidente. Chaque situation nationale demande un travail d’information lent et difficile, afin de mettre à jour l’importance des risques encourus par les personnes homosexuelles ou transgenres. Pendant ce temps, des solutions d’accueil provisoire doivent être trouvées, de façon à fournir aux demandeurs d’asile et aux associations qui les accompagnent le temps de préparer des dossiers circonstanciés.

En décembre 2008, le gouvernement français, à l’instar de Rama Yade, alors secrétaire d’État des Droits de l’homme, a fait voter la dépénalisation de l’homosexualité et de l’identité de genre à l’Organisation des Nations Unies. Au regard de cette initiative, relevant de la lutte contre l’homophobie à un niveau international, nous attendons, pour le moins, que ce même gouvernement accorde le droit d’asile en France à des LGBT persécutés dans leur pays d’origine.

L’Ardhis, SOS homophobie, Act Up-Paris et l’Inter-LGBT demandent donc aujourd’hui la libération de Merlin et de Tsaï et ce :

* afin que la demande d’asile déposée par Merlin puisse être instruite sans urgence et qu’un éventuel recours devant la Cour Nationale du Droit d’Asile puisse être effectivement examiné
* afin que Tsaï puisse demander une régularisation de situation administrative arguant de sa situation de compagnon d’un Français depuis plus de 7 ans et qu’il fait preuve à ce jour de plus de 10 ans de présence sur notre territoire

Contacts Presse:

Audrey Grelombe pour Act Up Paris: 0625479136

audreygrelombe@yahoo.fr

Bartholomé Girard pour SOS Homophobie: 0628320250

bartholome.girard@sos-homophobie.org

Philippe Castel pour Inter LGBT: 0625768192

philippe.castel@inter-lgbt.org

Thomas Fouquet-Lapar pour Ardhis : 0619640391

ardhis@hotmail.fr

www.ardhis.org

www.actupparis.org

www.inter-lgbt.org

www.sos-homophobie.org

Nous appelons toutes personnes, physiques ou morales, à solliciter le préfet des Pyrénées Atlantiques (64). Les associations peuvent aussi écrire directement au ministère et à l’Elysée (demander nous les contacts : ardhis@hotmail.fr).

Une lettre-type vous est proposée:

Monsieur le Préfet,

Vous avez engagé deux procédures d’éloignement envers un ressortissant chinois et un ressortissant camerounais, sous les références d’Aprf suivantes: 09-64-00368 et 09-64-00371. Nous vous alertons que ces ressortissants étrangers sont des personnes vulnérables et qu’il est urgent que notre pays leur assure protection.

Merlin (prénom d’emprunt), Camerounais de 30 ans fuyant les persécutions homophobes dont il était la cible, a été arrêté à Hendaye, tout juste une heure après avoir passé la frontière et ce après un périple de plusieurs mois à travers l’Afrique et l’Espagne. Il envisageait de construire une nouvelle vie ici en France, un pays où il serait protégé ! Mais son dessein s’effondre. Son destin, s’il retourne dans son pays, est particulièrement sombre : au Cameroun, les actes homosexuels sont punissables d’un emprisonnement d’un à cinq ans et d’une amende de 20 000 à 200 000 francs CFA. Des arrestations et condamnations sont régulièrement prononcées au nom de cet article. Par ailleurs, la stigmatisation sociale et le chantage sont courantes. Nos associations rappellent que conformément à l’article 6 de la directive 2004/83/CE, le statut de réfugié, au titre de l’asile conventionnel ou de la protection subsidiaire, doit être accordé aux personnes LGBT ayant été ou risquant d’être persécutées par les pouvoirs publics de leur pays d’origine, ou par quelque autre acteur non étatique.

Dans le même centre de rétention se trouve Tsaï (prénom d’emprunt), chinois de 37 ans, diplômé de lettres françaises et de gestion des entreprises à l’université de Nantes. Il est aujourd’hui professeur de chinois ; il vit en couple depuis huit ans à Pantin (93) avec un Français, Jean Paul Marlet.

Dans la suite de ses études de gestion, Tsaï travaillait en CDI pour une entreprise d’import-export de la région parisienne, mais son employeur a été « contraint » de le licencier parce qu’il ne s’était pas vu attribué par la préfecture un titre de séjour « Salarié » après l’expiration de son titre de séjour « Etudiant », alors même que l’employeur le soutenait dans ses démarches. Il est ainsi entré dans l’irrégularité et est depuis obligé de travailler “au noir” pour gagner sa vie. Entre 2000 et ce jour, Tsaï a ainsi établi sa vie privée et familiale sur notre sol et il a développé une activité professionnelle stable. Son retour forçé serait préjudiciable, tant pour lui que pour ses proches. Il a passé 10 ans de sa vie en France et sa vie est bien ici !.

