RRT sending gay people back to be persecuted for really stupid reasons

Contrary to the utter garbage spouted by dishonest conservatives that the Refugee Review Tribunal is somehow biased towards refugee claims, comes the revelation that it has been treating applications by gay people fleeing persecution with unbelievable contempt:

In one case a gay refugee couple who had experienced violence and harassment in their Bangladeshi homeland were told that they would be safe to return home provided they “conducted themselves in a discreet manner”. The tribunal noted that “men [in Bangladesh] who conform outwardly to social norms, most importantly by marrying and having children, can get away with male to male sex provided it is kept secret”.

And that’s not even the stupidest and most offensive example.

According to the tribunal, all gays, even non-English speaking ones, should instinctively know trivial details of western “gay” pop culture:

In a separate case, the tribunal attempted to determine the veracity of a claimant’s homosexuality by asking him to describe the “art, literature, song lyrics [and] popular cultural icons [that] spoke to him in his isolation from the rest of society”. It was indicated that they were looking for examples such as Madonna, Oscar Wilde, Greco-Roman wrestling and Bette Midler. The court added that the line of questioning was justified and comparable to quizzing Catholics on the Bible.

Time limit for being gay expired:

Another claimant was rejected in 2007 on the grounds that because his first homosexual experiences had occurred while in detention, his homosexuality was not real, but “situational”.

Just man up about it:

That same year, a Fijian homosexual who had been physically and sexually assaulted was ordered home and told to simply ignore the verbal abuse and derogatory treatment he experienced.

What, you’ve only got one example? Might have been a one-off:

Another homosexual who had been arrested and assaulted, first by the Fijian police and then by the militia for having gay sex, was told that while the court accepted his homosexuality and his story, they were not satisfied that he faced any further persecution.

Not promiscuous enough for our help:

Then in 2008 a court expressed concern over the fact that a Pakistani man only had a single “one night stand” to show for the “many months” he had spent in Australia.

Don’t look gay enough:

Still others have been rejected on the basis that because of their conservative dress or appearance, they are likely to be able to “pass” as heterosexual and therefore are not at risk of facing persecution.

Don’t worry, though, it’s not as if these odd examples of a system that has bizarre and unfathomable prejudices about gay people actually caused serious lasting harm to people’s lives and resulted in them being sent back into real danger. No, wait, that’s exactly what happened.

This is a disgrace, and the Minister should be answering serious questions about it in Parliament.

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8 responses to “RRT sending gay people back to be persecuted for really stupid reasons

  1. Unbelievable Jeremy,

    I don’t know too much about how Fijians view homosexuality, but certainly in the case of people from Islamic countries there is definitely grounds for them to be granted asylum for fear of persecution — and indeed execution.

    I also wasn’t aware that Greco-Roman wrestling was part of gay culture, any more than say, swimming or football, I thought it was just a test of the physical strength of the competitors. I certainly learn something new every day.

  2. Splatterbottom

    Unbelievable Gavin. Surely your not suggesting that Islamic societies are bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic or intolerant? On that basis you would have to let most of their population in as refugees.

  3. Hello SB,

    Yes many of them are all of those things you mention, it would be interesting to see what would happen if say a Saudi woman applied for asylum on the basis of facing persecution due to her gender if she was sent back.

  4. confessions

    Here are the members of the RRT and Migration Review Tribunal.

    I’m assuming most (if not all) would be lawyers? Any names ring any bells for anyone?

  5. Hi confessions,

    Browsing through the list none of them spring to mind as anyone I’ve heard of before — but then again, I don’t follow tribunal memberships and such things too closely…

  6. confessions

    Of the 95 total members, only 14 are current government appointments. And just scanning the bios, there appear to be an awful lot of ex-DFAT and DIAC staff, and even ex ministerial advisors among them.

    This seems to suggest that the previous government stacked the Tribunal with people it felt were sympathetic to its political objectives. How surprisement!

  7. Jeremy, thanks for posting this.

    It’s appalling and embarrassing. It’s about time the powers-that-be recognised that the gay world is a rather broad church and that not all fags like Elton John, old Hollywood movies, musical theatre, shagging anything with a pulse, and…Barbara Streisand records.

    Not to mention that the RRT seems to be suggesting one approach for home and another for abroad.

    When I get a moment I’ll try to follow this up directly with RRT.

  8. weewillywinkee

    Are you serious? Are comments like those against the law? They are homophobic and extremely ignorant.

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