Current Affairs

Clinton campaign accuses Brown of neglecting gay refugees

Adam Lake April 24, 2008
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Gordon Brown has been condemned by Hillary Clinton’s campaign team for the UK governments policy to deport LGBT people to countries where they face persecution.

In the run up to the presidential election both Clinton and Obama have been questioned on their stance on the issue.

Malcolm Lazin, head of American gay rights group, Equality Forum, has even gone as far as to urge the prospective presidential candidates to write letters to Gordon Brown to urge him to change his stance:

“Equality Forum calls on Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama to send letters to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown opposing the deportation gay and lesbian Iranians in the UK to Iran.”

“The Kazemi deportation is an opportunity for the presidential candidates to affirm their administration’s commitment to a policy opposing human rights deportations.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign national security director said that it was tracking the case of Mehdi Kazemi, a 19-year-old gay man living in Britain who faces execution if returned to Iran.

“The campaign has discussed this issue with the U.K. government,” he said.

“We were encouraged to learn that the deportation order for Mr. Kazemi has been deferred and is now under review.”

The Hillary campaign has pledged to “continue to follow this issue closely.”

The man predicted by many as America’s first black president also spoke out against the UK governments willingness to send gay and lesbian refugees to Iran .

A spokesman from Obama’s campaign team said:

“The United States and countries around the world have both a legal and a moral obligation to protect victims of persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Under an Obama administration, the United States will lead by setting a strong example, which includes making clear that asylum for persecuted people is a bedrock principle of American and international law,”

“Moreover, Obama will exert diplomatic pressure and employ other foreign policy tools to encourage other nations to address human rights abuses and atrocities committed against LGBT men and women.”

A review of the Mehdi Kazemi case announced by the Home Office means the deportation order against him is suspended.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:

“Following representations made on behalf of Mehdi Kazemi, and in the light of new circumstances since the original decision was made, I have decided that Mr Kazemi’s case should be reconsidered on his return to the UK from the Netherlands.”

The British government has been accused of being more inclined to believe Iran than human rights groups on the issue of how gay people are treated in that country.

In March Lord West of Spithead, Home Office minister in the Lords, said:

“We are not aware of any individual who has been executed in Iran in recent years solely on the grounds of homosexuality, and we do not consider that there is systematic persecution of gay men in Iran.”

In 2005 Iran sparked international outrage when it publicly executed two teenage boys.

Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were hanged because according to the regime they were rapists, however gay campaigners insist the boys were killed under Sharia law for the crime of homosexuality.

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