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Author Topic: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals  (Read 3231 times)

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Offline Star SafyreTopic starter

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Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« on: January 26, 2011, 07:45:32 PM »
I came upon this article about an Ugandan lesbian being deported from the UK who fears severe criminal charges if returned to her country.

Is sexuality a human right which should be protected by the granting of political asylum?  Is persecution under sex or morality crime laws a valid reason to request asylum, regardless of the validity of the law in the eyes of the international community? 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 04:56:59 AM by Star Safyre »

Offline Jude

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 08:41:57 PM »
Quote from: David Bahati
Here in Uganda, homosexuality is not a human right. It is behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned. We wouldn't want Brenda to be painting a wrong picture of Uganda, that we are harassing homosexuals.
I wonder what it is about Uganda that makes them bend the laws of reality so that homosexuality is magically a behavior there and not attraction to the same sex.  Granted, this is an argument similar to that employed by the Vatican and many other organizations worldwide, but that doesn't make it any less retarded.  You don't choose what turns you on, it just does, the fact that some people still think homosexuality is a choice is beyond baffling.  Personally, I'd like to be turned on by people smiling and running through fields so that I could masturbate to pharmaceutical commercials like it was pornography so hardcore that it would make Ron Jeremy blush, unfortunately sexuality doesn't work that way:  you don't get to choose what turns your crank.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 08:45:59 PM by Jude »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 12:58:54 AM »
I am a little torn on this issue.  On the one hand there is a certain foul taste in my mouth in regard to the Uganda policies regarding homosexuality.  Wrong does not even begin to touch upon the way I view the laws of that nation and the policies they wish to enact.  Understandably the woman fled the country and I am sure her neighbors were no small part of that sudden desire to flee.  The government there, from the reports I saw on Vanguard, is horrible about stirring up public opinion.  No doubt her life is in danger.

At the other end of the spectrum, a country has the right to govern itself.  To some extent the global community needs to respect the sovereignty of a recognized nation to conduct their affairs on their own.  Certainly funding can be pulled, pressure from political and financial institutions applied and condemnation given but at the end there needs to be respect given for them to lead themselves.  Stating that the government of Uganda, which has elected officials, cannot pass their own laws is tantamount to ruling the country ourselves. 

As I said, I find it reprehensible that they would pass such a proposal into law.  At the same time a country cannot offer asylum to anyone not wishing to obey the laws of their home country.  There is nothing saying the woman could not have forsaken her homosexual practices while in a country that considers them illegal, apply for citizenship in a country that does not and move.  Instead, as I mentioned understandably, she fled to another country to stay there illegally. 

Article 14 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights details this.
Article 14
1.   Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
2.   This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.


As for sexuality being a human right, there is certainly something to be said for that.  Sexuality being an integral part of being human.  At the same time, sexuality is not agreed on by everyone and has many meanings for other people.  Stating that a person has the right to be attracted to an individual of their choosing is a very dangerous road to walk.

Offline Jude

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 02:08:12 AM »
You do a good job of summing up the competing interests involved in this story, and I especially agree with your point that we can't consider abstract sexual attraction -- or acting on it -- a legal right.  It just flies in the face of anti-bestiality and pedophilia laws.  That doesn't mean however we can't establish a legally recognized universal right for attraction between consenting adults.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 03:46:58 AM »
Cynical Mode Engaged.

I don't like my country. It's poor, has only 100km of tarmac, and no internet access. I manage to get to a nice, friendly, advanced European Country and find that I can't live without access to Fox News. Then the European country wants to deport me. I can't claim any special status. My country isn't all that tough on political dissidents any more.

Oh wait! They don't like homosexuals!

Now, I'm prepared to do anything to keep my access to Fox, even munch a little rug.


Offline Florence

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 05:42:43 AM »
While governments have the right to govern themselves, there are certain things you, as a country, are expected not to do. And call me a naive romantic, but executing consenting adults for being in love, or expressing that love physically, should be right on the top of that list.

"Stating that a person has the right to be attracted to an individual of their choosing is a very dangerous road to walk."

Only if you don't think about it. At all.

