New research by Stonewall has revealed that lesbian and gay asylum seekers are being routinely deported because of institutionalised discrimination within the system.
The report, No Going Back, which is published today, features groundbreaking new research and detailed evidence from both LGB asylum seekers and staff at the UK Border Agency, who say they have received no solid guidelines on how to question LGB asylum claimants from Jamaica, Malawi and Uganda, and that decisions are ultimately based on sketchy and inadequte information about the applicant’s country of origin. Sarah, a UKBA case worker told Stonewall: “We feel rude prying and embarrassed about asking these questions.”
No Going Back details the rape, torture and death-threats that LGB people face in countries worldwide and sheds light on specific disadvantages unique to their cases as a direct consequence of their sexual orientation. Harrison, a Jamaican asylum seeker quoted in the survey said: “As long as you’re recognised, you’re victimsed. [We live] every day in fear.”
The report also reveals that LGB asylum seekers are often assumed to be either lying or capable of modifying their behaviour to escape detection, should they be returned to their country of origin. In view of this, Stonewall have issued a set of recommendations to rectify errors of judgement made by UKBA staff. These include robust policy and guidance and training of all UKBA descion-makers to ensure effective questioning and fair case-hearings. It is also recommended that Home Office Country of Origin services be improved to reflect up-to-date and accurate information about the level and nature of anti-gay persecution in countries where it is currently prevalent – including the 80 member states of the United Nations where same-sex relations between consenting adults is illegal.
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: “This report provides both shocking and clear evidence of institutional homophobia in Britain’s asylum system. . . We’ll now be pressing the UK Border Agency and the Home Office urgently to implement the manifesto promises made by both partners in the new government to end this profound injustice.”