The groups within the Liberal Democrats representing Christians, LGBT+ people, immigrants, and those seeking asylum, have put out the following statement:
Following reports that Home Office officials have been accusing asylum-seekers who are both Christian and LGBT+ of “contradiction”,(see https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/09/20/home-office-asylum-lgbt-religion-study-metropolitan-community-church-london/ )
we condemn this ignorance and insensitivity of the Home Office.
We also note that the Home Office’s “culture of disbelief” has impacted both Christian people and LGBT+ people in the past — and that this in turn is just a small part of the injustices that have led the Liberal Democrats to call for the Home Office to be stripped of all immigration and asylum responsibility.
Christine Jardine has spoken out here:
The UK has a long and proud record of providing sanctuary to refugees, but the Home Office’s treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers is appalling.
Earlier this month, Liberal Democrats revealed that over the last three years the Home Office has refused over 3,100 asylum claims on the basis of sexuality, even though the people making them were from countries where consensual same-sex acts are criminalised.
Now, a report on LGBT African asylum seekers has found some being accused of “contradiction” by Home Office interviewers, because they are LGBT and Christian. One person even reported being asked, “How can you be lesbian and Christian?”
Imagine being forced to leave your home and making it to the UK, only to be told by Home Office officials that your very identity is a “contradiction”. Imagine having your religion used against you, to discredit your claim to asylum.
That is the culture of disbelief that both LGBT+ people and Christian converts face in the Home Office. Officials too often deny them asylum without any evidence; they simply assume that they are lying about who they are.
This Conservative Government is letting down every LGBT+ person and every individual in this country who cares about human rights.
The UK should be leading the campaign across the world against homophobia and transphobia. Instead, we have a Government that is turning its back and looking the other way.
Liberal Democrats demand better for LGBT+ people wherever they live.
We will establish a new, dedicated unit to handle asylum claims, free of political interference and without the Home Office’s culture of disbelief.
Liberal Democrats will fix our asylum system so that the UK provides sanctuary to those who need it.