Refugee & Asylum

The death penalty for being gay or lesbian exists in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan and Mauritania and parts of Nigeria and Somalia. Imprisonment and/or corporal punishment for being gay and/or lesbian exists in 76 countries and 5 country regions.

The UK Border Agency says: “Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country.

It is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution.

The UK also adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents us sending someone to a country where there is a real risk that they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Help and advice for LGB refugee and asylum seekers

UK Border Agency
www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/asylum

UK Gay and Lesbian Immigration Group
www.uklgig.org.uk

In 2010, the UK Supreme Court ruled that expecting lesbian, gay or bisexual people to be ‘discreet’ about their sexual orientation in their home counties to avoid persecution is a denial of fundamental rights.

This should mean that the UK is welcoming to LGB people fleeing persecution, but there are issues with training and information provided to immigration judges and UKBA staff , when it comes to LGB issues in different countries.

The Government has promised to stop the removal of LGB refugee and asylum seekers where there is proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution, but is not monitoring LGB asylum cases.

This means that LGB people’s experiences of the asylum system are also not being monitored. Cuts in public funding have affected many voluntary organisations that help refugees and asylum seekers.

There is also the central issue of how someone proves that they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Joining a gay social group may help you find support and advice (see www.lgf.org.uk/directory for groups in your area of the North West).

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
1 Delaunays Road, Crumpsall Green, Manchester M8 4QS
0161 740 7722
referrals@gmiau.org

August 2011