Nous vous demandons donc instamment de bien vouloir libérer ces deux personnes et leur permettre ainsi de continuer leurs démarches administratives :

· afin que la demande d’asile déposée par Merlin puissent être instruite sans urgence et qu’un éventuel recours devant la Cour Nationale du Droit d’Asile puisse être effectivement examiné

· afin que Tsaï puisse demander une régularisation de situation administrative sur le motif de sa situation de compagnon d’un Français depuis plus de 7 anzs et qu’il fait preuve à ce jour de plus de 10 ans de présence sur notre territoire

Nos associations s’engagent à les accompagner dans leurs démarches

Nous vous remercions de votre bienveillance et nous vous prions de croire, monsieur le Préfet, en notre plus haute considération.

Où adresser la lettre ?

dominique.schmitt@gironde.pref.gouv.fr

prefet@gironde.pref.gouv.fr

guesdong@club-internet.fr

philippe.rey@pyrenees-atlantiques.pref.gouv.fr

pierre.larroque-laborde@pyrenees-atlantiques.pref.gouv.fr

Fax secrétariat du préfet : 05 59 98 26 44,

Fax du bureau des étrangers : 05 59 98 26 42

Pour obtenir de l’aide, ecrivez a: ardhis-help@ardhis.org

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Jamaican Gay bashingJamaican Gay Bashing, Don’t Panic

The global struggle for queer freedom

Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2009

by Peter Tatchell

Most of the world is still living in the homophobic dark ages, but LGBT people are defiant and making gains.

Delivered 13 October 2009 at Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln, UK.

It is a very great honour, and joy, to deliver the Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2009. Caroline was a friend and comrade. I remember her with much affection. She left us with a fine humanitarian legacy as a leading advocate of comprehensive education and better educational opportunities. She also lives on, in spirit, through her inspiring, passionate support for socialism, trade union rights, women’s equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) freedom. She was a true progressive, who dedicated her life, with much honour and nobility, to the upliftment of humanity. I am very proud to have known Caroline, and salute her life and work with this lecture.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have made great progress in Britain, especially in the last decade. But in large parts of the world, homophobic and transphobic oppression remains rife.

Take Jamaica, a country with which Britain has close ties. It is a parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth. It is not a police-state dictatorship. Yet male homosexuality is criminalised and punishable with up to 10 years hard labour. Homophobic discrimination and violence is endemic and the government refuses to take any serious action to protect LGBT Jamaicans.

One of my Jamaican colleagues was the AIDS educator and gay rights activist, Steve Harvey. He was a trail-blazer for LGBT people and especially for people with HIV. In late 2005, a gang burst into his home, kidnapped him, took him to a remote place and shot him dead in an execution-style killing.

Soon afterwards, Nokia Cowen drowned when he jumped into Kingston harbour to escape a violent homophobic mob that had chased him through town. A few weeks later, Jamaica’s trade ambassador, Peter King, was found dead with his throat slashed and multiple stab wounds. Then there was the gruesome discovery of the mutilated bodies of two lesbians, who were found dumped in a septic pit behind the house they shared. All these horrific, homophobic killings happened just weeks apart.

Only this summer, John Terry, the British consul in Jamaica, was brutally mudered in his own home by a killer who left a note abusing him as a “batty man” (Jamaican patois slang for faggot), and warning that the same fate would happen to “all gays.”

Homophobic violence is routine in Jamaica, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. LGBT victims of hate crimes seldom get justice. Police sometimes ignore anti-gay attacks and some officers have been known to abuse, threaten, beat and arrest gay-bashing victims. The perpetrators of homophobic violence are rarely put on trial and convicted.

What is happening in Jamaica is symptomatic of a much wider homophobic persecution.

Around 80 countries continue to outlaw homosexuality, with penalties ranging from one year’s jail to life imprisonment. Just under half these countries are former British colonies and current members of the Commonwealth – a community of nations supposedly committed to uphold democracy and human rights. The anti-gay laws in these Commonwealth nations were originally legislated by the British government in the nineteenth century during the period of colonial rule. They were never repealed when these nations won their independence from Britain.

As well as homophobic laws, British imperalism imposed homophobic prejudice, by means of the fire and brimstone Christian fundamentalist missionaries who sought to “civilise” the so-called “heathen” peoples of the colonies. Some civilisation! The British conquerers instilled in these countries a homophobic hatred that lives on to this day, which is wrecking the lives of LGBT people.

Homophobia is particularly extreme in the Islamist states that impose the death penalty for same-sex relations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan and the Yemen. In some regions of other countries, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, Sharia law is enforced and lesbians and gays can be stoned to death.

Amid this gloom, last December something truly remarkable and historic happened. Sixty-six countries signed a United Nations’ statement calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and condemning homophobic discrimination and violence. This was the first time the UN General Assembly had addressed the issue of LGBT human rights. Previously, all resolutions that attempted to get UN committees to endorse LGBT equality had been blocked by an unholy alliance of the Vatican and Islamic states.

