Jacqui Smith is a Killer

It should surprise noone, given her track record as Home Secretary, but today Jacqui Smith proved once and for all just how ruthless she can be. Having received limited kudos for her finally granting asylum to Mehdi Kazemi, the question remained – would she institute a moratorium on deportations of gay asylum seekers to Iran and similar Middle Eastern (and other) countries, where to be gay is to court the probability of death? After all the Netherlands proved they could do it. The answer was ‘no’:

“With particular regard to Iran, current case law handed down by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal concludes that the evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation.”

Sorry but she’s fucking retarded. I’ve tried to use more temperate language about this woman until now, but this is just ridiculous. Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive quite rightly pointed out her stupidity:

“You only have to listen to people who were terrorised by the Metropolitan Police in the 1950s and 1960s to know that telling gay people to live discreetly is quixotic.”

It’s a cavalier and inhuman means of avoiding living up to the human rights obligations she’s tied into, as well as the European Commission’s ruling in January that:

“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.”

And why would she refuse a moratorium (other than to prove her political brutality, lining up behind her boss, having proven his ‘strength’ with his pyhrric victory on 42 days)? Does she believe there’ll be some sort of ‘flood’ of asylum seekers, to ‘swamp’ the notoriously bad UK Border Agency? Paul Canning of Gayasylumuk points out:

“The Dutch experience shows that a proven, tested model exists of how to operate a humane asylum policy for gays and lesbians – and they haven’t had a ‘flood’.”

“Similar policy and practice exists in the United States, Canada and Sweden – why is the UK alone in being inhumane and disregarding international law?”

Opposition parties have lined up to condemn the Home Secretary. Stephen Crabb, the Chairman of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission said:

“Asking minorities to live their lives discreetly is to give in to the tyrants and bullies who sustain their positions through fear and coerced conformity.

“It demonstrates both an unelevated view of the importance of human rights and cowardice in championing our own system of values.”

Whilst Phelim Mac Cafferty, media spokesperson for LGBT Greens said:

“Her claim that as long as people are “discreet” a regime notorious for its treatment of LGBT people will somehow stop persecuting them is misled at best and homicidal at worst.

“Instead of this macho posturing from the Home Office on keeping asylum figures down, we desperately need a Home Secretary prepared to look the Iranian regime in the eyes and stand up for what’s right for LGBT people.”

And this is what it’s all about. It’s why Peter Tatchell’s claim about the treatment of gay asylum seekers is more salient than ever. The New Labour government has been attacking the 1951 Geneva Convention since 2003 and they’ll do whatever they can to keep it that way. It’s an outrage essentially to blame gay people for their own persecution and it deserves the most thorough condemnation. This is what Iran does to gay people, a fact which the Home Office denies.

5 responses to “Jacqui Smith is a Killer

  1. yeah I always groan when I hear things like, “live discreetly” what the fuck does she expect women to do the same if they’re threatened by their families with honor crimes that they’ll be killed for? blah the only thing better than that one is when the head of the gay group HRC stated that gays in Iran weren’t gay like us so he didn’t want to rock the boat by condemning their executions.

  2. The ‘just be discreet’ line is the most outrageous justification for homophobic discrimination I’ve heard from this government. Being that discreet means not being who you are, means having to conceal your very personality in order to avoid torture and death. I’ve never heard of any Western government having the gall to try to present such abuse as average/everyday policy before. But hey – our foreign policy has been to allow rendition flights galore through our territory, so the abuse of human rights is hardly new to this government.

    The facts are out there in black and white – Iran is a fatal place to be for someone out, known or even suspected to be gay – yet she presents this fantasy in order to sustain this anti-asylum seeker policy New Labour’s had since 2003.

  3. it’s pretty blatantly anti-homo, but i think it comes from the idea that being gay is a choice that we can turn off or on and we are just being stubborn about wanting to present a true face to the world. It’s like our “don’t ask don’t tell” military policy built around asking a service man or woman (under oath to be honest forthright and all that) to lie to his commanders his friends and to keep that part of his life utter life suppressed on pain of dismissal.
    Gods i’m okay with secret rendition flights than as long as they actually stay SECRET!! christ what is the CIA good for!!!! sorry pet peeve of mine.

  4. Tatchell spells it all out exactly like you say – the Home Office at its core is ignorant and stuck in a bygone age when it comes to diversity. On gay matters there is:

    • No training on sexual orientation issues for asylum staff and adjudicators
    • No official policy supporting the right of refugees to claim asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation
    • No action to stamp out the abuse of gay refugees in UK asylum detention camps
    • No accurate, up-to-date information on the victimisation of gay people in violently homophobic countries
    • No adequate access to proper legal representation for gay asylum applicants

    These failings are part of what makes the British asylum system fully unfit for purpose, and themselves comprise persecution – for exactly the reasons you cite.

  5. Thanks again, your support is greatly appreciated.

    Paul

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