Friday, 14 September 2012

Denmark cannot escape responsibility for Fernanda.

The Pan-American Human Rights organisation,
The United Nations Association,
The Danish Institute for International Studies,
OASIS human rights organisation in Guatemala
and now
Amnesty International;
all say that Guatemala is one of the most dangerous places in the world for a transgender person. These organisations all provide ample evidence of widespread and systemic murder, harrassment, torture and official persecution. Charred bodies, stabbed, shot, tortured or just "disappeared" are the norm in a country where the average life expectancy of a trans person is 25.

The Danish Refugee Board does not think so however, and the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thurning-Schmidt does not want to get her hands dirty by involving herself. The official Danish policy is that it does not grant asylum to trans people because they are trans. However this does not mean that trans people do not suffer persecution, just that Denmark refuses to acknowledge that they do. Just because you refuse to see something does not mean it doesn't exist.

Yet, by sending Fernanda Milan back to Guatemala they are in clear breach of international law which states that it is illegal to deport someone to a country where they are likely to be killed or tortured. Whether or not Denmark has a policy of granting asylum to trans people they cannot ignore, either legally or morally, the actual situation on the ground in Guatemala. If Fernanda is sent back in three days' time she will die. Most people think she will not see 2013. some consider that she will not see October, some are of the opinion that she may not even get out of the airport alive.

If the Danish government does deport her, they will, in doing so, be responsible, both directly and indirectly, for her death, and that is something trans people around the world will not allow Helle Thurning-Schmidt to forget. In the end the buck stops at her office. She may not "recognise" gender identity as a reason to grant asylum, but if Fernanda is sent back to her death the consequences for the Danish Prime Minister will be real and will last a lifetime.


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