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Comment: Stop deporting gay refugees back to Iran

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  1. About time the law was changed. Straight people are granted asylum if they can prove probability of persecution, torture or death if its a matter of religion and politics, yet they look the other way when its based on sexual orientation. Imagine if it were heterosexuals claiming asylum for their own orientation, there would be an uproar, worldwide.Robert, ex-pat Brit.

  2. Bill Perdue 22 Oct 2007, 9:23pm

    I couldn’t agree more with the need for laws to protect GLBT refugees and for an international campaign in support of them in the EU, the US and elsewhere. The governments of most ‘developed’ nations routinely ignore the hazards faced by GLBT refugees and sometimes deport them back to a life of beatings or death at the hands of government and religious murderers.That’s undeniably the case in Iran where the ayatollahs have lynched thousands and for the unknown but likely very large number of gays and lesbians hunted down and butchered by the US armed and led jihadists in Iraq. It’s also the case in many ‘underdeveloped’ (read overexploited) nations where the government needs a scapegoat. The situation is sadly familiar. It parallels the criminally shameful refusal of many governments, notably FDR’S administration in the US, to offer asylum to thousands of working class Jews fleeing Hitler’s version of today’s jihadist death squads. This question highlights the fundamentally international nature of the GLBT movement as do few other issues. The only international opponents will be paytriotic and insular national-chauvinist conservatives who have no sense of solidarity with their brothers and sisters. For the rest of us it’s convincingly a matter of life or death. Belarus Nepal you can make a donation to their safe house if you’d like Iran

  3. Matt of London 23 Oct 2007, 12:19am

    It is absolutley the responsibility of me, you and all gay people to fight for the human rights of gay people who have no rights, no equality, just hatred and violence. You and I could have been born in, and today find ourselves living in, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan etc etc etc. It is only because of luck that any of us were born in a society that acknowledges gay people have human rights. Gay rights are human rights and human rights are non-negotiable.

  4. I think the commentator who compared government attitudes of today being similar to the 1930s is absolutely right. The only thing that will alter the behaviour of the government is publicity. However, that is made more difficult by the potential repercussions on people deported.This is not just a gay issue -it’s a human rights issue.

  5. If we’re too slack with our immigration rules, we’ll have even more Muslims entering the country on the premise that they are “gay”.Although, America has plenty of room.

  6. Robert, ex-pat Brit 23 Oct 2007, 1:31pm

    Its mind-boggling to think that our government, no matter which party is in office, do not believe that persecution and probabl execution of gay people in middle-eastern countries and elsewhere are not grounds for asylum, whereas if you’re straight and you suffer the same fate be they for political, ethnic or religious reasons it is. This only goes to show that this is about homophobia, bigotry, double standards and hypocrisy.

  7. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Oct 2007, 4:00pm

    Nice little right wing, zenophobic view there Jane – ironic as well that it comes from you who labelled the Tories as Nazis.

  8. Why does everyone in here spend their time slinging ‘nazi’ or ‘hypocrite’ labels at one another simply because someone doesn’t agree with their point of view? Is that not the problem with “gay politics” at the moment in that generally people sees us as a pack of militants who wont listen to other points of view without a hissy fit about fascists?All I see in these comments over the last few days (with the exception of a few intelligent arguments) is people ranting about ‘occupied’ Northern Ireland (clearly by people who have never actually been there) or histrionics in the form of accusing people of being ‘nazi’ because they take a different moderate opinion or support another political party. When we are having a little rant about “British Imperialism”, or “insular national-chauvinist conservatives” are we any different from the over zealous Christians who want us wiped off the map?Come on folks, if we can’t treat each other with some semblance of dignity, how on earth could we expect others to do so.

