MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – Gay asylum seekers who have experienced persecution in their home countries and fled to Australia to seek political protection will allegedly be resettled in Papua New Guinea, where it is illegal to be gay, the Guardian reports.
Four gay Iranian men are currently being held in an immigration detention and asylum processing center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Despite homosexuality being illegal in Papua New Guinea, the gay asylum seekers could be forced to live there permanently, according to the Times.
“I have to hide my sexuality because in this country, like Iran, there are a lot of people – fanatics – whom if they find out anyone is gay they would harass them and maybe even try to kill them. I have to hide my personality once again. I have to live as someone else”, one of the gay asylum seekers wrote in Farsi; his plea was later translated into English by the Guardian Australia.
“I thought Australia and its people would be my protector, but they taught me otherwise”, another letter stated.
In December 2013, it was reported that gay asylum seekers were not allowed to engage in homosexual relations while in detention; otherwise, they were to be reported to the local police, the Amnesty International (AI) report said. AI has consistently raised the issue of human rights violations targeting gay asylum seekers on Manus Island, however the organization never received a clear response from the Australian government, said Graeme McGregor, Amnesty Australia’s refugee-camp coordinator, as reported by the Guardian.
Scott Morrison, Australia’s Immigration Minister, said he was unaware of any claims of homosexuality among Manus inmates, the Guardian said.
LGBT rights remain a contested topic in certain parts of the world. The Western media, in particular, has been heavily critical of Russia’s “anti-LGBT” laws against exposing minors to homosexuality; these are mostly put into place to shield children from sexual media content and have their analogies in even the most liberal countries. Nonetheless, as the AI report and the detention center on Manus Island reveal, not everything is quiet on the Western front either.