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Shadow minister accuses Home Office of ‘persecuting’ LGBT asylum seekers

Ella Braidwood August 23, 2019

Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for social justice. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for social justice has hit out at the UK Home Office for its “humiliation and persecution” of LGBT+ asylum seekers.

Speaking ahead of Prime Cymru this weekend, Leanne Wood said that LGBT+ individuals seeking asylum in Britain were discriminated against by officials.

It comes after a young gay man called Abderrahim El Habachi, who fled from Morocco to Swansea, accused the Home Office of “putting people through hell” and claimed it did not believe asylum applicants when it came to their sexuality.

Home Office discriminates against LGBT+ asylum seekers, says Welsh politician Leanne Wood.

“LGBT+ people seeking asylum in the UK face serious discrimination within the system,” said Wood.

“As part of the process of being recognised as a refugee they must ‘prove their sexuality’ – a concept in any other scenario would be considered absurd and offensive.”

The national assembly member for Rhondda added that, in many cases, the only “evidence” claimants have for their sexuality is their own testimony, and that is “both intimidating and difficult” for applicants to have to disclose these personal details to officers.

Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood calls for Wales to have its own immigration system.

Home Office
One Moroccan gay man, who fled his home country, recently  accused the Home Office of putting asylum seekers “through hell.” (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

“Nobody should have to suffer the humiliation and persecution the Home Office currently subject LGBT+ asylum seekers to,” said the 47-year-old former leader of Plaid Cymru.

Wood also argued that if Westminster devolved powers allowing Wales to have its own immigration, then the country would become a “true nation of sanctuary”.

LGBT+ people seeking asylum in the UK face serious discrimination within the system.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Home Office rejected a gay man’s asylum claim because he did not have a gay “demeanour” and did not have an “effeminate manner”.

Following pressure from campaigners, the British government announced in May that it would launch a review into the way claims made on the grounds of a person being LGBT+ are assessed.

Last year, it was revealed that between 2015 and 2017, the rate of people granted asylum because of their sexuality fell by more than a third from 39 percent to 22 percent.

More: asylum, Home Office, Wales

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