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The UK needs to stop sending LGBTI asylum seekers to their deaths

The UK needs to stop sending LGBTI asylum seekers to their deaths

Asylum seekers are facing 'too high a bar' in the UK | Photo: Immigration Equality

Activists are calling on the UK to stop sending LGBTI asylum seekers to their deaths.

The Rainbow Rush scandal has seen ignorance and ineptitude of many UK officials exposed.

Many asylum seekers have said they felt their cases have been mishandled.

Genuine applicants have been turned down, deported, and are forced to go back to a country where they could be jailed, tortured or killed.

What is the Rainbow Rush scandal?

Disturbing stories from the Rainbow Rush scandal

LGBT Asylum Seekers Welcome Here – Socialist Worker banner.

In the last month alone, we have revealed several disturbing stories.

Awori, from Uganda, alleges a government official told her to ‘find religion and be cured‘.

‘He told me to go to a church and repent and then I will stop claiming I am a lesbian,’ she told GSN.

‘He kept intimidating me, yelling: “You’re the people causing problems in this country!” I put my complaint in about it and the [Home Office] refused to investigate it.’

Orashia is from Jamaica, and he says the UK asylum system is driving him to suicide.

Two husbands, married in the UK, are also fighting a deportation order. Officials want to send to one back to Nepal.

And posted today, one UK official told a Cameroon rape victim that she couldn’t be gay as she has kids.

‘The UK hasn’t done enough,’ Awori said. ‘They haven’t done enough to protect LGBTI people.

‘They say they are promoting human rights, equality and diversity. If that isn’t given to everyone, then it doesn’t exist.’

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said he is looking at the faults of the UK asylum system after the Windrush scandal.

But now it’s time to look at how the system also treats LGBTI people.

Open letter on LGBTI asylum seekers

Dear Mr Javid,

Congratulations on your appointment as Home Secretary. The Prime Minister has given you a clear mandate to review and repair the damage the Windrush scandal has done to the UK’s reputation.

You will likely, therefore, already have identified another widespread problem with the UK’s policies on immigration and asylum – British official’s treatment of LGBTI asylum seekers.

In recent years, Gay Star News and others have highlighted multiple examples of UK immigration officials misunderstanding the needs of LGBTI asylum seekers and mishandling their cases. Home Office officials have turned down genuine applicants, advised them to go home and ‘act discreetly’ or even suggested religion can ‘cure’ them.

Despite repeated promises from HM Government that these abuses will end, we continue to hear of multiple cases which indicate the problem is systemic and unresolved.

This is the Rainbow Rush scandal.

We call on the government to enact an immediate moratorium on deporting or detaining any asylum seekers. We demand an independent inquiry into the Rainbow Rush cases and will be happy to provide evidence to that inquiry. And we further ask that HM Government agrees to accept the recommendations of that inquiry and to enact permanent changes to ensure our asylum system is fair to all LGBTI and other asylum seekers in future.

This is a once in a generation opportunity for the UK to put an end to historic wrongdoing by immigration officials and ensure we are, in future, ranked as world leaders in our provision of asylum on humanitarian grounds.

Yours sincerely,
Tris Reid Smith – Editor of Gay Star News

All Out
Peter Tatchell Foundation
UK Black Pride
Just A Ball Game
Bourne Free – (Bournemouth Pride)
Proud Cherries – Afc Bournemouth LGBT+
African Equality Foundation
Blue Diamond Society – LGBT Rights organization in Nepal
LGB&T Dorset Equality Network
Schools Out UK