Thursday, May 25, 2006

Rita Verdonk on the Hall of Shame 2006!!!

Human Rights Watch recently published a list of people who have "actively promoted prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in their countries".

And ho! Rita Verdonk, the Minister for Immigration and Integration was number 2 on the list of 2006!

For closing borders and closet doors: Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, the Netherlands

In February 2006, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk announced a plan to end a six-month moratorium on the deportation of LGBT asylum-seekers back to Iran. Minister Verdonk said that in Iran, “For homosexual men and women it is not totally impossible to function in society, although they should be wary of coming out of the closet too openly.” Iran imposes the death penalty on men and women convicted of homosexual conduct.

The freeze on deportations had initially been imposed in 2005, after reports of executions in Iran for homosexual conduct. Iran’s criminal code states that lavat – sexual intercourse between men – “is punishable by death.” The punishment for sexual intercourse between women is 100 lashes; if the offence is repeated three times, the punishment is execution.

Human Rights Watch has documented brutal floggings imposed by courts as punishment for homosexual acts, and torture and ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, in police custody. International human rights law, including treaties by which the Netherlands is legally bound, prohibits the deportation of anyone to a destination where they may be at risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Under parliamentary pressure, Verdonk reinstated a freeze on deportations for a further six months, pending an investigation into conditions in Iran. Verdonk’s statement that staying in the closet is an acceptable price for staying alive was deeply ominous. Silencing an essential part of the human personality is not a way of avoiding persecution: it is the essence of persecution.

Way to go "Iron Rita"!

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