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Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
2 Marsham St
London SW1P 4DF
Dear Home Secretary,
Appeal for lifting the order for deportation and granting asylum for an Iranian lesbian, Pegah Emambakhsh
(Home Office Reference Number: B1191057)
The United Kingdom is violating all the international Conventions deciding to repatriate Pegah Emambakhsh to Iran, where she's condemned to death because of her homosexuality. Pegah Emambakhsh is an Iranian lesbian of forty years, escaped from her country where, forced to the wedding by the family, she was having a story of love with a woman. In 2005, in order to avoid the persecution, with great courage and risking her life she's escaped to the United Kingdom asking for asylum.
Even if the United Kingdom undersigned the convention that protect homosexual refugees to the risk of persecution by their native land, the asylum has been denied. But it's not all: she has been emprisoned and condemned to the deportation and not just pushed out over the frontier: she's going to be deported to the death.
In different parts of the world, in Italy and the States to name a few, many individuals and groups have promoted an appeal for the protection of the human rights of Pegah Emambakhsh. A big people's movement in favour of the life of Pegah and the rights of refugees has been created internationally. Despite thousands of letters and protests by many people all over the world including Italian and European political authorities, intellectuals, activists from around the world, and experts of international rights, the United Kingdom government is still holding to its decision to deport Pegah and not granting her asylum status. In the meanwhile the international movement for the life of Pegah grows and the protests are multiplying.
Pegah Emambakhsh is now in the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre near Sheffield. Her asylum claim has been denied with inconsistent statements, including the fact that there is no proof of her homosexuality. In Germany too, a young lesbian woman, Jasmine K. requested political asylum, but she too was turned down by the authorities for the same insubstantial reason: she cannot prove she is a lesbian.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees protect those who are persecuted because of their diversity without them having to prove it. Homosexuality is an inclination that exists at the moment it is perceived or merely declared by a human being. Asking for proof of such inclination is a violation of human rights.
The State of Israel took in Jewish refugees from the Holocaust on the mere basis of their declarations. Many of them were without identification papers. This is the only way to respect human rights. The alternative would be the humiliating demonstration of one’s sexual preferences, pointless clinical and psychological testing and inquisitorial procedures damaging to a person’s privacy and human dignity.
We firmly request that Pegah Emambakhsh, Jasmine K and all the other people persecuted for their homosexuality be taken in as refugees by countries that consider themselves civilized and safeguarded from the effects of intolerance.
The United Kingdom is well-known for her respect for diversity and commitment to human rights and a member state for United Nations Human Rights Council which is commited to the protection and promotion of human rights of all. In addition, as exemplified by the introduction of Civil Partnerships Bill(2004) and Equality Acts(2006), the United Kingdom has one of the most progressive policies regarding the protection of human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We would strongly ask you to apply your strong commitment to human rights to this case. We request that the decision for deportation for Pegah be reversed and welcome your compassionate action to grant her asylum status.