Leaked report: UK Home Office ‘interrogates’ LGBT asylum seekers with degrading questions
The UK Home Office is facing heavy criticism after a leaked report has revealed that LGBT asylum seekers are facing abusive, degrading “interrogations” about their sex lives.
It was revealed in October last year that LGBT asylum seekers were still being ordered to “prove” their sexuality to gain entrance to the UK, including being forced into desperate measures, such handing over photographic and video evidence of “highly personal sexual activity” to caseworkers.
However, according to the leaked report obtained by the Observer, dated from October 2013, LGBT asylum seekers also face a style of questioning which has been branded as a form of “interrogation.”
The document reveals how one bisexual man underwent five hours of questioning with no lawyer present.
Questions included: “Did you put your penis into x’s backside?’ and ‘When x was penetrating you, did you have an erection? Did x ejaculate inside you? Why did you use a condom?”
The man was also asked: “What is it about men’s backsides that attracts you?” and “What is it about the way men walk that turns you on?”
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Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, said he was “shocked” at the type of questions people were being asked, and called for the practice to be stopped.
S Chelvan, barrister and asylum expert, said: “I’m horrified by the nature of the questions that have been highlighted.
“It’s more like an interrogation than an interview. It is exceptionally troubling that there were questions like whether an individual ejaculated or whether they used a condom.
“This is an unacceptable investigation of a gay asylum claim. Clearly, something is going terribly wrong here.”
Immigration barrister Colin Yeo also said: “This is the worst I have seen, but these sorts of intrusive, abusive questions are features of Home Office interview practice, particularly in cases involving sexuality.
“The underlying problem is that officials believe everyone is a liar. It leads to a fundamental lack of respect for the people they are dealing with.”
In response to allegations of asylum seekers in the past, the Home Office has said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it. We are committed to concluding all cases as quickly as possible, but asylum cases are often complex and require full and thorough consideration.
“We have robust mechanisms in place to monitor standards of housing provided to asylum seekers.”