Despite this breakthrough statement, even today no international human rights convention specifically acknowledges sexual rights as human rights. None explicitly guarantee equality and non-discrimination to LGBT people. The right to love a person of one’s choice is absent from global humanitatrian statutes. Relationships between partners of the same sex are not officially recognised in any international law. There is nothing in the many UN conventions that concretely guarantees LGBT equality and prohibits homophobic discrimination

Nor are specific LGBT rights and protections included within the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It is only in the last decade or so that the ECHR’s equality and privacy clauses been interpreted to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

In the late 1990s, British LGBT citizens filed appeals at the European Court of Human Rights, against the UK’s then discriminatory, homophobic laws. They cited the ECHR’s right-to-privacy and anti-discrimination clauses to successfully challenge centuries-old anti-gay UK legislation. These victories at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg forced the British government to repeal the unequal age of consent for gay men, discriminatory sexual offences laws and the ban on lesbians and gays serving in the armed forces.

ECHR judgments also successfully pressured Romania and Cyprus to decriminalise homosexuality. The ECHR has thus played an important role in challenging and overturning homophobic legislation.

Of the 192 member states of the UN, only a handful have repealed all major legal inequalities against LGBT people: including the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, New Zealand and, more recently, the UK.

Britain’s record was not always so positive. In the 1980s, the UK had a greater number of homophobic laws than the then communist-ruled Soviet Union. Nowadays, we are one of the most progressive European countries. We’ve gone from zero to hero in a mere decade.

In large parts of the world, however, homophobia is still rampant. Hundreds of millions of LGBT people are forced to hide their sexuality; fearing ostracism, harassment, discrimination, imprisonment, torture and even murder.

Some of this violence is perpetrated by vigilantes, including right-wing death squads in countries like Mexico and Brazil. They justify the killing of queers as “social cleansing.”
Other homophobic persecution is officially encouraged and enforced by governments, police, courts, media and religious leaders.

This persecution is happening even in Europe and the US. In echoes of Margaret Thatcher’s notorious Section 28, Lithuania has just passed a new law banning the so-called “promotion” of homosexuality. The US maintains a federal ban on same-sex marriage and openly LGBT people are not allowed to serve in the armed forces.

Homophobic injustice is rife in much of Africa. Cameroonian gay men have been arrested and jailed in the last year, without any clear evidence that they had same-sex relations.

In Nigeria, in 2005, six teenage lesbians, one only 12 years old, were ordered to be punished with an agonising 90 lashes for consensual same-sex relations. Last year, a Nigerian gay pastor and another Christian gay activist were forced to flee the country after threats to kill them.

In Nepal, there is a long, sad history of transgender people being regularly beaten, raped, arrested and detained without trial.

Government ministers in Namibia, echoing the homo-hatred of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, have denounced lesbians and gays as unAfrican, as traitors and as spreaders of HIV/AIDS.

In the new post-Saddam Hussein “democratic” Iraq, the rise of Islamist fundamentalism has led to the creeping, de facto imposition of Sharia law, with deadly consequences for LGBTs – and for women who refuse to be veiled. Iraqis who murder LGBT people to defend the “honour” of their family escape punishment. The US and UK-backed Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa calling for the execution of lesbians and gays in the “worst, most severe way possible.” Islamist death squads of the Badr and Sadr militias are assassinating LGBT people in their homes and streets, with impunity.

Russian religious leaders have united to orchestrate a campaign of hatred against the LGBT community. The Orthodox Church has denounced homosexuality as a “sin which destroys human beings and condemns them to a spiritual death.” The Chief Mufti of Russia’s Muslims, Talgat Tajuddin, says gay campaigners “should be bashed… Sexual minorities have no rights, because they have crossed the line. Alternative sexuality is a crime against God.” Russian Chief Rabbi, Berl Lazar, has condemned gay pride parades as “a blow for morality,” adding that there is no right to “sexual perversions.”

The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has denounced gay people as “satanic.” He has repeatedly banned Gay Pride marches. This violates Russia’s constitution and law, which guarantee freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest. LGBT people who have attempted to march have been violently arrested.

The Iranian persecution of LGBTs continues unabated. Twenty-two year old Amir was entrapped by via a gay dating website. The person he arranged to meet turned out to be a member of the morality police. Amir was jailed, tortured and sentenced to 100 lashes, which caused him to lose consciousness and left his whole back covered in huge bloody welts. He is just one of many Iranian LGBTs who have been subjected to lashings, torture, imprisonment and, sometimes, execution.

The western-backed regime in Saudi Arabia retains the death penalty – usually beheading – for homosexuality. In early 2006, its neighbour, the United Arab Emirates, imposed six years jail on 11 gay men arrested at a private party. They were not imprisoned for sexual acts, but merely for being gay and attending a gay social gathering.