  9. Bill Perdue 23 Oct 2007, 6:55pm

    Derek, the baiting theme of your petty outbursts against defenders of asylum rights sounds eerily familiar. Do you mind telling us who said that you or other conservatives were a “Nazi’ or a ‘hypocrite’. I believe the term hypocrite was used, but legitimately and to criticize governments. Why are you so quick to take offense if you’re not against asylum rights for gay and lesbian refugees? Please, explain. If you think western governments are not hypocritical about human rights for gay and lesbian asylum seekers please defend that idea instead of the straw man you created and took a swipe at. “When we are having a little rant about “British Imperialism”, or “insular national-chauvinist conservatives” are we any different from the over zealous Christians who want us wiped off the map?”Who mentioned ‘British Imperialism”? It’s a valid enough concept given that fact that England had a colonial empire for hundreds of years, and it could help explain some of the backward view of bureaucrats, but for purposes of this discussion it just another straw man you’ve demolished. Demolishing straw men must get exhausting after a while. Again, and if the question comes up form anyone but you in this discussion, or in another more relevant discussion, fell free to defend you view that “British Imperialism” never existed. “When we are having a little rant about “British Imperialism”, or “insular national-chauvinist conservatives” are we any different from the over zealous Christians who want us wiped off the map?”Well obviously you’re not, but those of us who want to insure that our brothers and sisters who need asylum get it are different form the insular national-chauvinist conservatives and over zealous Christians. Why would you conceivably question our motives if not to deflect from you support for deportation of GLBT asylum seekers. Please, defend yourself.

  10. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Oct 2007, 9:25pm

    Let me help Derek out here …Bill:Do you mind telling us who said that you or other conservatives were a “Nazi’ or a ‘hypocrite’.Jane:”Oh dear, oh dear, and he’s supposed to represent the new enlightened Tories. One swallow doesn’t make a summer (although I’m sure he’d object to the use of the word ‘swallow’ as it may have a sexual connotation). The fact is that the rest of his party are still a load of scabby old buzzards with nasty, evil, Nazi, homophobic opinions.”Jane | 10.23.07 – 12:05 pm |

  11. William - Dublin 23 Oct 2007, 9:39pm

    Bill, off you go again. You just proved Derek’s point. Give it a rest.

  12. William - Dublin 23 Oct 2007, 9:42pm

    Derek, unlike Bill, I actually read your comments, and fair play to you. We’ve all had to endure Bill’s rants…. not least his “expertise”on Northern Ireland.

  13. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Oct 2007, 9:45pm

    oh, and another one Bill …”Lets never forget that it was the Tories who authored that fascist, vile piece of legislation called Section 28, the kind of things the Nazis did in Germany by burning books written by Jewish authors, disenfranchising an entire group of people….”Robert, ex-pat Brit.Robert | 09.07.07 – 8:32 pm |

  14. So now you’re quoting each other to prove your NOT attacking them. Thank you for such a kind display for your fellow reader.

  15. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Oct 2007, 10:19pm

    Bill: Who mentioned ‘British Imperialism”? You did bill:In Iran bloodthirsty ayatollahs hang gay boys and men and stone and rock women. In Iraq US armed Shiite and Sunni death squads chase down and slaughter GLBT folk. Regions of Africa infested by conservative islamists and christian cults leftover by colonialism have seen an upsurge of state murders ….blah, blah blah, blah ….”Bill Perdue | 10.16.07 – 11:02 pm |and again …..”We’ll have to disagree about the interconnectedness of these murders and the reasons why the former colonies can’t progress and about Ireland”Bill Perdue | 10.17.07 – 9:55 pm |

