Gay asylum seekers ‘could be sent home’ if homosexuality becomes legal

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

LGBT asylum seekers who were forced to flee for their lives may be sent back to their home countries, if homosexuality is decriminalised.

People from across the world have attempted to seek asylum in the UK on the grounds of sexuality, often after fleeing vigilante violence and death threats in their home countries.

However, Home Secretary Theresa May signalled changes to the asylum system in her speech to the Conservative Party conference – revealing that under a new ‘safe return’ system, people granted asylum may be ordered to leave if circumstances have changed.

She said: “I want us to work to reduce the asylum claims made in Britain, and as we do so increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions.

“So we’ll introduce strengthened ‘safe return reviews’ – so when a refugee’s temporary stay of protection in the UK comes to an end, or if there is a clear improvement in the conditions of their own country, we will review their need for protection.

“If their reason for asylum no longer stands and it is now safe for them to return, we will seek to return them to their home country rather than offer settlement here in Britain.”

Conservative sources told the Evening Standard that the policy could apply to “people who fled wars that have finished, or people who fled intolerance towards homosexuality but whose home countries have since passed equality laws”.

The Home Secretary ordered a review of the way that LGBT cases are handled last year and accepted the case for reforms – but campaign groups say little has changed and the system is still “extremely unfair”.

Home Office minister Lord Bates insisted recently: “The Home Office has been actively working to implement the recommendations. An updated asylum instruction considering sexual identity issues in the asylum claim has been issued.

“Approved training for staff is under development. These will ensure the sensitive and effective exploration of asylum claims based on sexuality.

“The Home Office is conducting ‘second pair of eyes’ checks on all such claims to ensure the consistent recording of cases and more accurate data.”