Australian government rejects safeguards for gay asylum seekers

The Australian government has rejected calls to provide guarantees that gay asylum seekers will not be sent back to countries where they face the death penalty.

MPs from the opposition Labor Party have called on the government to introduce safeguards for LGBT people in the asylum system, many of whom have been forced to flee countries where they face torture, violence, persecution or death.

However the government claims that changes to make the system less hostile towards LGBT people would lead to a risk of abuse.

According to Daily Mail Australia, a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said: “Offering blanket protection to a group of individuals has the potential to encourage large numbers of un-meritorious applications from those who would seek to abuse the protection program to extend their stay in Australia.

“This would risk reducing public confidence in Australia’s humanitarian program and redirect resources from those applicants truly in need of protection.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (Stefan Postles/Getty)

The claim comes amid debate over a resolution submitted to the Australian Labor Party’s national conference.

If passed, the policy would automatically safeguard the rights of LGBT+ asylum seekers who come from countries that outlaw homosexuality- rather than forcing them to justify their fears of persecution.

The Department of Home Affairs is headed up by Peter Dutton, a strong opponent of LGBT rights.

Australia’s Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre (Scott Fisher/Getty)

Dutton attracted controversy during the country’s 2017 vote on equal marriage, when he criticised rapper Macklemore for performing gay anthem ‘Same Love’ at a National Rugby League final.

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