Sep 07, 2007
Commentary: What Will Happen to Pegah and to Human Rights in the UK?
By Roberto Malini
Dear Friends, the Campaign of Flowers, as well as the entire Campaign for Pegah, is based on the recovery of the values of brotherhood and solidarity in actions for the defence of human rights. We live in a difficult age and unfortunately the governments, the magistracy and often the most well-known humanitarian organisations in the world have relegated the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the Convention on the Status of Refugees and other rules on which we base our level of civilisation and respect of minorities behind other priorities: security, immigration control, the defence of nations and families.
The EveryOne Group is committed to defending the dignity and lives of refugees, but also to reminding the European governments that laws concerning human rights exist, they are very clearly stated and they must not be deliberately misinterpreted. To deport the refugees towards unjust sentences is a crime against humanity and there are no alibis for governments who are stained with such crimes.
To sacrifice human rights for "security", for the concept of “nation” is the same principle on which the National Socialist Party based its rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. The EveryOne Group was created from an ideal and grows every day. We work day and night in contact with the activists, with the people who believe in human rights and with the better side of the political world in order to contribute towards changing things.
Many people are asking us what will happen to Pegah now. Friends, I have been studying persecutions and genocides for the last 30 years, I have published books, made documentaries and organized exhibitions, I am the curator of museums about the Holocaust and Genocides.
Unfortunately it is easy to read the minds of Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith in this moment. They are angry because the problem of the arbitrary and unjust deportations has come to light. I hope I'm wrong, but the history of persecution generally repeats a pattern. I believe the UK Government is once again studying a way to refuse Pegah asylum, motivating the decision thus: “Pegah is unable to prove she is homosexual and therefore we believe her case has been inflated”.
I don't believe they will deport her to Iran because they know she would be faced with torture and murder. According to the Convention (that they are well aware of) they will give her all the time she needs to find a third country willing to grant her asylum. And Italy will enter the game. With this formula, the UK Government is confident of savings its face, saving the political career of Jacqui Smith (which is otherwise at risk) and, after a period of caution for fear of an international scandal, continue the deportations of refugees towards their death.
This is the truth, and if those who read these lines, think it over and continue to accept this situation, they will become accomplices of indifference and the new genocide.
The members of the EveryOne group will not do that, they will continue to speak out for and write about the truth. And there’s only one truth: homosexuality cannot be proven, because it is a state of mind. To ask for video or photographic evidences would be the most serious violation of the intimacy and dignity of a human being. To ask for signed testimonies would mean exposing the witnesses in their native land to persecution and sentences. Moreover, it would be a violation of the privacy of the witnesses themselves, even in a democratic country, not only in a regime, to force them to ”come out”.
To ask for documents related to a sentence in the countries of origin goes against human rights conventions that state that the request for testimony must be related to local laws. If in Iran homosexuality is persecuted, those who declare their homosexuality in the country in which they request asylum have the right to be recognized as a refugee and to be granted asylum. Without any "ifs" or "buts". The rest is just criminal and repressive politics.
To get back to Pegah, she is an extraordinary woman and is a symbol of the new fury against the weak and different. We must continue to watch over her, but we must also ask quite firmly for respect of the international laws that protect refugees in the future. We must also urge the media - TV and press - not to fill our heads with frivolity and false problems, but to help us when we bring cases of violation of human rights to their attention, because the British press has shown itself to be at the service of those in power, to be unable to understand and report the truth, at the cost of hiding serious cases like Pegah Emambakhsh’s.
If the individual citizens don't represent the pride, the freedom and the civilization of the United Kingdom, the country will slip into a regime that the citizens themselves are creating.
We have the same problems here in Italy and we must commit ourselves in the same way. There is a campaign underway right now, one of discrimination and oppression against the Roma and Sinti (Gypsies). Like during the Nazi period, the authorities are pursuing pedlars and beggars and the press is supporting this persecution. And as if this weren’t enough, we too treat the problem of asylum for refugees in a superficial and unjust manner. More flowers are needed! A shower of flowers and common sense! We must stick by Pegah, my friends, and keep our eyes open wide, so that the horizon of human rights won't become just a distant line.