Iran is safe for ‘discreet’ gays, says Jacqui Smith

I was browsing through the website for the Independent newspaper and came across this story. I have blogged before on Iran and its treatment of Gay and Lesbian people as well as the United Kingdom‘s strange immigration policies relating to Gay and Lesbian Iranians.

The Home Secretary has once again said that Iran is safe for gay people, but now she is saying that it is safe of they are “discrete”. The Home Secretary made her remarks in a letter to Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Roberts of Llandudno. The letter is in response to calls for a change in Immigration policy following the case of gay Iranian teenager Mehdi Kazemi.

Ms Smith wrote:

We recognise that the conditions for gay and lesbian people in Iran – and many other countries – are such that some individuals are able to demonstrate a need for international protection…

We do not, however, accept that we should make the presumption that each and every asylum-seeker who presents themselves as being of a particular nationality or sexuality, regardless of their particular circumstances, should automatically be allowed to remain in the UK…

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.

It is estimated that about 4,000 gay Iranians have been executed because of their sexual orientation in Iran since the late 1970s. However, the Government and the Home Secretary suggest that this figure is a lot less.

Lord Roberts said in response:

It is not good enough for the Government to say that people will be safe from punishment if they behave discretely. The only ethical course of action is to declare a moratorium on deportations to Iran for all who fear execution.

I must say that I have to agree with Lord Roberts. It is utterly ridiculous to suggest that people act in a way that is not them just so that their backwards and barbaric state does not send them to their death.