06 July, 2010
Rights without responsibilities and responsibility without power
Persecution doesn't cease to be persecution, in our view, just because an individual can take avoiding action by being discreet.And a threat of persecution which can be neutralized by the exercise of discretion is not in itself persecution. If a gay Iranian man chooses to flounce down the main drag (if you'll pardon the expression) of Qom wearing a pink tutu and blowing kisses at the mullahs then there may be well be consequences. It is not our responsibility to protect him from those consequences.
—— UNHCR spokesman
Less dramatically, if the Cameroonian gentleman interviewed in this BBC clip chooses to kiss his 'gay' partner in public in a country which is not only socially homophobic but actually makes homosexual relationships illegal, then it is not our duty to protect him from the seemingly inevitable consequences of his provocation. It is up to him to use a bit of common sense.
I might think my boss is a complete tosser. But if I tell him so to his face, then there will be consequences. Should I then go crying to an employment tribunal when he fires me?
I have no problem with people who find the society in which they live incongenial seeking to live somewhere else. The Cameroonian gent might be happier in Old Compton Street than in downtown Douala. But that doesn't impose an obligation on the British authorities to allow him to do so.
If the UNHCR and all the other quixotic liberal rightsmongers want the West to be responsible for extending the West's standards to the rest of the world, then perhaps the West ought to be given the corresponding political power. You want us to protect the rights of gay men in Cameroon? When London (or Paris as it may be) exercises imperial power in Yaoundé, then we'll think about it.
The 'Supreme Court', unsurprisingly, doesn't accept your arguments Edwin. With Stonewall acting for the appellants, it ruled that 2 gay 'test cases',one being the Camerounian gent you refer to,have the right to remain in the UK.
Theresa May, the new Home Sec, desperately spinning the judgment, claims this does not give carte blanche to third world gays everywhere to get a ticket to LHR, and then mince around Old Compton St (initially, at least, while the 'asylum claim' is being 'processed' at public expense ,via NASS). She says the authorites will instead be required to assess each case 'on its merits'.
I don't buy Ms May's spin for one minute. If the 'Supreme Court' wanted to, it could have differentiated between the Iranian gay (who could well have been executed in public back home, given the severity of the Ayatollah's criminal code) from the case of the Camerounian (who would doubtless face a 'homophobic culture' back home, but not a virulently homophobic criminal code). However, the Court ruled that both could remain, despite the differential merits of each of the cases.
I think that, as a result of this judgement, an increase in cases of gay and lesbian impersonation by third world chancers is practically guaranteed. Lord Hope will be the toast of innumerable third world internet cafes tonight, as an entirely new vista of immigration scams is opened up by the ruling he and his colleagues have just delivered.