- 2010 National LGBT Conference
- 27 July 2010
- Carried as Amended
98% of UK lesbian, gay and bisexual Asylum cases are refused at the initial application stage and the asylum system results in many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Asylum seekers being returned to countries where they may face persecution and possible death. It has now become essential that the national LGBT Committee continue a dialogue with the Home Office and Borders and Immigration agency on this vital issue.
This is the time to lobby for improved LGBT Asylum rights following a Supreme Court ruling in July this year that Challenged the Home offices ‘Be Discreet Policy’ – The judgment said that ‘to compel a Homosexual person to pretend that that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behavior by which to manifest itself is to deny their fundamental right to be who they were.
This conference notes that the UK Border and Immigration website defines asylum as “Protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution. The United Kingdom also adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents us sending someone to a country where there is a real risk they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
This conference calls on UNISON’s National LGBT Committee to campaign for the Government to use the following five principles to draw up a new policy to deal with LGBT Asylum cases.
1.That each case should be assessed on a case by case basis;
2.That LGBT people should not be asked to prove their sexuality or individual persecution, but only that they have a well founded fear of persecution, and that the Home Office and Borders and Immigration Agency respect the right of individuals to self define as LGBT;
3.That the Borders and Immigration Agency ensure that all ”case owners” who have received specific training in handling LGBT asylum cases;
4.That the UK Government should not return LGBT people on the pretext that they will have to “hide” on return to their home country;
5.The official Home Office country information reports – on which judges often rely when ruling on asylum applications – must be upgraded and expanded to reflect the true scale of anti-LGBT persecution. i.e. using current ILGA data.
This conference mandates the National LGBT Committee to expand on these principles and explore with the Home Office and Borders and Immigration agency their implementation at the earliest possible point, and to work with ‘Love without Borders’ campaign and other organisations as appropriate for LGBT Asylum rights.