People always compare gays to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals and sometimes even rapists. People apparently don't know what consent means. There is nothing harmful at all about saying consenting adults have the right to be attracted to another consenting adult. In fact, to be technical, people have the right to be attracted to whoever or whatever they want. Be that man, woman, child, animal, kitchen appliance, etc. The issue of consent comes up when the right to ACT on that attraction comes into the picture. That's what the question is.

Can we say that gays have the right to act on their attraction without starting a slipper slope? Yes. Easily. As long as people are willing to weigh the issues individually instead instead of just assuming yes on one means yes on all.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 11:29:31 AM »
Cynical Mode Engaged.

I don't like my country. It's poor, has only 100km of tarmac, and no internet access. I manage to get to a nice, friendly, advanced European Country and find that I can't live without access to Fox News. Then the European country wants to deport me. I can't claim any special status. My country isn't all that tough on political dissidents any more.

Oh wait! They don't like homosexuals!

Now, I'm prepared to do anything to keep my access to Fox, even munch a little rug.

It's hard to tell if this is an actual, if acutely cynical, opinion that you hold, or an opinion that you think the dissenters to her asylum claim hold.  Regardless, I wonder how many of those cynics would accept it as plausible if the genders were switched.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 12:51:36 PM »
Uganda wasn't (and isn't) the only country to persecute people for homosexuality. Iran for one comes to mind.  Of course if you listen to the nutjob in charge, they don't have any homosexuals in their country. And don't forget not to long ago (relatively speaking) it was illegal in a lot of countries.

I mean the UK only apologized for their  persecution of Alan Turing, which by anyone's measure was a major contribution to his suicide.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 03:38:06 PM »
I suppose to further illustrate the complexity of the issue, the nature of a right must be addressed.  A human right is something integral to being a human.  People are given these rights by the very nature of them being human.  Even if they chose not to honor the right, they still have access to the right and all protection associated.  So declaring something a right is a very tricky dealing that carries quite a bit of weight.  Were a right to be declared, then laws are to follow protecting and honoring that right. 

For instance, we are now discussing the right of attraction.  A human being has the right to be attracted to whomever that person finds desirable.  At least that is what is being discussed at this present time.  Uganda is actually not denying this statement and even states in the article that homosexuals are not persecuted.  This statement of right to attraction is similarly mirrored in the Catholic Church’s doctrine and in the former “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.  Whereby a person might be attracted to another, but the sexual congress and practice is prohibited.  So really we are dealing with a human right to have sex with another person.

So now that attraction is not the focus, but the acting on attraction, a clearer picture can be drawn.  Human beings have the right to act on their sexual desires with another human being, so long as that person gives consent.  Seems rather simple at face value.  The devil lies in the details as so many say.  If a person has a right to act on their sexual desires with another consenting adult then what happens to the contract of marriage?  A person cannot sign a contract taking away a human right, in this case the ability to have sex with someone they are attracted to sexually that consents.  So if a husband cheats on his wife, dissolution of that contract based on the exercising of his human right cannot be carried out.  There is also the issue of prostitution.  A payment of one individual to another grants consent, therefore the human right of sexual practice is being exercised.  Many nations are not going to accept prostitution as part of a human right.

Also, the nature of consent can vary wildly.  For a long time a marriage contract was considered consent for sex.  This of course lead to the concept of marital rape being ignored for a long time in the United States.  Other countries do recognize marriage as consent.  A woman fleeing an abusive marriage may be found to be violating her husband’s human rights by denying him sexual privileges.  Children, being human and thus able to access human rights, could also be seen as able to give consent.  Consent is a messy word used in even one country, much less several.

A right and the laws following cannot be worded to be judged on an individual basis for individual situations.  That leads to an unfair application and interpretation of the law.  Laws are meant to be interpreted and applied uniformly.   

A final note, Finn made a statement that I feel requires rebuttal.  A country does have expectations, but that expectation has to do with governing and leading its people.  The Uganda people have an elected government, these people are put into office by the people of that country.  These people enact laws based on popular sentiment because if they do not, they will be voted out of office.  Are we are so enlightened, powerful and just that we can tell another nation’s people how to vote?  Do we now hand instruction manuals to countries to tell them how best to lead their people, which moral standard to follow and how to conduct their laws?  That is a very bold move by anyone’s standard.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 03:44:51 PM »
There are legitimate claims to individuals being killed for their gender identity or sexual orientation. They deserve the right to be safe regardless of the country's policies. Just because a country makes a law, it doesn't make it right. I would also caution people in supporting the Ugandan election process as democracy and that the current President - with 24 years in office because he changed the law - represents the people.

