Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Protest: Stop deporting gay refugees

17 May is International Day Against Homophobia

Protest: Defend Gay Asylum Seekers
Date: Wednesday, 17 May 2006
Time: 12 – 2 PM
Place: The Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1

Attending the protest in defence of gay asylum seekers will be lesbian and gay refugees who will tell their stories of victimisation in their home countries and abuse in the UK by the Home Office.

To mark the second International Day Against Homophobia, Lesbian and gay people will protest outside the Home Office to highlight the plight of gay asylum seekers who have fled homophobic persecution in countries like Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan, Jamaica, Iran, Belarus, Algeria, Iraq, Nigeria and Egypt.

The Home Office is being called to account for its five failings:

  • No training on sexual orientation issues for asylum staff and adjudicators
  • No official policy supporting the right of refugees to claim asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation
  • No action to stamp out the abuse of gay refugees in UK asylum detention camps
  • No accurate, up-to-date information on the victimisation of gay people in violently homophobic countries
  • No adequate access to proper legal representation for gay asylum applicants
"On this International Day Against Homophobia, we want to express support for gay people in other countries who are suffering arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder. We are demanding that the UK government offers refuge from persecution," said Derek Lennard of GALHA, UK coordinator of IDAHO.

Research by OutRage!, based on its work with gay asylum claimants, shows that the Home Office is failing lesbian and gay asylum seekers.

"The Home Office does not explicitly accept persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation as a legitimate basis for gaining asylum," said Brett Lock of OutRage!, who is currently documenting a major expose of homophobic bias in the asylum system.

"Low legal aid funding means most gay asylum applicants fail because they have sub-standard representation at their asylum hearings. The Home Office information on homophobic persecution around the globe is poorly researched and often downplays the true scale of anti-gay victimisation.

"The shocking stories of homophobic abuse and inhumane conditions inside the UK's asylum detention centres are a national scandal," said Mr Lock.


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