The election of a right-wing, Catholic fundamentalist government in Poland in 2005 resulted in the abolition of the government office for combating discrimination against women and LGBTs. The same year, the Mayor of Poznan banned the Gay Pride parade. LGBT people marched anyway. Over 60 were arrested. Many more were injured after the police failed to protect them from the violence of far right counter-protesters.

Uganda is gripped by the state-sponsored victimisation of LGBT people. Typical is the fate of gay rights activist Kizza Musinguzi. He was jailed in 2004 and subjected to four months of forced labour, water torture, beatings and rape. Another gay Ugandan, Isaac K, narrowly escaped an attempted summary execution by a homophobic mob acting with the connivance of local government officials.

Those who speak out against anti-gay violence risk dire consequences. Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo was dismissed by the Church of Uganda for defending the human rights of LGBT people.

In recent years, the Ugandan government has passed a law banning same-sex marriage, fined Radio Simba for broadcasting a discussion of LGBT issues, and expelled a UN AIDS agency director for meeting with gay activists.

LGBT people have nevertheless made huge strides forward in many parts of the world. A mere four decades ago, “queers” were almost universally seen as mad, bad and sad. Same-sex relations were deemed a sin, a crime and a sickness. It was in only 1991 that the World Health Organisation declassified homosexuality as an illness, and that Amnesty International agreed to campaign for LGBT human rights and to adopt jailed LGBTs as prisoners of conscience.

Nowadays, the global tide is shifting in favour of LGBT emanicipation. An out gay man and LGBT activist, Sunil Pant, was elected to the parliament of Nepal in the post-monarchy elections. In 1999, Georgina Beyer took office in New Zealand, becoming the world’s first openly transgender MP. Uruguay, formerly a military dictatorship, this summer lifted its prohibition on gay servicemen and women. The Lebanon has made history by becoming the first Arab Middle East nation to allow the open, legal establishment of an LGBT welfare and human rights group, Helem.

While fundamentalist religion is still a major threat to LGBT equality, we also have our allies in many faiths. The anti-aparheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has compared homophobia to racism, and described the battle for LGBT freedom as the moral equivalent of the fight against apartheid.

Six countries now outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in their constitutions: South Africa (1996), Fiji (1997), Ecuador (1998), Switzerland (2000), Sweden (2003) and Portugal (2004).

In almost every country on earth, there are LGBT freedom movements – some open, others clandestine.

For the first time ever, countries like the Philippines, Estonia, Lebanon, Columbia, Russia, Sri Lanka, and China are hosting LGBT conferences and Pride celebrations. Via the internet and pop culture, LGBT people in small towns in Ghana, Peru, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Vietnam, St Lucia, Palestine, Fiji and Kenya are connecting with the worldwide LGBT community. The struggle for LGBT liberation has gone global. We’ve begun to roll back the homophobia of centuries. Bravo!

Postscript:

LGBT movements worldwide are urging every government to legislate LGBT equality and human rights and to tackle homophobic and transphobic prejudice, harassment, discriminatiion and violence. These demands include:

1 – Decriminalise same-sex relations; in particular, abolish the death penalty and flogging.

2 – Allow the formation of LGBT organisations and the advocacy of LGBT human rights; and consult with these organisations and their spokespeople when drafting new laws and policies.

3 – Outlaw discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in employment, housing, education, advertising, health-care and the provision of goods and services, such as hotel accommodation and service in bars and restaurants.

4 – Establish an equal age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual acts.

5 – Grant legal recognition and rights to same-sex partners; either via civil marriage or civil partnerships / civil unions.

6 – Teach gay-inclusive sex and civic education in schools, in order to challenge homophobia and promote understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.

7 – Crackdown on homophobic hate crimes, to protect LGBTs from hate-motivated violence.

8 – Revise all laws to make them sexuality-neutral, so there is no legislative differentiation between heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, and so that heterosexual, lesbian, gay and bisexual people have the same rights and responsibilities in law.

9 – Provide access for same-sex couples to fertility treatment and give them the right to foster and adopt children.

10 – Offer gay-inclusive HIV education and prevention campaigns, non-discriminatory HIV care and support services, and LGBT access to free or low-cost condoms.

Onward, upward and forward to queer liberation worldwide.

* Peter Tatchell has campaigned for LGBT human rights for over 40 years. For more information about his campaigns and to make a donation: http://www.petertatchell.net


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Montag, 5. Oktober 2009 (Photo Reuters)

Franco-British Charter to Kabul: The Odious Show Continues

By No Border 09 Lesvos

A Franco-britannique deportation “charter” is scheduled for October 6 flying to Kabul. While the humanitarian situation and security continue to deteriorate in Afghanistan, that there has more civilian casualties than ever, and NGOs such as the Secretary General of UN expressed particular concern about the situation, France and Great Britain are trying, as they did in November 2008 with a joint operation. Afghanistan is a country at war. It is unacceptable to refer those that have fled to seek protection in Europe.

