Over 200 human rights organisations call on UK government to respect LGBTQ+ and women’s lives

In response to recent comments made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, 246 human rights groups have banded together to demand that the UK government respect the lives of women and LGBTQ+ people.

A joint letter produced by LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, and signed by organisations like Amnesty, Oxfam, Refugee Council, Rainbow Migration, and End Violence Against Women Coalition, calls on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to protecting LGBTQ+ people and women worldwide.

The letter also rejects Suella Braverman’s suggestion that LGBTQ+ people and women are misusing their identities to claim asylum in the UK.

Suella Braverman pictured leaving a weekly Cabinet meeting.
The letter followed Braverman’s controversial comments about LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. (Getty)

“We note that your Government’s own statistics suggest that only 2% of all asylum claims made in the UK in 2022 included sexual orientation as a reason for seeking protection,” it reads.

“We regret that the Home Secretary intentionally singled out this small minority of people for reasons that have nothing to do with genuine concern or respect for international law, refugees, or their protection.”

It concludes: “We as a coalition of human rights organisations working with refugees and people seeking asylum, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ people, ask that you as Prime Minister stand with the leaders of the vast majority of the UN Member States and reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as its commitments to the protection of the rights of LGBTQ+ people and women around the world.

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“Above all, we need compassion and support from our political leaders and a clear affirmation that they will abide by international law and respect the lives of all who face persecution and are entitled to

Explaining the motivation behind the letter, Robbie de Santos of Stonewall commented: “We all deserve a government with the compassion and will to protect the most vulnerable in society.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak has recently contributed to a pile-on of anti-LGBTQ+ statements from the Tory Party. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

“Not only is the incumbent UK Government failing LGBTQ+ people domestically, with inaction on rising hate crime, but they are also failing the international community by indicating their disdain for international law – in the process bringing great shame on party and country.”

Meanwhile, Leila Zadeh, the CEO of Rainbow Migration, noted that her organisation hears stories every day from LGBTQ+ people who have faced life-threatening situations at home and have been forced to flee.

“For example, Olu, a lesbian from Nigeria had to run for her life when her husband found out she was a lesbian and nearly killed her, or Adams was violently attacked in the street on several occasions by members of his community in Ghana because he was bisexual,” she wrote.

“We all want to live somewhere where we can be safe and live fulfilling lives and most of us welcome people who are fleeing for their lives. We ask that the PM gets in line with public sentiment and commits to the protection of the rights of LGBTQ+ people seeking safety in the UK.” 

This coalition letter to ask for the prime minister’s support of LGBTQ+ people comes shortly after Rishi Sunak added to the recent anti-LGBTQ+ political pile-on, sharing transphobic views at the Conservative Party Conference.

The Conservative Party leader was met with thunderous applause when he told Tory MPs: “A man is a man, and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.”

His comments were widely reviled by members of the public, who couldn’t believe that such hateful comments were coming straight from the mouth of the PM – despite Sunak’s troubling history of anti-trans comments.