Justice Minister to take part in LGBT asylum debate with leading activists

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes is set to take part in a discussion about the plight of LGBT asylum seekers.

The Liberal Democrat MP will appear on a panel alongside the Executive Director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, Paul Dillane, and the journalist Patrick Strudwick.

Mr Hughes will also hear from Ghada Rashid, a former asylum seeker who has gone through the system. 

The debate is taking place on Tuesday 2 September at the Southwark Playhouse, directly after the production of a new play.

Eye of a Needle, by Chris MacDonald, tells the story of how a Ugandan gay rights activist battles to stay in Britain.

Writer Chris MacDonald said: “Eye of a Needle was inspired by the real case of Brenda Namigadde. In 2011 she was on the verge of being sent back to Uganda due to not having enough ‘physical evidence’ of her sexuality to prove she was in danger.

“I was provoked by this catch-22 like predicament. How do you spend your life hiding who you are and then provide evidence to prove it? I deeper I dug, the crueller and more ridiculous the system appeared.”

In July, several MPs signed an Early Day Motion calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to protect asylum seekers fleeing homophobic persecution in Uganda and Nigeria.

In the same month, the High Court ruled that fast track detention, a system used to process the vast majority of LGBT asylum cases, was “unlawful”.

The Home Office has always maintained that it does not deport LGBT asylum seekers – despite multiple cases reported by PinkNews.

For listings of Eye of a Needle click here