Motion for Debate on May 2nd 2009: Immigration policy proposal
Submitted by Daryn McCombe
LGBT Labour's contact with immigration and asylum issues has increased dramatically in the last 24 months. It has now become essential that LGBT Labour National Committee begin a dialogue with the Home Office and Borders and Immigration agency on this vital issue.
LGBT Labour recognises that the UK Border and Immigration website defines asylum as “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 United Kingdom also adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents us sending someone to a country where there is a real risk they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The Border and Immigration agency does recognise that sexuality can often be the cause of a “well-founded fear of persecution” particularly in countries which are not as progressive as the UK. However the experience of LGBT people in the system does not often match the up to the high standards of treatment we would expect from the UK. This is due to the lack of specific guidance and training in the area.
LGBT Labour calls on the government to use the following four principles to draw up a new policy to deal with LGBT Asylum cases.
- That each case should be assessed on a case by case basis.
- That LGBT people should not be asked to prove their sexuality and that the Home Office and Borders and Immigration Agency respect the right of individuals to self define as LGBT.
- That the Borders and Immigration Agency employ specialist LGBT “case owners” who have received specific training in handling LGBT asylum cases.
- That the UK Government should not return people on the pretext that they will have to “hide” their sexuality on return to their home country.
LGBT Labour mandates the National Committee to expand on these principles and explore with the Home Office and Borders and Immigration agency their implementation at the earliest possible point.
This resolution was passed and LGBT Labour have contacted LGBT Asylum News seeking to work with us on these issues.