- 2014 National LGBT Conference
- 1 January 2014
Conference recalls that in 2010, the United Kingdom (UK) Coalition Government pledged: ‘We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because of their sexual orientation’. David Cameron promised that: “Those Africans seeking asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and at real risk of persecution in their home countries should be allowed to stay in the UK”.
However, lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers are still being deported back to countries where they face persecution, torture and death.
Conference notes that the North West Regional LGBT Group has heard from a Nigerian lesbian human rights activist, Aderonke, who now lives in their region. Aderonke has spoken of the appalling conditions she experienced during her detention in Yarl’s Wood and the inhumane things that she had to go through in order to prove to the authorities that she is a lesbian and therefore at risk (her life will be in danger) if (she was) returned to Nigeria.
Conference further notes that the UNISON-sponsored report by the United Kingdom Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) ‘Missing the Mark; Decision Making on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Asylum Claims’ published in September 2013, highlights that 98– 99 per cent of LGBTI asylum seekers are initially rejected; yet 30 per cent are approved on appeal.
The report revealed:
1. Inappropriate and sexually explicit questioning by case workers;
2. Disbelieving a person is lesbian or gay due to the decision maker’s misconceptions about sexual identity;
3. Falsely assuming that internal relocation is a valid option and that it is possible to live as a lesbian or gay man in countries where homophobia is prevalent “as long as someone is not ostentatious about it”;
4. Stereotyped assumptions about female sexuality and about lesbian and gay relationships;
5. Use of out dated Country of Origin Information or ill-informed sources such as the Spartacus Guide.
6. The continuing invisibility of lesbian asylum seekers and failure to recognise the intersectional factors based on both gender and sexual orientation which affect their lives and their claims.
Conference welcomes the review in the area of sexual orientation and gender identity asylum claims which the Government was forced to order, following a range of criticisms of how LGBT asylum claims are handled, including the admission that the government does not know how many claims have been made on the basis of sexual orientation. The results of this independent review are awaited. Conference notes that one of UKLGIG’s main current concerns is the increasing numbers of their clients who are being detained in worrying conditions, for unspecified periods of time, unnecessarily and inappropriately. LGBT claims are inherently complex and demonstrating you are a refugee at risk of persecution while in the Detained Fast Track asylum system is particularly difficult. UKLGIG have raised these concerns with the Home Office, but the Home Office does not accept it is inappropriate and says it has no plans to review it.
Conference calls upon the national LGBT committee to:
A. Remind David Cameron of his promise to LGBT asylum seekers and stop the deportation of LGBT people back to countries where they face persecution, torture and death;
B. Publicise and promote the recommendations of the Missing the Mark Report and encourage regional LGBT groups to do the same;
C. Work with Labour Link and LGBT Labour to raise the relevant recommendations and recent concerns about the use of the Detained Fast Track asylum system for LGBT asylum seekers with Labour; and,
D. Encourage regional and branch groups to support, publicise and promote the work of UKLGIG.