UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group appoints new executive director

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The UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) has appointed former Amnesty refugee researcher Paul Dillane as its new executive director.

Mr Dillane replaces Erin Power who left UKLGIG in October 2013. The charity campaigns for the rights of LGBT asylum seekers.

Speaking of his appointment, Mr Dillane said: “It is a real privilege to be appointed UKLGIG’s executive director and I am excited to join such a talented and committed team. UKLGIG provides unique support to frequently isolated LGBTI asylum seekers across the country, many of whom have been beaten, tortured and imprisoned because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

He continued: “LGBTI people experience discrimination and violence on a daily basis in many countries around the world. Despite legal successes in recent years, LGBTI people seeking asylum in the UK continue to face a range of challenges in navigating the complex, and frequently unsympathetic, asylum system.

“Earlier this year, following much criticism, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, ordered an investigation into the treatment of LGBTI asylum claims. I look forward to working with the team to advocate for greater respect and better protection of LGBTI people who flee to this country in search of sanctuary.”

The Chairman of UKLGIG, Tim Barnden, added: “Paul will be joining us from Amnesty International UK, where he has been working for six years as a highly regarded refugee researcher. He brings a wealth of experience at a time when UKLGIG is moving forward in responding to new challenges and building on our successes in forging better futures for LGBTI refugees here in the UK. We can’t wait to him on board.”

Last week, leading LGBT asylum barrister S Chelvan said the UK still has “a long, long way to go” when it comes to protecting those fleeing homophobic persecution.

He claimed that too many gay asylum seekers faced an “intolerable” position of having to “prove” their sexual orientation.

Chelvan is consulting with the Home Office on its own internal review of LGBT asylum policy.