  16. Bill Perdue 24 Oct 2007, 4:25am

    For most of us the subject of asylum rights is an important topic and we don’t mean to be sidetracked. In all of Mother Superiors comments he’s never once mentioned asylum rights. He’s attempted, as usual, to deflect dialogue away from asylum rights and back to his rickety apologia for Conservative Party politics. It won’t work. The subject is asylum rights, the need to press recalcitrant western governments to grant asylum from killer regimes and killer jihadist mobs. If you oppose asylum and think you can prove that it’s not needed, please, convince us. Explain away the 4000 or so dead gays and lesbians in Iran. Explain away, if you can, the desperation of Iraqis to have safe houses. Talk to us, not about how people like Jane and others really, really hate Conservatives, we already know that, Talk about asylum rights. If you believe that the unwillingness of western, conservative governments and bureaucrats to grant asylum is caused by anything but rank bigotry please, prove it to us. Show us how enlightened they are, how they’re different from the bureaucrats who slammed the door on Jews and gays fleeing from Hitler. Or tell if you think gays and lesbians should be deported back to their killers. And if you can’t prove it or are simply afraid of making a fool of yourself trying, then stop trying to derail the discussion. Learn to stand up for you ideas, not hide behind a smoke screen. You can create all the straw men you want, and ever so heroically smite them, but that’s both sad and boring. So let us know, Mother Superior, do you want honest dialog, or do you want endless arguments about the Conservative Party. However, if you oppose asylum rights because you can’t be bothered with elementary principles like solidarity then say so and we’ll leave you alone. I know you’re going to really hate this, but we’re going to treat you the way Sam Adams treated Tories during the first American Revolution. Sam said, “IF ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. “ Samuel Adams, Boston, 1777

  17. Sister Mary Clarence 24 Oct 2007, 10:11am

    Bill. I think you’re the one that side tracked the argument again. Personally I took exception to Jane’s posting that ‘too slack’ immigration rules would allow more Muslins into the country.I certainly don’t have a problem with asylum seekers (Muslim of otherwise) coming to this country for refuge from persecution.Why should you think that I do, because I vote Conservative? It was the Conservatives that signed up to the Treaty of Europe the forerunner to the Human Rights Act, which enshrines many of the rights of asylum that we currently have across Europe. With your comprehensive knowledge of British politics, I’m sure you are aware that Labour guarded against signing the Treaty as it would result in an influx of cheap workers.Neither in fact (as I have stated to you before) do I have a problem with social migrants for that matter – that is to say people who want to come to this country to make a better life for them and their families.The current system we have that can leave people in limbo for theoretically up to 14 years, although in reality even longer, is inhumane and cannot be justified. It is unfortunately that both the Treaty of Europe and the Human Rights Act did not go further to ensure that member states we not forced process claims more swiftly.The current system we have does not differentiate between social migrants and asylum seekers. We do not allow social migrants, but if we did, those genuinely in need of asylum could be dealt with much quicker and their uncertainty and distress minimised. The Conservative party has advocated a controlled immigration policy. We have a skills gap we cannot fill and we need about a million migrant workers each year to sustain economic growth. A controlled policy would mean one channel for those genuinely seeking refuge from persecution and separate channel for those seeking to come to this country to make a better life. Creating a second channel would alleviate pressure on those processing asylum claims, ensure speedier processing, and hopefully also reduce the numbers of false asylum applications. It would also allow us to fill skills gaps that have emerged over recent years.The system we currently have benefits no one. I’m sure however you will try to find some way to twist my words, but in the hope of making it harder for you to do so:1) I would like to see the system for those seeking asylum in the UK made quicker and easier.2) I would like to see a new system introduced to allow controlled entry of social migrants into the UK.

  18. Comment: Stop deporting gay refugees back to Iran.22nd October 2007 16:31Omar Kuddus .One has to ask, would you want to send a gay Iranian back to Iran, only for him to face public execution just for just being gay?Human sexuality is as much a fundamental right as the right to free speech or the right to freedom and no one, least of all a government elected by the people, has the right to interfere with that.

  19. Robert, ex-pat Brit 24 Oct 2007, 1:33pm

    Sister Mary, what I find quite disturbing is that our government still does not consider the situation in Iran as posing a serious threat to the very lives of gay Iranians, a society that executes someone for being gay, or being tortured or persecuted, among other things. It is disgusting, horrendous. By deporting people to their possible deaths is condoning genocide. Ahmedinejad denied the existence of gays in Iran or that any have ever been executed which we all know is a damn lie, an absurd statement if ever there were. How can any government believe anything coming out of this evil man’s mouth to construe that gay Iranians are not in any danger?

