This decision directly impacts not just on Ali but on harshly persecuted Iraqi lesbians and gays through the reduced ability of their sole visible leader to raise their profile internationally.
Can you help?
As the public leader of the only group representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both inside Iraq and in the diaspora, Hili has received a fatwa from inside Iraq as well as numerous threats in London which have forced him to move. He is under the protection of the Metropolitan Police.
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin spoke last month of their concerns for LGBT both in Iraq and as refugees, in a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-signed by 64 other Congresspeople.
Hili has received many requests to speak about the situation in Iraq internationally, including from US-based groups such as the Gay Liberation Network and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Campaign, which he has been unable to pursue.
His solicitor, Barry O'Leary, wrote to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in August 2009 that: "he desperately wishes to do this [travel] in order to further the aims of his organisation, that is, supporting lesbians and gay men in Iraq and bringing the world's attention to their plight."
Six months later, the UKBA told O'Leary that:
- the assistance given by Hilli to the Foreign Office "does not count"
- the fatwa does not mean that Hilli "falls within the classification of clear and immediate vulnerability"
- that the delay in deciding Hilli's asylum case (since July 2007) "is not in itself an exceptional circumstance"
- his case is not "compelling"
"Mr Hili was also the person who set up the 'underground railroad' and safe houses inside Iraq, to give refuge to LGBT people on the run from Islamist death squads and to provide escape routes to neighbouring countries - which saved the lives of many Iraqi LGBTs.
Ali must travel!
Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant wrote in his blog on Feb. 24: "I know some people dismiss LGBT rights as something of a sideshow in international relations, but I am proud to say that the FCO has argued for a decade that human rights are a seamless garment."
Yet the same government through the Home Office is effectively aiding that persecution through the failure of government recognition to Iraqi LGBT's leader.
How you can help
Write to the UK Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, to ask that he intervene in Ali's case that his asylum application be prioritised. Please mention Ali's Home Office reference which is S1180507/7. (Get a standard letter - please personalise and remember to sign it)
Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, Home Secretary, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DFWrite to UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to ask that they ask Johnson to intervene in Ali's case. Please mention Ali's Home Office reference which is S1180507/7. (Get a standard letter - please personalise and remember to sign it)
Telephone: 020 7035 4848
The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AAWrite to your MP to ask that they ask Johnson to intervene in Ali's case.
Email the Prime Minister’s Office
If you are outside the UK, ask politicians, prominent persons and organisations to invite Ali to your country and make Brown and Johnson aware of this request.
Ask those politicians, prominent persons and organisations to issue their own public statement in support of Hili's asylum prioritisation from the UK government.
Write to newspapers, write blog posts in support of Ali, tell people about Ali.
Please copy any letters to the campaign in support of Ali Hili to firstname.lastname@example.org
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