Norway refuses gay Iraqi asylum

Published: December 12, 2011

A gay Iraqi has been refused Norwegian asylum and told to ‘go home and be discrete’.

The High Court accepted that Azad Hassan Rasol was gay and that gay men in Iraq are at risk, including at risk of being killed, but it ruled that Rasol ‘must comply with Iraq’s socio-cultural norms’.

Rasol is a Kurd and the Immigration authorities claimed that risks to gay men in the Kurdish region "differs greatly" from the rest of Iraq and that he can seek protection from the Kurdish autonomous region’s authorities.

His lawyer, Jon Ole Martinsen, said that:

    "In practice it means to hide your sexual orientation, for if it is discovered you will be in danger of being persecuted."

Rasol told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) that:

    "My clan is going to kill me. Gays and lesbians cannot live openly in Iraq."

So-called ‘honor killing’ is a major problem in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Last month a report emerged of police raiding a gay party in Kalar, a small town in Kurdistan, arresting 25 men.

In September the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released a report which said that attacks on LGBT in Iraq had continued in 2010.

Rasol has been in a relationship with Norwegian Odd Arne Henriksen since they met in 2006. Henriksen said that if Rasol was sent to Iraq he would go with him.

    "In our family we don’t give up so easily. We stand at the very end," he told NRK.

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