  20. Sister Mary Clarence 24 Oct 2007, 2:13pm

    Robert, I can assure you I didn’t vote for them.I had hoped that I had made my views on immigration and asylum very clear to Bill.You can rest assured I won’t be voting for them again at the next general election either

  21. Robert, ex-pat Brit 24 Oct 2007, 3:41pm

    Sister Mary, yes you did make your points clear and I endorse them. However, I hope the Tories will make some drastic changes to the asylum laws if elected to office and make it easier for gay people fleeing persecution or death a lot easier. Some of them in our detention centres are being badly treated too. I hope that is investigated and the culprits punished or banished from the service. Terrible,just terrible.

  22. Bill Perdue 24 Oct 2007, 9:55pm

    Mother Superior, Many of us are glad to see that you’re finally backing down from the twisted conservative view that refugees don’t really need asylum from state lynchings in Iran, Nigeria etc. and from jihadist death squads in Iraq. We think the urgency of the situation demands that ‘western’ countries automatically grant asylum. We think that it’s true that thousands of such murders have occurred. You and other conservatives took the opposite view, but in a round about way. For instance when I said, “In Iran bloodthirsty ayatollahs hang gay boys and men and stone and rock women. In Iraq US armed Shiite and Sunni death squads chase down and slaughter GLBT folk. Regions of Africa infested by conservative islamists and christian cults leftover by colonialism have seen an upsurge of state murders “ you’re comment was “…blah, blah, blah, blah ….” . Afraid to actually deny the truth, and badly informed because you obviously don’t bother to read before shooting from the hip, you resort to belittling information that doesn’t fit a comic strip view of the world as a happy place getting happier all the time. If you’d like the sources I listed in my first post contain all the information you need. But if you’re too busy with Party affairs, here’s a new link and I’m appending it in full so you won’t have to be bothered to click on it yourself. Please take the trouble to read it. Iraqi exile says his LGBT compatriots—now routinely rounded up and assassinated—were safer under Saddam Article Date: 10/24/2007 By Bryan Ochalla Everyone has had a chuckle over the non-lethal “gay bomb” the U.S. Air Force considered adding to its arsenal in the early ‘90s. Although the weapon never made it out of the planning stages, a gay bomb of another sort has been exploding in Iraq since the U.S. military invaded the country in 2003, according to Ali Hili, a 34-year-old Iraqi exile now living in London. “The U.S, and other allied forces are doing nothing to stop the massacres of any ordinary Iraqi, not to mention the homosexuals, the most unpopular portion of Iraqi society under the new evil regime,” says Hali, who launched Iraqi LGBT in late 2005 “after hearing about the killing of so many of my friends” inside the war-torn country. Hali describes Iraqi LGBT as a “secretive underground network” for the country’s LGBT community—especially effeminate men and anyone transgender. “We’re a fledgling group but have been paramount in helping Iraqis with safe houses, protection and underground communication,” Hali explains. Two of the group’s safe houses are set to close at the end of the month, however, due to a lack of funds. According to Hali, it costs about $1,800 each month to run just one of his safe houses, which covers gas, electricity, food, water and the salaries of two guards—essential to protecting the 10 to 12 people living within their walls. Closing the safe houses wasn’t a decision Hali and his partner made lightly—especially considering such an act could well be a death sentence for some of the soon-to-be-homeless. “Homosexuality was generally tolerated under Saddam,” Hali says. “There certainly was no danger of gay people being assassinated in the street by police. Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of gays and lesbians is commonplace. Life in Iraq now is hell for all LGBT people; no one can be openly gay and alive.” Although the plight of Iraq’s LGBT community hasn’t been ignored completely in the U.S. and the rest of the world—in June, for instance, Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Barney Frank (D- MA) called on U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to investigate reports of violent persecution of gay and lesbian Iraqis by Islamic groups and militias—Hali says LGBT Iraqis continue to be “the most unpopular portion of our society.” “Sometimes when I look at the news I feel so sad,” he adds. The deaths of his LGBT compatriots “doesn’t matter to world. [It’s] as if we don’t exist.” Hali hopes to change all that with Iraqi LGBT, though he admits he can’t do it alone. “We need donations to help fund the safe houses and to pay for food, clothing, electricity, police protection—even phone cards,” he says. “Many people have nothing but the clothes on their backs, and sometimes not even that.”© 2007; All Rights Reserved.

