UN under fire over treatment of gay asylum seekers

Two gay Iranian asylum seekers are being ignored by UN refugee authorities in Turkey because of their sexuality, claims the Iranian Queer Organisation.

Kamal and Reza fled Iran two years ago, the group said.

They had been denied the right to live together by their families and the state.

Iran’s oppressive Islamic regime does not recognise the existence of the LGBT community.

Gay men are frequently executed under the guise of “honour killings” according to a report published by OutRage! in 2006.

Human rights groups claim up to 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Kamal and Reza registered for refugee status in Turkey on December 9, 2006 and have been told to “just wait” by the UN Refugee Agency.

They were interviewed by UN lawyers in October 2007 but have heard nothing from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Kamal and Reza have been left without any official state protection since they arrived in Turkey and are liable to deported at any time,” IRQO said.

“The situation is exacerbated by Kamal’s diabetes, which has deteriorated under the stress suffered as an Iranian asylum seeker. He now suffers regular fits and convulsions.

“Reza has developed depression because of the struggle to live peacefully with his partner.

“Their situation is not unique in Turkey, as countless gay Iranians seek safety in the country.

“They are usually met with dilapidated accommodation, apathetic immigration officers and health problems.”

Turkey’s already questionable human rights record suffered another blow in June of this year, when an court forced gay civil rights group, Lambda Istanbul, to close.

Despite the presence of numerous transgender and openly gay entertainers, being openly gay is still considered taboo.

The Iranian Queer Organisation is urging anyone who is concerned by the state of gay Iranian asylum seekers to write to the UNCHR in Ankara.