In France the Minister of immigration is mocking the decision of different courts to release 130 OF the 138 Afghans who had been arrested on September 22, for their removal, with the spectacular closure of the the largest “jungle” in Calais.

These courts have highlighted the inanity of this media operation recalling the respect of the people rights and fundamental freedoms Several courts have cancelled the papers obliging the migrants to leave the French territory (APRF) with the motivation of the non respect of the right to claim asylum. The government has not remedied this.

The government remains locked in his rhetoric about the magnetic effect of the jungle, according to which Afghans, Eritreans, Iraqis, Iranians, Sudanese, etc.. don’t come to Europe to save their lives and their freedoms, but for reasons of pleasure and comfort. According to this rhetoric, the current raids are supposed to carry disincentive messages in the countries of origin. So it like this that the Afghans of Calais are being taken hostage to try to terrorize their fellow victims of violence in the country.

These “cleaning operation” are continuing as well as the placement of Afghans in detention .

The joint charters which are contrary to the principle of collective deportation. They are leading to arbtitrary discriminatory and inhuman practices , in defiance of peoples fundamental rights.

We call upon the French and the Britsh authorities to waive any project of deportation to Afghanistan which would seriously endanger the lives of the Exiles.

We reaffirm the urgency of making sense of asylum in Europe by providing a mechanism for all refugees to seek protection in the country of his/her choice. In the meantime, that France can and must suspend the application of the Dublin Regulation so it may host on its territory those who continue to flee conflict and take refuge in Europe.

PRESS CONTACTS:
Cimade Julie Chansel 06 82 24 03 47
julie.chansel@lacimade.org

Full Article

See Also ARDHIS PARIS

I, Sunil Babu Pant, MP from Nepal, strongly denounce new President of the United Nations’ ‘unacceptable’ views on homosexuality”.

I am extremely concern and saddened when I heard: Taking his post at the opening of the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations, on 15 September 2009, Libyan Ali Abdussalam Treki suggested that homosexuality was unacceptable.

The newly-elected President was asked during his press conference about the UN Resolution calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. “That matter is very sensitive, very touchy. As a Muslim, I am not in favour of it…it is not accepted by the majority of the countries. My opinion is not in favour of this matter at all, I think it is not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition”, he said.

I call on the President to represent all countries and people of all walks not only Muslims. He is there to defend the principles of the United Nations and that includes the Universal Declaration Human Rights Act 1948 and all following amendments and covenants of rights, including LGBT Human Rights.

His religious views should remain private and he must now speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice. He should know that the implications of his words could legitimize violence and hatred towards LGBTI people in country like Libya.

Nepal, along with 66 countries, signed the Resolution in favour of the decriminalization of homosexuality and passed last December. Nepal is very much committed to realize full equality and justice for all regardless of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Sunil Babu Pant
MP, Nepal
Founder, Blue Diamond Society
Coordinator, Parliamentary Action Team on Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.

http://www.bds.org.np/

EveryOne Group: A serious statement that legitimizes the death penalty.

The Security Council must immediately remove Ali Abdussalam Treki from the Presidency

September 23, the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Libyan Ali Abdussalam Treki, opened the 64th Assembly session of the UN by holding a press conference.

During the course of the assembly some journalists asked him about his position regarding the “Declaration for the Universal Decriminalisation of Homosexuality” which was made official on December 19, 2008.

Ali Abdussalam Treki stated: “It is a very thorny argument. As a Muslim, I do not agree with it. I believe it is not acceptable for most of the world, and it is totally unacceptable for our tradition and religion”.

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-Presidents of EveryOne Group, the international human rights organisation, say: “Ali Abdussalam Treki made a very serious statement which cannot in any way be justified. Like every other Member of the General Assembly, the President has a duty to represent the principles and the aims of the United Nations, according to the Charter adopted on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco with its respect for Human Rights and fundamental freedom for all the human beings (art. 1).

In fact, with such a declaration, the president of the General Assembly has legitimised the violence, the imprisonment and the death penalty for thousands of homosexual people all over the world.

Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau are appealing to the General Secretary and to the Security Council – whose duty it is to solve controversies in the General Assembly regarding the principles of the United Nations – to immediately remove Ali Abdussalam Treki from his role of President for his non-compliance to the aims and principles of the UN.

EveryOne Group is also appealing to the associations and LGBT organisations, the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the governments of the democratic countries, particularly France and Holland – who put forward the above-mentioned moratorium – to stigmatize the statements made by the President of the UN General Assembly, and to ask for the immediate removal of Ali Abdussalam Treki from the presidency of the UN General Assembly.

