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Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Home Office Will Listen To Lesbians and Gays On Immigration Issues

Source: UK gay News

The UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group’s fight to put the human rights abuses of LGBT people from around the world onto the agenda, has taken a big step forward with the group’s appointment as an observer to the Advisory Panel on Country Information (APCI).
The APCI was set up to consider and make recommendations to the Secretary of State about the content of country information, which is produced by the Country of Origin Information Service, (COIS), at the Home Office.
UKLGIG will now input directly into the process of information gathering as it relates to human rights abuses of sexual minorities globally.  It will be directing it’s researchers to feed information into the newly created LGBT section of the Country of Origin reports.
“Our appointment as observer to the APCI is extremely significant as these COI reports are used by the Home Office and the Courts to decide LGBT asylum claims,” said Sarah Booker of UKLGIG.
“We will be using our position to ensure that the reports are accurate and up to date.”
UKLGIG has been in existence since 1993 and was formerly known as the Stonewall Immigration Group.
The group was founded in order to assist same-sex, bi-national couples win the right for foreign partners to remain in the United Kingdom on the basis of their same sex relationship.  The work of the Group resulted in the introduction of the unmarried partners concession in 1997 which entered the Immigration Rules in October 2000.
Many of the Group’s recommendations have been included in the Civil Partnership Act which was implemented in December 2005.
With the successful implementation of the Civil Partnership Act, UKLGIG has shifted its focus towards the problems faced by lesbian and gay asylum seekers.
It is contacted with increasing frequency by those who are seeking the protection of the United Kingdom, because they are persecuted due to their sexual orientation, in their home country. There is little support for such individuals in the United Kingdom and this is why we have set up the Lesbian and Gay Asylum Seekers Support Project. 
UKLGIG is holding it’s next asylum seekers support meeting at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL at 7.00pm on Tuesday December 5.


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