Thursday, 4 February 2010

Cameron opposes 'be discrete' gay asylum policy?

David Cameron is a British politician, Leader ...Image via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning

In an interview for Attitude magazine - part of a series by gay journalist Johan Haari of The Independent - the Conservative Party leader David Cameron has suggested his awareness of and opposition to a key homophobic part of Labour's LGBT asylum policy.

They support judges who have refused claims on the basis that LGBT can return (to countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia) and 'be discrete'. It is homophobic as the policy does not exist for heterosexual asylum seekers and may breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Haari's article says:
On an hour-long tour of the policies he will make as Prime Minister that specifically pertain to gay people, Cameron is by turns impressive, mediocre, and worrying. He is at his best and at his clearest – to my surprise – when it comes to refugees who are fleeing homophobic persecution. He says: "If you are fleeing persecution and that fear is well-founded, then you should be able to stay. As I understand it, the 1951 Convention [on the rights of refugees] doesn't mention sexuality, but because it mentions membership of a social group, that phrase is being used by the courts, rightly, to say that if someone has a realistic fear of persecution they should be allowed to stay."

At the moment, gay refugees are often told – under a Labour government – to go back home and hide their sexuality from police forces who would imprison, torture or kill them for it. I ask him if that is wrong – and he says unequivocally: "I think it is. If you have a legitimate fear of persecution, that it seems to me that is a perfectly legitimate reason to stay."
In an interview with Haari published in January the Prime Minister's response to the same question on their 'be discrete' policy was:
Asylum law is incredibly difficult, and you can’t ever have a blanket inclusion or exclusion. Every asylum case is going to be dealt with on its merits. I don’t think any party will give you an absolutist commitment on this question. But obviously, our whole party has been built on the idea that where there is persecution, we’ve got to be prepared to help them.
The Liberal Democrats have adopted policy which:
Guarantee any refugees genuinely fleeing a country because of persecution over their sexual orientation asylum in the UK.
Individual Conservative politicians have supported individual LGBT asylum seekers - most prominently in the case of the Iranian Mehdi Kazemi which featured a powerful speech against the UK's LGBT asylum policy by MEP John Bowis. However this website believes this is the first comment on LGBT asylum from the Conservative leadership.

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