After a very long wait the Home Office have released some provisional figures revealing the fate of gay assylum seekers. The HO describe the figures as “experimental” whatever that means.
In the last two years a total of 3,535 asylum applications were made by people fleeing persecution at least partly based on their sexual orientation. That is around 6 percent of all asylum claims. More than two-thirds of these were rejected.
Of cases with a clear resolution, 2,379 claims were rejected, and just 838 approved.
The Home Office accepted just 63 gay asylum seekers from Nigeria, where gay people can face extreme violence or decades in jail. 268 gay Nigerians were turned away.
A gay man who is HIV-positive is facing deportation from the UK after his claim for asylum was rejected, despite homosexuality being punishable by up to three years in jail in Morocco.
Abderrahim sought asylum in May after being the subject of verbal abuse and death threats because of his sexual orientation. The Home Office has rejected his application and his appeal was dismissed by a first-tier tribunal judge earlier this month, reports the Guardian.
The Home Office accepted Abderrahim as being gay, but its refusal letter said that his “claimed treatment does not amount to persecution”.
The United Nations reports on the Ukraine, where they found that gay men are fleeing for their lives.
When Viktor (not his real name), a 27-year-old gay man, opened his door to police one morning, he knew his secret was out.
His claims of having a girlfriend met with scorn – one of his neighbours had told them everything. Unless Viktor could present the woman within 24 hours or pay a bribe he could not afford, he would be arrested.
Panicked, he packed a bag. By the evening, he was gone.
Many LGBTI people face stigma, harassment and violent attacks. In some cases, home has become such a terrifying place that the only option is to leave.
“It is not easy to be LGBTI in the East,” says a shelter director, Olena Shevchenko. “They can beat you, they can rape you. It’s not possible to be open, because you’re never sure what will happen next. You need to lead a hidden life.”
To Your Activist what is happening to gay men in parts of the world is little more than Ethnic Cleansing.
As of this week, 22 people – about a third of those who were being sheltered in Russian safe houses – are now in Toronto and other Canadian cities. The Canadian government has been helping gay Chechen men from Russia to find assylum in Canada.
The evacuations fall outside the conventions of international law and could further impair already tense relations between Russia and Canada.
“Canada accepted a large number of people who are in great danger, and that is wonderful,” said Tanya Lokshina, Russian program director for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization, in a telephone interview. “The Canadian government deserves much praise for showing such openness and goodwill to provide sanctuary for these people. They did the right thing.”
Aderonke Apata who was told by a judge that she was faking her sexuality has won a 13-year battle to be granted asylum in the UK.
Ms Apata feared being killed or imprisoned if she returned home, but her application for asylum was rejected for a second time in 2015 after the judge said he did not believe she was a lesbian.
In an act of desperation, she sent a private video to the judge as evidence of her sexuality.
The “Asylum for Aderonke” Facebook page has now been updated to say her application had been successful and “she has been granted refugee status”.
Ms Apata has been a prominent gay rights activist, receiving a nomination for an LGBT Role Model Award as well as an Attitude Pride Award for her activism.
Abbey Kyeyune | 17056
Abbey Kyeyune, a gay Ugandan-born asylum seeker currently living in Manchester, is facing deportation to his place of birth, where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Mr Kyeyune says Home Office officials decided he had failed to sufficiently “prove” his sexuality.
He fled Uganda after his family members discovered that he was having a relationship with another man, and became physically violent towards him. Ugandan authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. He also discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested and detained because of his sexuality.
Updated guidance on LGBT asylum claims was recently published by the Home Office, which forbids “detailed questioning in regard to sexual practices” and requests for “sexually explicit evidence”.
However, Mr Kyeyune’s Home Office interview occurred before this new guidance was in place.
Gay Afghans can be deported to their home country, where homosexuality is illegal and “wholly taboo” and they must pretend to be straight, under new British government guidelines for handling asylum applications which have been denounced by human rights groups.
The guidance puts the Home Office at odds with United Nations guidelines on refugees, which specify that LGBT people should not be required to change or conceal their identity to avoid persecution.
The Home Office declined to comment directly on the new guidelines, saying only that each claim is considered on its individual merits, and in accordance with the UK’s international obligations. “Where someone is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in their country of origin because of their sexuality or gender identity, refuge will be granted,” a spokesperson said.