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Monday, 23 June 2008

Jacqui Smith's statement: media release by LGBT Greens

Home Secretary ‘misled’ to claim safety of LGBT people returned to Iran
Urgent review of Home Office approaches to LGBT asylum needed

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, does not consider Iranian LGBT asylum seekers to have fears of persecution if they are returned. According to Smith who has had correspondence with Lord Roberts of Llandudno published in a letter in today’s Independent, ‘evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation.’

In condemning the Home Secretary’s response, Phelim Mac Cafferty, media spokesperson for LGBT Greens stated:

“Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, is playing a dangerous game with the lives of Iranian LGBT refugees: effectively she’s trying to rubbish the argument that LGBT people are being persecuted for their sexuality in Iran. Her claim that as long as people are ‘discreet’ a regime notorious for its treatment of LGBT people will somehow stop persecuting them is misled at best and homicidal at worst.

“Instead of this macho posturing from the Home Office on keeping asylum figures down, we desperately need a Home Secretary prepared to look the Iranian regime in the eyes and stand up for what’s right for LGBT people.

“Iranian LGBT refugees have fled from persecution and torture and we now need an urgent review of the services provided for all LGBT refugees. We need-

1. Compulsory training for all asylum staff on sexual-orientation and trans-awareness.
2. Explicit instructions to all immigration and asylum staff, and asylum judges, that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum.
3. Clearer and up-to-date guidance from the Home Office for asylum judges to reflect
the accurate scale of LGBT persecution throughout the world
4. Legal-aid funding for asylum claims need to be substantially increased."


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