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Wednesday, 7 April 2010

UK election 2010: Plaid Cymru on LGBT asylum

Plaid CymruImage via Wikipedia
On the calling of the British general election, LGBT Asylum News has written to all the party's LGBT groups plus the Scottish National Party offering space for them to state their position on LGBT asylum issues. The parties have until 4 May to respond. Statements from them will not be edited.

The first submission is by Plaid Cymru.

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Plaid Cymru is working for a strong, sustainable and cohesive Wales where everyone is valued. The people of Wales are united in their diversity and are welcoming of those who come here to work and live. Plaid Cymru believes that Wales is a country where each and every individual should be respected and valued irrespective of their race, language, nationality, gender, colour, creed, sexuality, age, ability or social background.

We are in the process of setting up a LGBT group – PlaidPride – for employees, members of the party and supporters. This is an affiliated interest group which will be able to submit motions to conference. Of course, as well as appealing to LGBT members Plaid Cymru should strive to improve its standing amongst LGBT voters. A LGBT group could act as a mechanism for LGBT staff, members and supporters to air their grievances in the event of alleged discrimination occurring and could provide a system for dealing with abuse.

Plaid Cymru is committed to improving the working environment for LGBT staff. We will demonstrate that we are doing more than just complying with the law and actually engaging with our LGBT staff. In 1996 we passed ‘Sexual Health Education’ which called for ‘issues surrounding people’s sexuality [to] be presented in an open, sensitive and prejudice-free manner as a key element in any comprehensive programme of sexual health education [and noted] that lesbian, gay and bisexual young people also require support and advice and that section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988) that currently prevents the provision of such support be repealed accordingly.’ In 1999 we passed ‘Equality of Opportunity and Social Justice’ which reaffirmed Plaid’s ‘commitment to social justice and to the promotion of equality of opportunity for every citizen of Wales ... [and called on] Westminster must review equality law to ensure that it is enforceable. accessible, and covers all aspects of discrimination, including age and sexuality.’

We are very strong in reiterating our commitment to all those who live in Wales and that we are a party that believes in freedom from discrimination, harassment or insult on the grounds of colour, race, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability. We are very clear that we welcome everyone to Plaid Cymru regardless of any minority status; we have a openly gay MP in Carmarthenshire and several openly gay councillors and prominent members of the party, as well as many gay members of staff across the party.

Plaid Cymru recognises the invaluable contribution that migrants have made to Wales over the years. Our civic nationalism celebrates tolerance, mutual understanding and difference. We welcome everybody to Wales, irrespective of race, language, nationality, colour, creed or background. We condemn the point-scoring used by other parties and the pandering to unfounded xenophobic prejudices in the debate on immigration. Migration is a natural process in human life and it is in all our interests for Wales  to deal with this as effectively and efficiently as possible. Equally, we recognise the potential shared benefits of greater co-operation in asylum and immigration at EU level, and the important role that Wales  should play in assisting the integration of new migrants. We believe that we share a duty to uphold and defend people's right to seek asylum and we will work to ensure Wales’s proud tradition of offering refuge to the persecuted continues. We strongly condemn the growing trade in human trafficking and call for greater resources to help and support victims of trafficking. Plaid MPs campaigned to stop the closing of the specialist Human Trafficking Unit which deals with forced labour and domestic slavery. 

Plaid Cymru supports the right of asylum seekers to work in the UK while they wait for status decisions to be made and we call for the speeding up of an often bureaucratic and unnecessarily complicated asylum system. Plaid MPs will campaign in Westminster for the repeal of laws which force asylum seekers into the inhumane and ineffective voucher system and we condemn the practice of housing recently-arrived asylum seekers, especially children, in “detention” or “removal” centres as punitive and cruel.
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