Green Euro MP Jean Lambert today urged the Dutch Immigration Minister, Rita Verdonk, to rethink her decision to lift the ban on the deportation of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers to Iran.
The Netherland's ban was put in place six months ago following reports of the execution of Iranians involved in homosexual conduct. Jean, who is a member of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian rights warned that lifting the ban would force LGBT asylum seekers into an uncertain and dangerous future. Jean said; "It is extremely worrying that some EU countries are willing to ignore the advice of the Human Rights Watch and signs of danger in Iran. There is absolutely no excuse for a modern Europe to make allowance's for those countries tolerating homophobic behaviour and punishment and we must to take a stand against this now.
"The Netherlands has agreed, under the European Convention of Human Rights, not to deport any person whose life is deemed to be in danger. With Iran's criminal code stating that homosexual activities are punishable by torture, lashings and death as well as continuing reports of ill treatment whilst in police custody, the Dutch Government should not even be thinking of lifting such a ban.
"If we are serious about justice then we need to ensure Europe does not see homophobic acts as acceptable and continues to protect those with their lives in danger.
"It is also of concern that the Dutch Government will be returning those of Christian faith, who also believe they will be in danger. I would urge the Government to change its position."
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.