Here are photos of two young men from Iran, Ayaz and Mahmoud, barely 18 years old, who three years ago (2005) were hanged because they were lovers. If you look carefully at the pictures, you will notice how they were both placed on an open truck and a rope placed around their necks. The truck was then driven away and the young lovers left to dangle from it, hang and die. Their only crime had been being born gay and loving eachother. Of course Ayaz and Mahmoud are just two out of the thousands that are murdered every year by their governments for being gay.
If you know someone who is gay, read on. If you don't know anyone who's gay, read on too because one day you may find out that your son, your daughter, one of your friends or someone in your family is gay.
In more than 80 countries around the world, being born gay can land you in very serious trouble with the law (see list below). In these countries, it is basically illegal for two consenting adults of the same sex to kiss or to have a sentimental and/or sexual relationship with eachother. Punishment ranges from imprisonment, labour camps to beating, torture and in 8 of these countries there is also capital punishment, that is death. In Iran, up to 4000 persons have been hanged by the country's courts since the 1980s because they were found to be gay.
Countries where 'homosexuality' is still considered a crime:
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bisseau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, India, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudia Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tonga, Tuvalu, Guyana
Countries where 'homosexuality' is punishable by death:
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mauritania
This year (2008) also marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. On this occasion, the French presidency of the European Union has drafted a declaration that will be presented on the 15th of December to the United Nations with the aim of improving the original declaration presented 60 years ago, because it still does not address two important issues in many countries around the world: women and gay people.
What the French presidency says in this new declaration is that being born a woman or a gay person is still a cause of ending up in court. Women are still being beaten or stoned to death if they commit adultery (but not men) and gay people are still being tortured and hanged if they are caught making love (while straight people aren't). This is of course discrimination. Luckily for gay people born in most democratic states, like the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico etc, homosexuality was long ago removed from being a crime from the legal code of these countries (in Malta this happened in the 1970s).
The declaration has already been signed by all 27 members of the European Union and it is expected that all democratic (and also a number of not-so-democratic) countries will be signing this declaration, that will put pressure on governments around the world to stop putting gay people in jail or killing them just because of the way they were born. The technical name for this is 'decriminalisation' - that is stating clearly in the law that 'homosexuality' in itself is no crime. Of course anyone with a sense of logic, justice and human values can understand this perfectly.
However there is one very notable and sad exception to all of this: the Vatican. The Vatican envoy at the United Nations, Mons. Celestino Migliore, has just made it clear that on the 15th of December, when the French will present their declaration, the Vatican will oppose this declaration. Yes you have read correctly. The Vatican will actually oppose 'decriminalisation' of homosexuality. Put bluntly, the Pope and his hierarchy do not agree that homosexuality should be removed from the list of crimes.
This will be a very black day for the Vatican and the Catholic Church, a return to a medieval situation that many had thought had long ended. The Vatican will actually be supporting those states where people are put in jail or are murdered because they are gay. The Pope will have blood on his hands in a few days time, and this is no joke.
The Vatican says it will oppose the declaration because they believe that in the future the declaration may be used by courts worldwide to put pressure on those governments where same sex unions are not recognised. Put in another way, the Vatican would rather see gay people being put in jail, treated as criminals or murdered, rather than having gay relationships recognised by governments.
Of course the argument does not make any sense because there is no mention whatsoever of gay unions or marriage in the declaration. The declaration simply proposes the removal of homosexuality from the criminal list -'decriminalisation' - with the aim of saving thousands of innocent lives around the world. To jump from this to gay marriage is not only exaggerated but also lacking in any sense of proportion and justice, not to mention love and christian charity!
Please pass on this article so that more people will know what the Vatican is doing in the name of Jesus Christ, even though Jesus never passed any judgement on gay people or their relationships for that matter! Talk to all those who are involved in someway or other with the Catholic Church, priests, nuns, catholic educators, so that there will be a change of heart to this cruel and brutal position. Speak up for those who like Ayaz and Mahmoud have no one to speak up for them in front of the judges! Protests against the Vatican's position are planned in Italy in the next few days (www.arcigay.it).
repubblica/archivio/ repubblica/2008/12/02/dal- vaticano-monito-all-onu- omosessualita..html