September 16, 2020
The Home Office is the Ministerial Department of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it is responsible for immigration, security and law and order.
Queer People from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria are facing problems in their own countries. This is due to the laws which oppose same-sex relationships. Hence some have migrated to the UK for refuge.
However, the UK Home Office refused to shelter LGBTQ+ refugees.
Refugee and Asylum Seekers:
The UK is a signatory to the UN 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the 1967 Protocol and has, therefore, a responsibility to offer protection to people who seek asylum it and fall into the legal definition of a “Refugee“, and moreover not to return any displaced person to places where they would otherwise face persecution.
Cuts to legal aid prevent asylum seekers from getting good advice or arguing their case effectively.
The UK Home Office has refused more than 3,100 asylum claims from LGBTQ+ nationals where same-sex acts are illegal, damning figures revealed.
The Home Office refused 3000 asylum seekers from counties where same-sex marriages are considered illegal.
The department which is responsible for immigration has refused claims from LGBTQ+ people between 2016 and 2018, according to the Liberal Democrats by the Home Office.
1,197 LGBTQ Pakistanis refused asylum after making a claim for protection on grounds of sexual orientation.
In Pakistan, the country’s penal code punishes sodomy. Moreover, punishment can lead up to the death penalty under sharia law, though this has yet to be enforced.
While 640 LGBT+ people from Bangladesh and 389 from Nigeria had their claims refused.
In Nigeria, homosexual acts are punishable up to 14 years in prison and displays of same-sex affection are also outlawed. After Pakistan and Bangladesh, Nigeria produces the largest number of asylum claims based on sexual orientation.
The asylum focused on the case of a Nigerian man who fled to Britain to avoid prosecution for being gay.
Adeniyi Raji, who was sacked for his sexuality, received threats on social media in Nigeria, which included comments such as, “I really wish you were killed that very day …”, “You know gay practice is an abomination in our land”, and “You better stop your gay practice, if not you could get yourself killed in this country”.
The office rejected his claim, which upheld by the first-tier immigration tribunal. He is appealing against the decision but faces deportation.
Applications for asylum on grounds of sexual orientation, refused for nationals of Cameroon (136), Ghana (144), Iran (124) and Uganda (145) as well as Iraq, Jamaica, and Malaysia.
Leila Zadeh, executive director of the Uk lesbian and Gay immigration group ( UKLGIG) told:
“Our research has shown that the Home Office routinely disbelieves LGBTQI+ asylum claimants and disregard statements from friends, partners and organisations testifying to a claimant’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The Home Office is setting the bar too high for LGBTQI+ people. They are not applying the correct legal standard of proof that it is ‘reasonably likely’ that someone will be persecuted. It is imperative that the Home Secretary agrees to an independent public audit into asylum decision-making.”
Christine Jardine, the Lib Dems’ spokesperson for home affairs, said:
“This Conservative government is letting down every LGBT+ person and every individual in this country who cares about human rights. We should be leading the campaign across the world against homophobia and transphobia. Instead we have a government that is turning its back and looking the other way.
“These figures are a disturbing reminder that this Conservative government is failing to stand up for LGBT+ rights by refusing asylum to more than 1,000 people a year who face prosecution at home simply for who they are. The Liberal Democrats demand better for LGBT+ people wherever they live. We will establish a new, dedicated unit to handle asylum claims, free of political interference and without the Home Office’s culture of disbelief.”
For those who are unable to be open about their sexuality prior to leaving their home country were at a disadvantage when applying for asylum.
This fails to recognize that in many parts of the world it is taboo to talk about emotions and relationships. People who do not conform to societal gender norms never speak about sexuality or gender identity.
Recognition and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community have come a long way. However, there are still issues the community is still fighting for. The non-acceptance of the refugees is one such issue that continues to prevail in a few Countries.
It is therefore important for LGBTQ+ refugees to be accepted and given shelter in asylums. On the other hand, Countries who today do not accept same-sex couples will hopefully adopt a pro-pride attitude in the future.