Now, I'm prepared to do anything to keep my access to Fox, even munch a little rug.

Very not cool.  :-(
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 03:49:05 PM by alxnjsh »

Offline Sure

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 05:08:17 PM »
Uganda wasn't (and isn't) the only country to persecute people for homosexuality. Iran for one comes to mind.  Of course if you listen to the nutjob in charge, they don't have any homosexuals in their country. And don't forget not to long ago (relatively speaking) it was illegal in a lot of countries.

Still is in the majority of countries (maybe even a supermajority), though in general gay men have it worse than lesbians. Often times much worse (to the point where there are at least a dozen countries where it is only illegal for men to be homosexual, and some others give men harsher penalties while the reverse is true nowhere).

I have a list somewhere I could dig up if it was relevant.

Anyway, the legal answer to this question is no. The relevant part of the standard is there needs to be a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion". I believe they consider orientation to be outside scope. The way to change that would be to get the UN to vote to amend it, unfortunately, tolerance of homosexuality is more or less a first world phenomena.

Morally, excluding the obligation to follow the law over your own morals (which is necessary for a bureaucracy/judiciary), it really depends on whether you believe we have a right to interfere with other cultures and impose our values on them, even in a relatively passive-aggressive sort of way like admitting asylum seekers. If you believe we do, then it is perfectly fine for us to use our own morals to protect people we think ought to be protected. If you believe we don't, then it is effectively telling a culture/nation that they do not have a right to order it how they like, if we do not like how they order it, and we will prevent them from inflicting the punishments for the laws they have decided.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 05:10:44 PM »
There are people across the world being killed for less controversial topics.  People imprisoned for things even further beyond their control than sexuality.  Asylum is not always granted to them nor do nations enact laws or rights to justify doing so.  Should “advanced” nations of the Western world provide refuge for all of them?  Do we condone the behavior of policing other countries and violating their sovereign right to rule their people?  Political asylum is a serious right and stance by a country, stating that they offer shelter to citizens of other nations from persecution.  Essentially that country is standing before another country to deny them the right to carry out the law as the authority of that country has deemed appropriate.  Laws are not always right, but neither are beliefs.

Do we start nullifying another country’s laws because we don’t agree with some part of their government process?  Agree or disagree with the way the president of Uganda remains in office, but once more that is their law and process. 

Offline Jude

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 05:43:58 PM »
I won't lose any sleep if we do so in this case personally.  I agree that the larger issue is complicated, but I can't say I care in the least about violating their sovereignty if they're going to start killing people for being gay -- a condition they have no control over.  I cannot support the right of a nation to execute a homosexual holocaust.

EDIT:  The same goes for imprisonment.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 05:47:49 PM by Jude »

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 06:04:33 PM »
Do we start nullifying another country’s laws because we don’t agree with some part of their government process?  Agree or disagree with the way the president of Uganda remains in office, but once more that is their law and process.

I didn't say that. The point is that these people are being killed for being who they are and should be able to request asylum.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2011, 06:33:53 PM »
You do a good job of summing up the competing interests involved in this story, and I especially agree with your point that we can't consider abstract sexual attraction -- or acting on it -- a legal right.  It just flies in the face of anti-bestiality and pedophilia laws.  That doesn't mean however we can't establish a legally recognized universal right for attraction between consenting adults.

I don't want to dig to deeply into the details of this but I do want to point out the problem with the above. Policing attraction, to me, falls clearly in the same realm as policing thought. I think it is fairly easy to make the case that we have a universal semi-Epictetian right to our own minds. If only for the fact that evidence cannot be provided for what we think. What governments have the ability to police are actions. E.g. there is nothing illegal about being a pedophile, there is something illegal about abusing children. Thus I think we have a right to attraction, making the case for any action is a bit more difficult (although for the record I do think we have sexual rights).

