Government ‘still not collecting data on gay asylum claims’
The UK government has admitted that it is still not collecting data on the number of people who claim asylum or are refused on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Ministers promised last year that they would protect gay asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution.
Last July, the Supreme Court ruled that the policy of returning gays and lesbians to dangerous countries under the belief that they could be “discreet” about their sexual orientation must end.
Following this, the Home Office told the UK Border Agency that relevant cases should be “flagged and recorded” to ensure that rules were not being breached and that cases were being monitored.
However, the lack of data means that it is not known whether gay and lesbian asylum seekers are being returned to countries where they face persecution.
According to the Guardian, immigration minister Damian Green confirmed that the data was not being collected.
In response to a parliamentary question asking how many lesbian and gay asylum seekers had been granted or refused asylum since July, he said: “The information requested in the questions is not recorded centrally by the UK Border Agency and can only be obtained through examination of individual case records at a disproportionate cost.”
A UK Border Agency spokesperson told the newspaper: “The UK Border Agency does not currently record separate statistics on the grounds on which individuals claim asylum.
“We are, however, reviewing how data on sexual orientation cases can be recorded more effectively and whether any resulting data can be published.”
LGBT asylum campaigner Paul Canning told PinkNews.co.uk: “The cost argument is specious because fighting claims eventually won in court, detention and other expenses amount to far more than sorting out a way to measure what is happening in the system to gay asylum seekers. They compile data for child detainees, and that’s how we can spot problems with that coalition promise.”
He added: “Those of us working in the area are seeing the ‘proof’ [of sexual orientation] issue being pushed far more than it was before. We’re also seeing bizarre cases like a Jamaican lesbian not being believed despite her girlfriend having been accepted and given asylum and the woman’s evidence being crucial to her girlfriend’s case.”