UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) is concerned that recent publicity, particularly the article in The Independent this Sunday, creates a false impression of what happens to LGBT asylum seekers in the UK.
In April 2010 UKLGIG released a report “Failing the Grade” (PDF) which states that between 2005 and 2009, 98% of lesbians and gay men claiming asylum on the basis of their sexual identity were refused by the Home Office at the initial interview stage. The Stonewall report “No Going Back” reiterates these findings.
Fortunately for LGBT asylum seekers, the justice system in the UK allows for a number of further steps in the process before all avenues have been explored and these further steps ensure that many of these asylum seekers are in fact granted asylum by the courts.
To say that “virtually all gay asylum seekers are sent back to persecution” is absolutely untrue and damages the considerable reputation of UKLGIG and the support that we give asylum seekers in those courts. Sometimes the evidence of UKLGIG is what ensures that a lesbian or gay man wins their claim.
Not only does such reporting damage the credibility of organisations that support LGBT asylum seekers, perhaps more importantly, it creates a climate of fear for those currently going through the process and for those who are thinking about claiming asylum – keeping them illegal and in danger of exploitation and destitution.
UKLGIG asks reporters keen to impress and generate public response if they are prepared to accept responsibility if the loss of credibility of UKLGIG means that an Iranian asylum seeker is returned and executed.