Monday, 14 June 2010

Guardian editorial: Home Office LGBT asylum decisions "breathtaking"

Logo of the British newspaper The GuardianImage via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning

The Guardian newspaper in an editorial to mark the start of Refugee Week has called on the government to live up to "David Cameron's early words about taking refugees "to our hearts"".

It says that 'hope' has been engendered by Cameron's words - "a contrast with his predecessor as Tory leader, Michael Howard" - as well as "the infusion of Liberal Democrat thinking into the coalition agreement".

However it points to two early examples which 'sit uneasily' with such hope: the coalition government's promise to 'end child detention' whilst removing minors to unstable Afghanistan, and; LGBT asylum:
As for the coalition's promise to bar the removal of asylum seekers who live in fear of their home country's law owing to their sexuality, a great deal of work will be needed to translate warm general words into individual decisions. Practitioners claim 49 sexuality-based claims in every 50 are refused at the first hearing. People can be advised to go home and "be discreet" about their homosexuality, and that is only after they have seen off the breathtaking cases often made against them. Home Office officials will cheerfully cite an individual's failure to visit gay clubs or browse on gay websites as evidence that they may be straight.

... As things stand, asylum seekers are too often made to feel as if they have left one country where they face persecution, only to arrive at another where they are presumed to be liars.

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