LGBT asylum review set to be published in Parliament

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A review into LGBT asylum policy by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, Sir John Vine, is due to be published in Parliament on Thursday.

Home Secretary Theresa May ordered the review in March, following a leaked report revealing that LGBT asylum seekers continue to face degrading “interrogations” about their sex lives by Home Office staff.

Last year, the Home Affairs Select Committee brought to light cases where people were forced to hand over pornographic video evidence of them engaging in same-sex sexual activity.

In June, Conservative minister Baroness Susan Williams admitted that the UK Government did not know how many asylum claims were made on the basis of sexual orientation.

Earlier this summer, the High Court ruled that fast track detention, a system used to process the vast majority of cases, was “unlawful”.

Speaking to PinkNews last month, Lib Dem Justice Minister Simon Hughes said greater improvements were needed when it came to the decision-making process.

He also questioned the length of time claimants were held in detention for and suggested banning them from work during the process was counterproductive.

The Justice Minister stressed the importance of waiting for the publication of a review into LGBT asylum policy by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, Sir John Vine.

Implementing its findings would be the task of a government formed after the 2015 general election, Mr Hughes said.

Paul Dillane, executive director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), told PinkNews that progress has been made in improving the way LGBT asylum cases are handled, but the system is still “extremely unfair”.

UKLGIG’s Missing the Mark report of September 2013 showed 47 lesbians and gay men were granted asylum last year. In 2008 the figure was 18.

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