Posts tagged ‘asylum’

February 16, 2012

ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration – Video Campaign

ORAM, the organization that works to help LGBTI people life in unsafe countries to find safety elsewhere in the world. On their site they describe their mission:

ORAM provides clients with free legal counseling and assistance, including representation at UNHCR proceedings. We assist refugees through their passage to safety, often until they are permanently resettled in new countries.

Visit their website here.

The organization has released a series of  narration free animated videos telling the  personal stories of what the reality of life is for LGBTI people living in hostile environments. Deeply thought provoking and maddening. The countries featured  in these three videos ( in order ) are Jamaica, Iraq and Iran.  A warning – although they are animated some of the images are disturbing.

JAMAICA

IRAQ

IRAN

October 29, 2011

It’s illegal to be me.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) airs a Special Assignment documentary on the plight of LGBT refugees in that country.  A must watch!

Via  Care2

February 17, 2011

Sad story of a 9 year old asylum seeker in Australia.

Touching story from Hamish MacDonald at Ten News Australia of a young Iranian boy who lost his parents in a boat crash off Christmas Island and has now been deported from Australia  to return to the painful memories he left behind. As the Anchor notes an innocent victim was turned into a political pawn.

February 14, 2011

The unrest continues in the Arab World.

The frustration of citizens that caused major changes in Tunisia and Egypt continues to be heard across the Middle East  with protests in Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain and Iran. Each nation is unique and each state will undoubtedly employ whatever weapons of oppression it may have in order to quell the voices of the people.

Riot police in Bahrain used tear gas and runner bullets on protesters today and  government supporters in  Yemen hurled broken bottles and rocks at protesters there. It is uncertain if the protest movement has reached the critical mass required to cause change in these two places. Algeria has also seen its share of  unrest which saw a massive turnout of security forces to prevent a few thousand people from protesting.

By most accounts the theocracy of Iran is the most brutal in treating with the concerns of  those who object to the conduct of the government.  Today the PBS.org blog noted that the turnout of protesters was large:

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

10:30 p.m. From a Tehran Bureau correspondent: It was amazing today. About 350,000 people showed up. The crowds came from the sidewalks. There was no chanting on the main avenue. The security forces would try to disperse the crowd once in a while by firing tear gas. People would move to the side streets and start bonfires.

It was beyond anything we had expected. They didn’t shut off the mobile phones so word spread quickly [that they were not cracking down hard] before they shut them off around 4 p.m.

It seemed like the Basij were ordered not to act until ordered. They just stood around looking bewildered. When the riot police would drive by on their bikes, they just put the fires out.

Rarely did they arrest. I saw 10 people arrested; this means probably up to 1000 were arrested.

I was all over on foot and on the rapid transit buses. The crowds were EVERYWHERE. They were remarkable for their peacefulness. They filled a radius of about half a kilometer to 400 meters on both sides of Enghelab Avenue. It looks like for the first time people from working class areas were involved too.

Read more here.

Unfortunately, unlike Egypt, Iran is largely closed to outside media and it is unlikely we will see these protests play out live on our TV screen.

Those unfamiliar with the situation in Iran and its history of oppression might do well to have a look at the excellent 2009 short documentary Iran, Gay and Seeking Asylum by filmmaker Glen Milner .  The film has been shown worldwide and has received awards including Best Short Documentary Film at the Phoenix Film Festival.

February 12, 2011

Jamaica- homophobia, asylum seekers and denial

Via CAISO|GSPOTTT

Already viewed by the world as the most homophobic place in the hemisphere, LGBT Jamaicans have taken to seeking asylum in countries where their lives are not in danger .

The Washington Post has an excellent piece by Shankar Vedantam on the experiences of one such person – Andrae Bent. His experiences are, I am sure, a daily reality for many others in Jamaica. The article also notes that the Jamaican government continues to tell the world that they are a caring society in an effort to keep those tourist dollars flowing while the reality belies their PR message.

“From the time he was in grade school in his native Jamaica, Andrae Bent was the target of taunts and attacks.

A classmate once stabbed him near his eye with a pencil for being effeminate. Another time, a man pulled a knife on him and asked if he was “one of them,” Bent said, meaning homosexual. Fearing for his life, Bent denied his homosexuality.

“I was called faggot, gay, batty man, chichi man,” he said. “This would be from classmates, from people on the streets when I was walking home. Wherever I went in Jamaica, it was a nightmare.”

Five months ago, Bent, now 24, won asylum in the United States on the grounds that he had credible fear of persecution as a gay man if he were to go back to Jamaica. He joined what has become a small wave of gay Jamaicans fleeing homophobia in the Caribbean nation.

Despite its image as a laid-back island paradise for American tourists, Jamaica still criminalizes sodomy and has long been regarded by human rights activists as virulently anti-gay…

Read the rest in the Washington Post here.

 

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