17 Jul 2006

Britain's asylum system is out of control

Please read and support, asylum seekers are being kicked out of Britain to be imprisoned or even killed because of their sexuality...

I am forwarding this message from John Hunt, which appeared on the LGBT list, as it concerns asylum seekers, an issue which GL has been active in recently.

Joseph Healy

The leaflet below was distributed at tonight's meeting
at London's City Hall of the Quarterly LGBT Forum.

And I'm pleased to say that I was not the only LGBT Green present.


Deportations / "Removals"
Coalition aims to change Home Office policy

One of this year's IDAHO events in London was a demonstration outside the Home Office, attended by Liberal Democrat President and Shadow Attorney General, Simon Hughes MP, against the deportation of LGBT refugees to face homophobic persecution in their home countries. At EuroPride another protest highlighting the same issues targeted Pride sponsor British Airways, which just three weeks before had deported Elizabeth to Uganda, where she had been imprisoned as a lesbian, despite support by two MP's and a professional medical assessment attesting to the severity of her condition.

Britain's asylum system is out of control. Home Office ministers preside over a regime of corruption, lawlessness and inhumanity. The Home Office frequently maintain that months of forced labour, water torture, whipping, beating, and repeated rape in prison do not constitute persecution.

Elizabeth's case is just one of many that occur in the UK every year. Faced with being deported back to Iran, a gay man doused himself in petrol in the offices of Refugee Action and burned himself alive: one of at least 14 asylum-seekers who have committed suicide over three years in Britain, rather than be deported.

Because of cuts in legal aid, gay refugees are forced to turn to Home Office-nominated solicitors who have no expertise in gay cases and no knowledge of the specialist evidence needed to win a gay asylum claim. After humiliating questioning, and despite evidence of severe homophobic persecution, Immigration Appeal Tribunals dismiss many applications by genuine LGBT refugees, claiming that gay people will not be at risk of victimisation in violently homophobic countries like Jamaica, Iran, Algeria and Zimbabwe if they hide their identity, avoid effeminate mannerisms, and have sex, if at all, only with extreme discretion!

As there are no guidelines or training for Home Office staff or judges on how to deal with LGBT asylum seekers, there is a frequent lack of sensitivity and understanding: despite existing policy that sexuality is a common immutable characteristic. Language barriers and reticence to talk openly about sexuality are compounded by translators who are from the same homophobic culture that the asylum claimant fled. Refugees "in detention" are often abused by other inmates, or even by staff.

The following aims have been identified. –

-- Home Office policy should not permit innocent asylum-seekers to be deported to countries where they risk death, imprisonment, torture, or other persecution.

-- The Home Office must institute and implement robust policy on sexual orientation, including thorough staff training and monitoring effectiveness.

-- Airlines [and other carriers] should not deport asylum-seekers to countries where they risk death, imprisonment, torture, or other persecution.

-- LGBT organisations should all be encouraged to institute and implement robust policies against suppliers and sponsors that practise any form of homophobia.

To add your organisation's name in support, email asylum@rosecottage.me.uk

galha.org.uk greenparty.org.uk lgbtgreens.org.uk
lgcm.org.uk medicaljustice.org.uk outrage.org.uk

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