Saturday, August 11, 2007

Not Queer Enough To Be Canadian

The story of Alvaro Orozco, a young Nicaraguan man who has claimed refugee status for being gay is a story of the stupidity of the social conservatives both in his home country and in Canada.

As I posted here in February when this story first surfaced; the Refugee Board in Calgary refused his request saying he didn't look/act gay.

Unlike our PM who occasionally looks like one of the Village People. Or that famous Conservative Cabinet Minister who is still in the closet.

And since Nicaragua is such a progressive country, having recently reelected Daniel Ortega as President, the refugee board figures that he would be safe from harm in that most Catholic of countries. A country that recently totally banned abortion.

Many LGBT Nicaraguans held prominent roles during the Sandinista Revolution, however, LGBT rights were not of any priority to the Sandinista government due to an overwhelming Roman Catholic population and was thought to be a huge political risk sure to be met with hostility from the Roman Catholic church.[1]

After the United States lifted the economic embargo against Nicaragua many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting LGBT rights began to operate in the country due to the absence of pressure from the United States. As a result, Nicaragua hosted in first public gay pride festival in 1991.[1] The annual Gay Pride celebration in Managua, held around June 28, in still in motion and is used to commemorate the uprising of the Stonewall riots in New York City.[2]

After gaining support the LGBT community suffered a huge setback when a bill formerly written to protect women from rape and sexual abuse was changed by the Social Christians.[1] The change imposed a sentence of up to three years in prison for "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes, or practices sex among persons of the same sex in a scandalous manner." Activist did not keep quiet and along with their allies they protested in Nicaragua and at embassies abroad, however, no change occurred and former President Violeta Chamorro signed the bill into a law in July 1992 under Article 205 of the penal code.[3] In November 1992 a coalition known as the Campaign for Sexuality without Prejudices, comprising, amongst others, lawyers and lesbian and gay activists, presented an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice, challenging the law as unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal in March 1994.[4]

A country that refuses to recognize a womans right to choose is not about to recognize the right to sexual orientation. And in that macho Catholic country declaring yourself gay is tantamount to a jail sentence. A damn good reason not to deport Alvaro Orozco.

A Nicaraguan national who fears persecution in his homeland because of his sexual orientation was ordered deported yesterday by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board -- a decision his lawyer said came as a "huge surprise."

Alvaro Orozco, 21, says he was just 12 when he fled Nicaragua -- a country where homosexuality is considered a crime punishable by up to four years in prison -- because his father beat him for being gay.

Yesterday's decision places Orozco's safety at risk, his lawyer, El-Farouk Khaki, told a news conference.

And I like this; the Minister responsible for Orozco's deportation is NOT taking phone calls!!

Thursday August 9, 2007
Urgent Press Conference – Stop the Deportation of Alvaro Orozco

6 months after community action and national media coverage resulted in the deferral of Alvaro Orozco’s deportation order – Alvaro received today, August 9th, 2007, a completely shocking negative response to his Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, which means that his deportation is now imminent. His last resort is for the Minister of Immigration, Diane Finley, to intervene.

NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina), as well as many other prominent supporters, have already called for the minister of immigration to allow Alvaro to stay in Canada.

Contact the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley.
Important note: The Minister of Immigration, Diane Finely, has the final say on deportation matters. She has the authority to give me permission to stay in Canada.
Despite the deferral, supporters should keep contacting Minister Diane Finley's office to keep the pressure and attention up. At this point, the CIC/IRB can reopen his case, grant my H&C (Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds stay), or accept my PRRA (preremoval risk assessment) (once we file the latter two). Now it's up to her. PLEASE keep sending in your support. It's only the beginning! I still has a removal date for mid August and no status yet.


Click Here for a Sample Letter to Minister Finley
- Word Doc.

Minister Diane Finley
Immigration Office: 613-954-1064

Parliament Hill
Room 707, Confederation Bldg House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
Ph:(613) 996-4974
Toll Free:None
Fx:(613) 996-9749

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