Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Alireza (Ali) Fazeli-Monfared - RIP
On May 4, 2021, a twenty year old Iranian LGBTIQ+ man was tragically beheaded in an "honour-killing" by three male members of his own family.
"Alireza (Ali) Fazeli-Monfared, 20, was allegedly killed by three male members of his family after they opened a letter from Iran’s conscription organization saying he had been exempted from compulsory two-year military service due to his sexual orientation. The card clearly referred to a clause in the law exempting those with "moral and sexual depravities such as transsexualism." - Iran International (https://iranintl.com/en/iran/irans-military-service-law-blamed-killing-transgender-gay-man for full article)
Julian Punch, President of Rainbow Communities Tasmania Inc. (RCTI), acting under advice from the UN Embassy in Canberra, has accepted the sponsorship of a Humanitarian Visa for another Iranian LGBTIQ+ man (name withheld) whose life is in danger.
Julian has been attempting to converse with the Minister for Home Affairs, Hon. Karen Andrews, who has so far rejected the visa request on the grounds that "RCTI is not a legitimate organisation to sponsor."
This is the transcript of Julian's April 20, 2021 letter to the Minister:
I am President of Rainbow Communities Tasmania Inc. This body is the state peak advocacy organisation for LGBTIQ+ communities in Tasmania. It acts to achieve self-determination for these communities in achieving access and equity for all human rights, through actioning local, regional, national and international strategies of acknowledging, recognising and accepting cultural awareness and diversity as a contribution to the mainstream Australian/ International society.
We have been acting as sponsoring organisation for UN/Australian Humanitarian/Protection Visas for people in the 72 Countries that execute, imprison or persecute members of the LGBTIQ+ communities (particularly gay men). As well, we have been assisting in an area of immigration support work with LGBTIQ+ torture and post-traumatic stress disorder immigrants settling in Australia, with some support representatives visiting these countries. This has been done in line with the Oxford University Refugee Studies' Forced Migration Review 42 - April 2013, SOGI Protection of Forced Immigrants and in consultation with officers from the UN Australian Embassy in Canberra and Australian UN Human Rights commissioners operating in south Asian Countries.
We have recently had one of our tortured gay man from Iran (name and details withheld) refused his Humanitarian Visa despite the fact that he was accepted under our sponsorship for the process for nearly a year.
One of the refusal reasons given apart from a ‘full quota’ was: “As no applicant is a member of the immediate family (as defined at regulation 1.12AA) of a proposer who holds or held a Class XB visa and as the application is not proposed by an approved proposing organization.”
This is not the legal interpretation according to our legal adviser, who interprets Rainbow Communities Tasmania as a peak incorporated LGBTIQ+ Advocacy organisation - category 5L:
5L Membership of a particular social group other than family
For the purposes of the application of this Act and the regulations to a particular person, the person is to be treated as a member of a particular social group (other than the person’s family) if:
(a) a characteristic is shared by each member of the group; and
(b) the person shares, or is perceived as sharing, the characteristic; and
(c) any of the following apply:
(i) the characteristic is an innate or immutable characteristic;
(ii) the characteristic is so fundamental to a member’s identity or conscience, the member should not be forced to renounce it;
(iii) the characteristic distinguishes the group from society; and
(d) the characteristic is not a fear of persecution.’
This refusal has exposed our client to an extreme situation in Iran and questions RCTI's capacity to support this important area of our work for an increasing number of people.
I would be grateful to review with you or an appropriate officer our capacity to act as a sponsoring organisation and to learn from this unfortunate situation."
Further correspondence from Julian to the Minister on May 10, 2021:
I am concerned that I have not received an answer back regarding this pressing matter for our organisation.
Today I received the message from our client (name withheld) as attached below which details an honour killing of a transgendered man by three members of his family.
Our client was refused his Humanitarian Visa recently by your office on the grounds that Rainbow Communities Tasmania Inc. is not a "registered sponsoring organisation". This is causing us the dilemma of not being able to protect people in Iran who are in terrible danger. It is also a huge strategic difficulty for us in the sense that there is no "sponsoring organisation" in Tasmania.
I would urge you to consider our request."
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