SlavicPride09BigUN Human Rights Committee gives Russia 6 months to justify Gay Picket Ban in Moscow

Activists hope for a decision before next year’s Moscow Pride

MOSCOW (GayRussia.Ru) The United Nations Human Rights Committee based in Geneva, Switzerland, gave Russia six months to give its position on a complaint sent by Nikolai Alekseev, Moscow Pride Chief Organizer.

“In accordance with rule 97 of the Committee’s rules of procedure, a copy of the communication has been sent to the State party today, with the request that any information (…) should reach the committee within 6 months” states the letter received from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The case refers to the ban of the picketing in front of the Iranian Embassy in Moscow with the aim to condemn executions of homosexuals and minors in this country and to appeal for the repeal of the death penalty.

“It is the first time that we use this procedure of individual complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee and we are satisfied to see that it took only one month to the Committee to open the case,” Nikolai Alekseev said tuesday at the Slavic Pride Press Conference in Moscow.

“This procedure is much faster than in the European Court where we already have loads of applications pending for more than two years without result.” he added.

He expressed hope that the UN Human Rights Committee will condemn Russia for the breaches of the rights of gays and lesbians before May 2010 when the fifth Moscow Pride is scheduled.

“This Committee is one of the very few international means we have, to appeal against unlawful decisions of Russian authorities, together with the European Court.”

The picket was supposed to take place on July 19 last year from 1 to 2 p.m. with up to 30 participants. Notification was sent by Moscow Gay Pride organizers to the Prefecture of the Central Administrative area of Moscow in full accordance with the law on 11 July. The same day, deputy prefect Galina Boryatinskaya denied permission for the event.

The reason given for the refusal of permission to stage the picket was in the “interests of public order”.

However, two similar pickets – on July 19 2006 and July 19 2007 – were permitted. It is widely believed that last year’s ban was as a result of the word “homosexual” being included in the application – the word had not been used on applications for the previous two years.

In their complaint against Russia to the UN Human Rights Committee, the organizers claim that by banning their public event Russian authorities breached Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly to everyone.

The complaint by Russian gay activists was sent on the basis of the procedure enshrined in the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights drafted in 1966.

The Covenant allows individuals to apply to the Committee against the states which breached their rights given by the Pact. Russia recognized the jurisdiction of the UN Human Rights Committee in 1992.

The complaint sent to the UN Human Rights Committee today was the first one concerning the bans of public events of sexual minorities in Russia which was sent to the UN.

Russian activists have appealed so far 170 banned marches to the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg. The first complain was received by the Court in January 2007. To date, the case has still not been assigned.

Pickets in front of Iranian Embassies have been organized around the world to commemorate the two gay Iranian boys who were executed on July 19, 2005.

www.gayrussia.ru

See Also:

Improving security prompts UN to revise guidelines for Iraqi asylum claims
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=30702&Cr=iraq&Cr1=

05-05-2009iraqA view of UNHCR tents being used by displaced people in north-east Iraq

5 May 2009 – A drop off in levels of violence in some parts of Iraq has allowed the United Nations refugee agency to revise its guidelines on eligibility for those seeking asylum.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) previously advised that all Iraqis from the central and southern governorates be considered refugees.

In its latest recommendations, the agency believes that the international protection needs for those originating from Al-Anbar, encompassing much of the country’s western territory, and the south should be assessed on individual merit.

However, UNHCR advises favourable consideration for people belonging to specific groups from these areas which have been identified as at risk, including members of religious and ethnic minorities; Iraqis perceived as opposing armed groups or political factions; Iraqis affiliated with the multinational forces or foreign companies; media workers; UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers; human rights activists; and homosexuals.

The agency also stressed that ongoing violence, conflict and human rights violations in most of the central governorates of Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din places asylum-seekers from these areas in continued need for international protection.

UNHCR estimates that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, mainly in Syria and Jordan but also in Lebanon, Egypt and others, with over 40,000 asylum applications made in industrialized countries last year alone.

The agency stressed that improvement in the situation in Iraq is not yet sufficient enough to promote or encourage massive returns and it recommended that refugees already benefiting from international protection should retain their status.

In a related development, an Iraqi ministry has pledged $30 million for projects aimed at improving the lives of children in rural marshland areas.

With a 34 per cent illiteracy rate among women living in marshlands, compared to 24 per cent nationally, and school enrolment at least 30 per cent lower than in urban areas, and around 80 per cent of households not connected to the general water network, the marshlands has some of the worst development indicators in Iraq.

See Also Tetu Article :
http://www.tetu.com/actualites/international/lonu-reclame-lasile-pour-les-gays-dirak-14596

https://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/improving-security-prompts-un-to-revise-guidelines-for-gay-iraqi-asylum-claims/

See also, by Michael Petrelis, on the same subject:

See also:

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

By Omar Hassan, http://www.pinknews.co.uk

unspeakablelove1Execution, public humiliation and imprisonment have long plagued the lives of the LGBT community in the Middle Eastern world. It is a well-known fact that “LGBT individuals are at a constant struggle,” notes the Imaan Secretariat (an organisation dedicated to the wellbeing of gay Muslims, based in Britain). “[They] must [fight] for the right to be LGBT… [and] for the freedom to love somebody of the same sex,” he argues further.

