The UK government must end detainment of LGBTI asylum seekers, activists say.
LGBTI people fleeing death threats should not be detained indefinitely, according to the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights have called to put a time limit on immigration detention.
Many asylum seekers are detained indefinitely.
MPs from across political parties have agreed the Home Office’s immigration detention powers should be pared back.
The committee has also called for an introduction of a 28-day time limit on detainment.
But for LGBTI rights activists, they say even this is too much.
UK government must end detainment of all LGBTI asylum seekers
‘We welcome the recommendation from the Joint Committee on Human Rights to put a time limit on immigration detention,’ Leila Zadeh, Executive Director of UKLGIG, said.
‘The UK is the only country in Europe that does not impose a time limit.
‘A time limit of 28 days is urgently needed to reduce the distress and long-term mental health impact caused by such detention.
‘We also urge the government to end completely the detention of LGBTQI+ people.
‘Detention of LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum is wholly inappropriate. They run a significant risk of being locked up among other people who may display the same discriminatory attitudes and hostility from which they have fled.
‘They also frequently struggle to be granted refugee status if they have to make their asylum applications from inside a detention center.
‘The government should give greater consideration to alternatives to detention that allow LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum to remain in the community while their claims are processed’.
Asylum seekers treated worse than criminals
Harriet Harman, chair of the committee, noted asylum seekers are treated worse than criminals.
She said: ‘If the police want to continue to detain a person beyond 36 hours, they have to bring that person before a court, which is, of course, totally independent of Government.
‘But if the Home Office suspects a person of being in breach of our immigration laws, there is a complete absence of independence in the decision making.
‘A civil servant — nameless, faceless and behind closed doors — just ticks a box to detain them.
‘The first that person will know about it is when someone bangs on their door in the early hours of the morning to bundle them into an immigration enforcement van and take them to a detention centre.”
With no independence in decision-making, mistakes are ‘inevitable’, the Labour MP said.
Rainbow Rush scandal
The UK is rejecting more gay and bisexual asylum claims than ever before.
The grant rate for people claiming asylum on sexual orientation has fallen from 39% in 2015 to 22% in 2017.
It is harder to claim based on sexual orientation compared to all other asylum claims. The grant rate for LGBT asylum claims is 29%, compared to 36%.
It is also harder to appeal.
The success rate at appeal was lower for LGB-related claims (34%) compared to all claims at (37%).