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Gay Iranian faces deportation

Gay Iranian faces deportation

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Loses refugee claim because IRB doubts he's gay
Six months in jail, 60 to 80 lashes and death by stoning is the potential fate that awaits a gay man who fled to Canada from Iran, where he faces sodomy charges.

Yaser (who requested his last name not be published) now faces deportation, after the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB) in Vancouver denied his refugee claim because it didn’t believe he was gay.

A federal court subsequently refused to review his case.

Yaser, 29, is now pursuing the only two options he has left: seeking a pre-removal risk assessment (PRA) to determine whether he’ll be in danger if sent back to Iran, and applying to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Speaking to Xtra through a translator, Yaser says his attraction to men was “always there” but he only became familiar with the idea of being able to live as a gay man after he got to Canada.

Life in Iran was “simple, traditional” and “very controlled,” he says.

His attraction to men became a life–threatening matter after police disrupted a house party he was having with two other friends, who were having sex. Yaser escaped arrest, but his two friends were taken into custody. He later learned that he and his friends were charged with sodomy.

Three months later, Yaser fled Iran. He ended up in Vancouver where he was detained for 19 days before being released to prepare for his refugee hearing last September.

In denying Yaser refugee status, the IRB ruled the Iranian court documents weren’t genuine because they bore a court clerk’s seal rather than a judge’s seal, says Chris Morrissey of the Rainbow Refugee Committee.

The board also questioned why it took Yaser so long to leave Iran if he knew “as a gay man” that he was in danger, Morrissey says.

Moreover, the immigration minister’s representative at the hearing found Yaser’s inability to recognize the rainbow flag and Pride parades as gay cultural markers incredible.

Morrissey says that’s a very presumptuous judgment.

“Oftentimes, there’s an assumption on the part of board members that someone from another country, being gay or lesbian or trans, is equal to being gay, lesbian, trans here in Vancouver,” she notes.

“So for a board member not believing that Yaser is gay because he hadn’t participated in the 2008 Pride parade, [that] he should have known about the Pride parade, because of all the rainbow flags — if you’re living in a country like Iran there’s no such thing as a Pride parade and certainly they’re not flying rainbow flags,” Morrissey points out.

While she can’t speak to the specifics of Yaser’s case, IRB spokesperson Paula Faber says members receive specific training about handling refugee claims based on sexual orientation.

She says members are warned against stereotyping and made aware that claimants find it difficult to speak about what they’ve been through. They’re also coached in interview techniques and establishing claimant credibility.

Rainbow Refugee volunteer Sharalyn Jordan recently attended such a training session. She says there is no single litmus test to prove someone’s sexual orientation.

All refugee cases are complex, she says, especially sexual orientation cases.

“In no other kind of claim are people required to speak out about such intimate and stigmatized parts of themselves — I think that sets them apart,” Jordan says.

“They’re working to prove an identity or orientation that they have had to keep hidden in order to survive. So that creates all kinds of documentation problems, and also a real limit to the quality of information we have about country conditions around transphobic or homophobic persecution,” she explains.

“The best approach is to ask open-ended questions about people’s lives and listen for consistency and credibility.”

Comments

Video Documentary short for this case
Hi Yaser and/or his representative: I am interested in doing a short documentary on your case if you want to appear on video (shadowed and voice change is fine if you need it) along with any support folks who want to speak to the case. I will also try to get hold of the immigration folks and see if they will talk online. I am relatively new at video documentary but you can see my piece on Matthew Presidente called Presidente Pride at http://stephenemery.wikispaces.com/Videography I have a 20 year history of gay community journalism. I wrote for Angles Magazine and was host of the Coming Out Show at Co-Op Radio. I also host the video podcast Beyond the Ghetto/Within the Village. I'm also an ESL teacher in Vancouver who works with refugee youth. I'm very serious about getting this important story out for Yaser in the video media if he is confident that using this medium will not put him at more risk. If so, please contact me, Stephen Emery, at btgwtv@gmail.com. I will get your story out and represent it fairly. Stephen Emery Burnaby BC
F**K YOU RON!
Ron, you're a racist piece of trash.
sigh
Last time I checked, the human race called Planet Earth home. We're all in this together. I suggest we deport Ron to deep space. He can go on a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. Then perhaps he might be grateful for humanity in all its diversity. Unless, of course, he's having us all on and it's an act to bug people. In that case, he's good.
We Need Yaser's contact information
This is Arsham Parsi, the ED of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. We need to contact Yaser or his lawyer in order to help him. We can be reached at 416-548-4171 or info@irqr.net
To ron
Hey ron, what Canada are you talking about? defiantly not the country i'm from. How embracing it is to have such people like you in this civilized country! I agree with you regarding the backward people who move to Canada and effect the civilized image of Canada although I believe they are rare and far in-between but coming from third world countries they at least have an excuse. what the hell is your excuse for being Backward?? I would recommend that you change your name to Hitler and for god sake stop defending Canada how embracing!
let's deport ron, yo!
Really? let's deport ron, yo! which european country u'd like 2 go 2 - quebec? :) oye vay! or at least give the man his own show called pointless: some white men just know how to take space and give other white men a bad name - ur is a funny boi.
Hey ron/vancouver
Hey Ron, Gotta love your take no prisoners approach. Yes leftie/libs have never done anything for our community like legalizing gay sex (Trudeau) or allowing us to marry (Martin). Every gay conservative I've met are just like you; a self serving self-loathing fag.
Whites built Canada
Stop right now with the LIE that Europeans "stole" Canada. There was NO Canada when Europeans arrived. It was pure wilderness populated by naked savages who hadn't even discovered the wheel. The British built modern Canada and liberals have been trying to destroy it ever since by trying to bring in as many third world rejects as possible. Just look at the resulting mess in Toronto. No foreigner has any right to Canada..including foreign gays. Canadians are waking up to the insanity of liberal immigration and refugee policy. Just take a look at the the latest polls..leftists you are FINISHED in this country.
'my' country?
European settlers who came to this territory and colonized it were legal as this man is, let's not forget about that. I am a Canadian who pays taxes and I want my money to be spent protecting fellow human beings who are contributing to my community rather than paying for a war in Afghanistan, for example. As a country that benefits from the long history of exploitation of people in the developing world, Canada has an obligation to protect those who have to leave their countries due to governments that will not protect them. It's the bare minimum.
No foreigner has a right to Canada
No where in the constitution of Canada does it say any foreigner has a right to stay in Canada at Canadian's expense. It sickens me that so many third world immigrants have the attitude that all they have to do is show up and they are here to stay. You have NO right to be here. Past lib-left governments have fostered this insanity but that gravy train is OVER. Just look at your indignant posts expressing outrage that a Canadian would object to a foreigner refusing to leave. Get the fuck out of my country..PARASITES.

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