Brian Whitaker, of the Guardian, who authored the book ‘Unspeakable Love’, notes that the subject of homosexuality is as unmentionable in the Middle East as it was in the UK 60 years ago.

This tension can be attributed largely to Islamic conservatism. In 2006, it was reported that radical Islamic militias were attacking homosexuals in Iraq; and it was only a year later that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that there were “no homosexuals in Iran”.

“Ironically, Ahmadinedjad’s remarks and the laughter from his audience probably did a lot to bring [the issue] out in the open’, Whitaker told us. Indeed, soon after, filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian released a documentary entitled ‘Be Like Others’. The film revealed that the government had been paying for homosexual men to have sex-change operations. Arguably, this was the Iranian administration’s humane ultimatum to the death sentence, which is bestowed on any two men who wish to engage in a homosexual relationship.

At the time of the film’s release, the filmmaker stated that it was easy to find her subjects, noting that gender reassignment surgery is a “public phenomenon [even] encouraged by the Islamic clerics”.

These instances do not begin to explain the extent of the pressures that one faces for being gay in this part of the world.

Even at a basic level, one can argue that Arabic language in itself does not accommodate a neutral definition of the term ‘homosexual’. The most inoffensive branding for an LGBT man for instance is ‘Luti’ or ‘Shaz’, which roughly translate to mean ‘pervert’ or ‘deviant’. How then, is anyone who identifies as part of this minority group going to be able to stand up to such political, social and linguistic barriers?

Human rights activists the world over had hoped that a UN joint statement released last December would help alleviate the situation. Signed by over 60 countries, the assertion called for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the protection of various other LGBT human rights, including the protection against discrimination.

However, according to human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, it is important to note that this is not a resolution.

“It has no force on international law. [Still], it is an important symbolic benchmark, being the first time that the UN General Assembly has ever heard such a statement,” he said.

As expected, the statement was opposed by Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. “They will ignore it…[and it will] have little moderating effect on their abuse of LGBT citizens”, argues Tatchell.

Undeniably, Middle Eastern politicians and religious figures are prone to use arguments relating to cultural rights and relativism, claiming that the West (and its allies) have no authority to infringe on any nation’s legal system, regardless of whether the matter concerns the seemingly universal human rights to life, freedom and personal liberty.

Indeed, one can make an example out of the public reaction to the Queen Boat raid, which took place in Cairo nearly eight years ago. At the time, the relatively liberal Egyptian government enforced a crackdown on an unofficial floating gay nightclub, which was moored on the Nile. The raids subsequently lead to 52 arrests, with many of the victims claiming to be arbitrarily detained whilst simply passing by the docks. The men involved were publicly humiliated (whilst in court, they were placed in cages) with their faces splashed across the covers of newspapers.

Although there is no law in Egypt that explicitly bans homosexual practice, the accused men were charged on the grounds of ‘debauchery’. In the end, over twenty of those arrested faced sentences which ranged between three to five years in prison. Many of those who were released returned home to find that they had lost their jobs and were rejected by their families.

Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist and journalist who was working at the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) at the time, protested against these injustices. He argued that the administration was using the raid as a means to sidetrack public focus from the impending recession, its Western alliances (which are unpopular with the public) and to quell the tensions growing in the Islamic Brotherhood (who are of increasing importance in the Egyptian political arena).

Soon after speaking out, Bahgat was removed from his position at the EOHR. The EOHR’s secretary-general, Hafez Abu Saada told the press at the time: “Personally, I don’t like the subject of homosexuality, and I don’t want to defend them.” He also went on to explain that sexual preference was not a human right.

At the same time, the Egyptian government went so far as to arrest individuals who used online chat rooms and social networking websites as a means for sourcing homosexual relationships. Futhermore, reports were circulating that government officials were masquerading as potential suitors in order to set gay men up for arrest. Scott Long of Human Rights Watch has spoken previously about this matter, asserting that when governments crack down on homosexual gathering places, whether real or online, they do it for political rather than purely moral reasons. “They are saying to their people that they are defending what is authentic, what is Islamic,” he said.

In turn, the politicians, journalists and even the human rights activists of the Middle Eastern world are arguing back at egalitarian impositions that beg for the equal rights of the LGBT community.

Considering the sensitivity of the issue and the rise of anti-Islamic attitude in the West, it is very easy for Islamic states to claim that announcements (such as the UN statement) are imperial infringements by the secular West on the Islamic world. Accordingly, it is evident that the UN’s efforts will reap only meagre benefits for the distressed LGBT community in the Middle East.