  23. Bill Perdue 24 Oct 2007, 10:09pm

    Robert, ex-pat Brit, I have a question about exactly who all is involved in the attempt to deny asylum to gay and lesbian refugees. The party in power is ultimately responsible for homobigoted practices like this, and given Blair’s lap-dog relationship to Bush and his war in Iraq, a reluctance to grant asylum to Iraqi and Iranian gay and lesbian refugees is not startling. My question relates to the state bureaucracy and the system of permanent undersecretaries, which has no analog in US government. Do these bureaucrats and permanent undersecretaries play a major role in policy making on questions like this? Are they likely to be part of this problem?

  24. Sister Mary Clarence 25 Oct 2007, 12:33am

    Jesus Christ Bill, what is it about plain English you don’t understand?”Backing down from?”, “You and other conservatives took the opposite view?” – Truly Bill I don’t know how I can write anything that you will not twist and turn on its head for your own purposes.I thought I had laid out quite simply my position on asylum and immigration in an earlier posting but clearly it was not simply enough for you to understand.I’m afraid I haven’t read past your first paragraph because I’m so aghast at the shite that you manufacture.I certainly haven’t changed my opinion on immigration for as long as I can remember.Your comment “We think the urgency of the situation demands that ‘western’ countries automatically grant asylum.” does strike me as a little unrealistic though. The main issue with asylum applications at the moment is that so many of them are not from asylum seekers but from social migrants. As I previously said, give these social migrants a legitimate channels to make applications to enter the country and in so doing free up staff and resources to process legitimate asylum claims more efficiently.Appropriate resources could then be targeted at genuine asylum seekers upon entering the country benefiting them. We could be selective in assuring that migrant workers enter with the necessary skills to benefit the economy and the country. Those social migrants that currently pay their life savings to gangsters for a container to carry them halfway across the world under cover of darkness could come here through legitimate channels, saving the resources to spend on a new life when they arrive, ensuring them a better start.My comment to your rant about colonialism was not blah blah blah; the term was used to indicate that said rant went on and on.It has been pointed out more times that I can remember that you may well at times have something to add to a discussion, but more often that not I and others lose the will to live sifting through all the crap to get to it.Also, as is your way, you have made an assumption that I and/or my ancestors were in some way responsible for colonialism. Have you ever considered that we may have been the victims (or beneficiaries depending on your point of view) of it?

  25. Omar Kuddus 26 Oct 2007, 11:39am

    Sister Mary ClarenceIt is easy to stand in judgment in your security and granted freedoms to be yourself, without fear of persecution, torture and death.All asylum seekers are not social migrants, in fact a minority are, and asylum like any other system is always going to be abused by a minority. Should the welfare state be scraped too? As it too is abused!It is not unrealistic to grant gay asylum seekers security, as has been proved by the Netherlands. Iranian gays no longer have to individually prove that they are persecuted and are classified as a special group. So why cant Britain? With severe punishment and deportation back if they are not genuine.You don’t have to wake up every night hearing your partner having a nightmare of being tortured and witnessing executions of his friends.Perhaps if you took the time to actually see for yourself the images available of fellow homosexuals being tortured and killed in Iran for their sexuality you may just prove that there is an ounce of compassion in you and you are not blindly lead by your politics. (Try reading my article/ of the 22nd October Comment: Stop deporting gay refugees back to Iran) and maybe you may learn something before you type, and earn the little you’ve given yourself.Omar