I also think a distinction should be made between granting asylum and policing/interfering in the running of another government. People should not be imprisoned in their country of birth merely by having been born there. The ability to emigrate needs to be protected.

Offline Jude

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2011, 07:30:03 PM »
Thanks for the correction, I didn't mean to say you can punish people for attraction itself, just acting on it, but I'm glad someone caught that error.  I fully disagree with policing thought.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2011, 07:31:18 PM »

Do we start nullifying another country’s laws because we don’t agree with some part of their government process?  Agree or disagree with the way the president of Uganda remains in office, but once more that is their law and process.

We're not in this case trying to nullify the process of a government are we? I thought this issue was to give an individual asylum or not. Seems, sexuality aside, fairly cut and dried.

Will they be killed if they are returned? Quite likely. From there it's just a matter of finding justification to grant asylum.

My thoughts on the subject and how the issue be handled aside, I hope she gets it somewhere in some shape. 

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2011, 11:20:13 AM »
My view is the woman seems to be in the UK illegally, if she just went in and asked immediately for asylum it would be a consideration to let her stay or find another nation willing to take her. I can't believe one EU nation could not have been asked - Norway, Sweden, France or the Netherlands all come to mind.

After all Norway(?) refused to turn over a murderer to a US state due to the poor conditions of our prisons as not be minimal to decency under the same charter above that was noted, so a woman that could die for -oh my - wanting women lovers seems a higher bar over a criminal in the real sense of the word.

Why not look for another nation that will take her?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2011, 12:35:45 PM »
I would think that would be the optimal solution - the one thing that needs to be considered is the length of time that the paperwork takes to get processed, and where she can safely stay until it's done. 

At least a small percentage of illegal immigrants are in that situation because they were unable (through impatience or a more valid reason) to wait through the glacial pace of paperwork.  I personally know of one individual who tried to come over from Canada - had a job basically lined up, as well as a place to stay, but because the right slip of paper hadn't made it to the right filing cabinet in the right office of the right building at the time she tried to come over, she was turned back.

If this woman gets deported back to Uganda while waiting for the processing, she might end up falling afoul of her persecutors.  If she tries to rush the process, and enter another country before they say it's okay, they might kick her back out as an illegal.

Offline Falcot

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2011, 10:25:22 PM »
I believe I am squawking everyone else’s shared opinion.

Opinion 1: Country has the right to its own sovereign policies and laws. The United Nations enforces a countries right to do this but also enforces the practicing of human rights.

Opinion 2: Persecution based on sexuality is a political policy that should never be accepted anywhere


Controversy with this article:
1. The woman may be lying (not to sound like a jerk) in order to preserve her asylum status in the UK
2. Freedom of sexual orientation isn't even accepted in the modern world with laws against pedophilia and bestiality


In general i do feel very sorry for this woman and it's a horrible situation she’s been thrown into, but politically we have no right to curse Uganda

Offline Oniya

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Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2011, 10:33:17 PM »
Controversy with this article:
1. The woman may be lying (not to sound like a jerk) in order to preserve her asylum status in the UK
2. Freedom of sexual orientation isn't even accepted in the modern world with laws against pedophilia and bestiality

Freedom of sexual orientation involves consent between the parties involved.  Children and animals (who cannot legally consent) have no place in the discussion at all.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2011, 09:24:13 AM »
In regard to children, that depends on the country.  Notice the marriage clause in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not mention age.

Offline Silk

Re: Political Asylum for Prescuted Homosexuals
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2011, 10:08:24 AM »
You do a good job of summing up the competing interests involved in this story, and I especially agree with your point that we can't consider abstract sexual attraction -- or acting on it -- a legal right.  It just flies in the face of anti-bestiality and pedophilia laws.  That doesn't mean however we can't establish a legally recognized universal right for attraction between consenting adults.

Well there is that little thing called "Legal consent" that does tend to put a bit of a dampener on it, after all unconsented sex is still rape and against the law, while animals and children are not considered capable of making a informed desision to give a consent.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2011, 10:15:42 AM »
I think I touched upon the problems of assuming consent is the same across the globe.

Offline Silk

Re: Political Asylum for Persecuted Homosexuals
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2011, 10:19:59 AM »
Giving consent is the same across the board, unless your speaking from "under duress"