How then do we begin to envisage change in the region for this vulnerable community? On an individual basis, many Middle Easterners seeking an escape believe that Western states should implement more liberal asylum policies towards LGBT groups.

However, if we are going to be realistic about safeguarding the rights of these communities than we need a new strategy. The West must use political leverage to bring LGBT rights up on the international agenda as, undeniably, many of the biggest gay rights’ abuses committed in the Middle East are by Western allies.

Undoubtedly, this will require significant effort, especially considering that many of the Arabs and Muslims who live in the diaspora also occupy negative attitudes towards homosexuals. Still, the beliefs of an increasingly blindsided religious majority should not take precedence over anyone’s basic humanity.

According to Tatchell, what is most likely to change is the self-organisation of LGBT people in Muslim states, as has happened in Lebanon, through the work of the LGBT group, Helem.

“Some…changes might also come through HIV prevention work, where governments will have to reluctantly recognise the LGBT communities in order to combat the HIV pandemic,” he added.
Whitaker argues further that “it is becoming more difficult to keep a lid on discussion of homosexuality in the Middle East”.

“Western debates about gay priests, films like Brokeback Mountain, and even George Michael’s arrest [coupled with the use of the internet] are all heightening gay awareness” in the region, he says.

However until these governments recognise that gay rights are of importance, it should be the obligation of the international community to take a holistic approach to ensuring the protection of this vulnerable LGBT population. Only then, will the new UN statement be able to ensure that our universal human rights are protected.

Omar is a writer and freelance journalist. He has also been involved with a range of TV production companies, working predominantly in the area of factual programming. Born in Cairo, Egypt, he has lived in the U.S.A and Saudi Arabia and currently resides in the United Kingdom.

Full Text

See Also LGBT Asylum News

STOP EXECUTIONS OF GAY IRAQIS
MEMBERS OF IRAQI LGBT GROUP ON DEATH ROW
ACTION NEEDED TO HALT JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/2009/03/stop-executions-of-gay-iraqis.html

London, 27 March 2009

gwb09iraq-2Urgent action is needed to halt the execution of 128 prisoners on death row in Iraq. Many of those awaiting execution were convicted for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality, according to IRAQI-LGBT, a UK based organisation of Iraqis supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Iraq.

According to Ali Hili of IRAQI-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week.

IRAQI-LGBT urgently requests that the UK Government, Human Rights Groups and the United Nations Human Rights Commission intervene with due speed to prevent this tragic miscarriage of justice from going ahead.

“We have information and reports on members of our community whom been arrested and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality,’’ said Mr Hili. “Iraqi lgbt has been a banned from running our activities on Iraqi soil.”

“Raids by the Iraqi police and ministry of interior forces cost our group the diapering and killing of 17 members working for Iraqi lgbt since 2005,” added Mr Hili.

“Death penalty has been increasing at an alarming rate in Iraq since the new Iraqi regime reintroduced it in August 2004.
In 2008 at least 285 people were sentenced to death, and at least 34 executed. In 2007 at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 were executed, while in 2006 at least 65 people were put to death. The actual figures could be much higher as there are no official statistics for the number of prisoners facing execution,” he said.

IRAQI LGBT is concerned that the Iraqi authorities have not disclosed the identities of those facing imminent execution, stoking fears that many of them may have been sentenced to death after trials that failed to satisfy international standards for fair trial.

Most are likely to have been sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI), whose proceedings consistently fall short of international standards for fair trial. Some are likely to have. Allegations of torture are not being investigated adequately or at all by the CCCI. Torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces remains rife.

Iraq’s creaking judicial system is simply unable to guarantee fair trials in ordinary criminal cases, and even less so in capital cases, with the result, we fear, that numerous people have gone to their death after unfair trials.

The Iraqi government must order an immediate halt to these executions and establish a moratorium on all further executions in Iraq, particularly since due process cannot be guaranteed. The state executing people for ‘morals’ crimes is also obviously unacceptable and deplorable.

Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to make public all information pertaining to the 128 people, including their full names, details of the charges against them, the dates of their arrest, trial and appeal and their current places of detention.

The immediate urgent priority is to Support and Donate Money to LGBT activists in Iraq in order to assist their efforts to help other Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals and Trans gender Iraqi’s facing death, persecution and systematic Targeting by the Iraqi Police and Badr and Sadr Militia and to raise awareness about the wave of homophobic murders in Iraq to the outside world.
Funds raised will also help provide LGBTs under threat of killing with refuge in the safer parts of Iraq (including safe houses, food, electricity, medical help) and assist efforts help them seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Iraqi Lgbt
22 Notting Hill Gate
Unit # 111
London , W11 3JE
United Kingdom
Mob: ++44 798 1959 453
Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

See also: Iraq’s brutal executions by Kate Allen, Guardian

Iraqi gays claim government executing them by Paul Canning

Amnesty International: 128 prisoners to be executed in Iraq by Therion

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