Tag Archives: Netherlands

God’s Hotline

An art exhibition in the Netherlands will allow people to leave a message on a telephone number designated for God. What would you like to say?


I’ll start. “Are you the same guys who edit The Bible?”

Your turn…


Homophobia or Human Rights?

Entirely in line with my previous post asserting the Brown government is now only concerned about populist political advantage, terrified as it is at its own incompetence, we now have a situation where a lesbian and a younger gay man are due to be deported to Iran. Iran let me remind you does this to gay people:

Mehdi Kazemi's fate?

Mehdi Kazemi came to the UK to study English in 2005, and found soon after that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and executed. When Kazemi discovered two years later that his name had been revealed under interrogation/torture, he claimed asylum in the UK. He was refused on the grounds that provided gay Iranians are “discreet”, the British government maintains they will not be persecuted. I see, so as long as they collude in the persecution against their very identity, they’re safe. Silly me, I thought asylum was granted on the grounds of human rights violations: the European Convention on Human Rights forbids deportations to countries where individuals may be at risk of torture, degrading treatment or punishment. The United Nations Convention Against Torture demands the same, and requires only proof of a pattern of gross violations against human rights. The UK is signatory to both, yet decides the argument of ‘exercise discretion’ allows them to circumvent it? I guess their ongoing argument in the European Court of Human Rights against an absolute ban on deporting individuals back to Iran is supposed to be their justification here.

Pegah Emambakhsh came to the UK in 2005 after her girlfriend was arrested by Tehran police. Her girlfriend is in custody under sentence of death by stoning, but despite this Emambakhsh was only reprieved from deportation at the last minute last August. However the Court of Appeal turned down her application for a full hearing, although the Home Office will at least consider further legal representations. Peter Tatchell shows just how discriminatory this system is, and how few checks and balances there are in a barely accountable system. I simply don’t get it. What is the point of having a system which is supposed to rescue people like Mehdi from torture, degrading treatment and punishment, when the decisions which it makes are based on discrimination? Why is there no accountability to this process? And what will it take to get this government to adhere to precisely the demands made on them by international human rights conventions, which they condemn other countries for defying? Gordon Brown said his government would be different. Nah he’ll do whatever it takes to get Daily Mail readers to vote for him, just like his idiot predecessor.

“Be discreet”. My arse. Peter Tatchell is dead right when he says:

“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.”