Current Affairs

SNP criticises UK government over gay and lesbian asylum seekers

PinkNews Staff Writer October 19, 2009
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The Scottish National Party passed a resolution this weekend criticising the UK government for its treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans asylum seekers.

The party held its annual conference in Inverness and passed a resolution attacking the UK government for “consistently [turning] a blind eye to homophobic persecution abroad”.

Anne McLaughlin, SNP MSP for Glasgow, said that LGBT asylum seekers were returned to their home countries without any regard of what might happen to them, including jail or execution.

According to the Herald, she said: “We are not talking here about people having the right to have sex in the street, for goodness sake.

“We are just talking about them having the right to say ‘This is who I am’.”

She continued: “But how do you get there if because of your sexuality you are forced to live a life where your government requires you to hide behind closed doors, and this British government backs them up by sending you back.”

One delegate, Esther Sassasman, told the conference that she was bisexual and added: “When we pass this motion we are making a statement to the world that Scotland is a land of hope, promise and opportunity.”

LGBT asylum campaigner Paul Canning told he was pleased about the resolution.

He aid: “I welcome the support shown by the SNP for LGBT asylum seekers, which follows that of LGBT Labour at its August AGM.

“More and more people are hearing about appalling cases such of that of John Bosco from Uganda, a country which is now proposing the death penalty for gays. He was violently forced back and had to go into hiding in Kampala. A judge ordered him to be returned to the UK and condemned the asylum process for gays.

“Stonewall has just published new guidance which documents the appalling reality for LGBT asylum seekers. One Iranian may be ordered back, another may be allowed to stay. This is true even of Iraqis who make it out of that hell-hole for LGBT.”

Canning added that he seconded Peter Tatchell’s call for the Conservative Party to explain what it would do about LGBT asylum seekers who were returned home by the UK Border Agency.

More: Scotland

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