Human rights organizations have launched a campaign to save a young homosexual man from being deported from Norway to Iraq.
The High Court of Oslo turned down the application for political asylum presented by Azad Assan Rasol, 33, who lives in Norway with his partner.
According to the High Court, in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq, gay people are not murdered as done in the rest of the country, but are hit by less severe penalties. The court, therefore, invited Azad not to publicly express his sexual orientation once he is deported. By doing so, the judges believe he will avoid any form of persecution.
"Norway has had a commendable past in the field of human rights but for some years the Scandinavian nation has been committing serious violations against LGBT people seeking political asylum after fleeing from countries where gays and lesbians are persecuted and often killed,” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Piccciau, co-presidents of EveryOne Group.
The human rights group rejected claims by the Norwegian Government and the judiciary that if a gay person acts with discretion the risks of persecution are avoided. “This, however, is not true, because whilst it is true that the Iraqi government has decriminalized homosexuality, gays are still being persecuted according to Islamic laws, and they are often arrested following complaints from relatives or neighbours, despite not publicly manifesting their sexual orientation," Malini, Pegoraro and Piccciau say.
EveryOne Group has demonstrated the severe persecution of gays in Iraq, citing the reports from Iraqi LGBT, a human rights organization for gays and lesbians based in London, which document assaults, cases of torture and murders of gay men that have occurred both in the Kurdish and Sunni communities.
According to EveryOne Group, "At least 600 homosexuals have been attacked and murdered since 2003, often after cruel torture, such as one practice that foresees that a gay man's anus is glued up with a powerful glue. After this he is given a laxative, which leads to an extremely painful death. The international LGBT rights organizations now consider Iraq as one of the places where the persecution of gays and lesbians is most widespread and brutal."
Aware of the danger that Azad would face if deported back to Iraq, EveryOne Group has appealed to the Norwegian Government to reconsider its decision, to honour the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and grant Azad political asylum.
The same appeal has been forwarded to King Harald V of Norway and the Committee of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
EveryOne Group has also sent an urgent appeal to the UN High Commissioners for Refugees and Human Rights and the EU Commissioner for Human Rights to prevent the deportation of Azad or “to start procedures to ensure that the young man is taken in by another EU country, in a humanitarian exception to the Dublin Convention.”
EveryOne Group says “it is vital that Azad Hassan Rasol is not deported back to a destiny of humiliation, suffering, marginalization, violence and probable death in Iraq. Iraq has, in fact, one of the highest number of reported cases of persecution and summary executions of LGBT people: one of the most tragic in the contemporary world."
Apart from EveryOne Group, the campaign to save Azad is so far backed
by Amnesty International France, Iraqi LGBT, Fondazione Massimo Consoli, Sindacato Europeo dei Lavoratori, GaiaItalia.com, Cinemagay.it, Alba Montori, Gaynews.it, Gayroma, Rete Evengelica Fede e Omosessualità, Associazione Sharazade, and Watching The Sky.