  26. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Oct 2007, 12:37pm

    “The current system we have that can leave people in limbo for theoretically up to 14 years, although in reality even longer, is inhumane and cannot be justified. It is unfortunately that both the Treaty of Europe and the Human Rights Act did not go further to ensure that member states we not forced process claims more swiftly.”and”The system we currently have benefits no one. I’m sure however you will try to find some way to twist my words, but in the hope of making it harder for you to do so:1) I would like to see the system for those seeking asylum in the UK made quicker and easier.2) I would like to see a new system introduced to allow controlled entry of social migrants into the UK.”Sister Mary Clarence | 10.24.07 – 10:11 am | # Sorry Omar, didn’t think I could make it much more simple. I’m well aware that ALL asylum seekers are not social migrants, in fact mate, NONE are social migrants and they should not be mixed up with them and dealt with at the same snail pace that they are. The easiest way to ensure that is to separate them and direct resources at dealing with them more quickly (as I thought I had made clear).Whilst I am aware that the situation for gays in Iran is dire, the situation is also dire for many other people around the world suffering human rights abuses and persecution. Unlike you apparently I would like to see all of them equally given sanctuary if they present themselves at our borders in line with our responsibilities under the Treaty of Europe, the Human Rights Act and all other legislation relating in asylum and refugees.Obviously gays in Iran is a subject close to your heart, but there are many straight people fleeing persecution in that country with equally valid claims for asylum, just as there are gay and straight people in a number of other countries around the world. Maybe you could spare a thought for their plight sometime too, mate, rather than spiting venom at me. For the life of me I can’t quite understand how you have interpreted anything you have from anything I have actually written. I can only suggest that you actually read my posting on October 24th 10:11hrs properly

  27. Omar having read the comments from Sister Mary Clarance thoroughly – I think you clearly didn’t as you appear to have misunderstood every point he (she) made.

  28. Sister Mary Clarance,I apologise if you thought I was “spitting venom” at you, for it was not my intent.It is just that I get a bit passionate about asylum seekers and you are absolutely right that there are thousands of refugees fleeing persecution and torture and an abuse of human rights, from all over the worlds.I DO spare a thought for their plight but find that there are several large organizations and individuals that support their cause.Naturally being gay myself (and because of my partners predicament) I tend to concentrate on the gay ones, for someone has to and after all they belong to my “extended Family” and I can relate to them.However that does not mean that I am not unsympathetic or not thought to help other asylum applicants who do not fall into this category, who do have a valid claim to flee their predicament. But as I said, I feel it to be more productive to help a certain group and as I have had to concentrate on Iran (for obvious reasons) and have the benefit of a first hand knowledge (via my partner) of the country’s regime.Unfortunately I find that when we are brought up in the free west, endowed with our given rights we tend to forget the injustices that others suffer and their plight just mere words and can be ostracised.In Iran they are about to hang a 13 year old boy (under the normal age old crime of rape) morally condoning their actions as “just”.I am sorry if I come across as biased, passionate and even “venomous” but when you live with someone else’s nightmares and see your lovers face replacing those who have already been hung, for the crime of just being gay, its only because I feel that this country allows unworthy “social migrants” in and excludes or rejects genuine cases, demanding that they “prove” that they will be subjected to torture and death, which is an unrealistic situation as it puts them into a catch 22 situation.It is about time that the government accepts that if it lets potential asylum seekers into the country, its citizens may/ will fall in love with them and find that they are their soul mates.I accept that all genuine refugees have a right to asylum and protection, but perhaps you could tell me what happens to those who are not recognised as citizens in their own native country as their state (Kurdistan) does not exist and are not classified as citizens of Iran.If you like I will email you details of all the gay asylum seekers in England who have been rejected due to the Home Office BIA refusing to accept that homosexuality and its persecution is a ground for asylum or that they get punished for their sexuality . /

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