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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Rev. Walter Attwood's letter about Iraqi asylum seekers

The Rev. Walter Attwood, who authored the petition on gay asylum to Gordon Brown, has written to his MP, Anne McGuire, about the plight of Iraqi asylum seekers.

Ms McGuire replied saying she "was moved to read of some of the horrific instances detailed in the information accompanying your letter."

She said that the letter has been forwarded to the Foreign Secretary for reply.

Attwood wrote:

I have held back for some weeks in writing to you about the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Iraq. I did this hoping that I would receive a reply to the petition I initiated on the Number 10 website concerning the deportation of these people to countries where they are in grave danger. The reply may well have allayed my anxieties or led to further correspondence on the subject. The petition, may I remind you, gathered 4,500 signatures and despite having been closed 4 months ago has not yet received an official reply. I know I am not the only person who is deeply upset, indeed angry, over this long delay.

From the enclosed report you will see that lesbian and gay people in Iraq are being persecuted because of their sexuality and are dieing extremely unpleasant deaths. This report is based upon reliable internationally recognised sources.

I request that you approach all the relevant government departments and express to them my personal horror about what is happening in Iraq. Also would you please obtain for me, under the Freedom of Information Act, copies of their policies concerning this matter, and any statements and approaches made to the Iraqi government about this matter and the replies they have received.

Also under the Freedom of Information Act I request the following information.

1) The number of Iraqi’s who are currently being considered for deportation who are seeking asylum on grounds of their sexual orientation.
2) The number of Iraqi’s who have been deported to Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussain who were claiming asylum on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
3) The number of people who are currently being considered for deportation who are claiming asylum on the grounds of their sexual orientation and the countries they are from.
4) The number of people who have, over the last five years been deported who claimed asylum on the grounds of their sexual orientation and the countries to which they were deported.
5) A copy of the government’s guidelines used when considering the cases of people who are claiming asylum on grounds of their sexuality. The last time I asked for this I was referred to website page which contained a couple of sentences patting the government and its agencies on their backs and did not contain one sentence about the guidelines used. My request is firmly for a hardcopy of the documents, and all other relevant documents, as supplied to those considering the cases.

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