Report raises concerns about processing of LGB asylum claims

Rainbow Flag

People who have been persecuted because of their sexual orientation continue to face intrusive and inappropriate questioning by the Home Office, a new investigation by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has revealed.

Outgoing Chief Inspector John Vine's report raises serious concerns about the processing of LGB asylum claims. Despite comprehensive training and guidance on sexual orientation for decision makers, the Chief Inspector found repeated instances of 'unsatisfactory' practice.

In more than 10 per cent of cases investigated by the Chief Inspector, inappropriate and degrading questions were put to people seeking protection from  persecution based on sexual orientation. These questions were condemned by the report for 'querying the validity of same-sex relationships' and for being 'likely to elicit sexually explicit responses'.

Gary Christie, Head of Policy at Scottish Refugee Council said: "The Chief Inspector's report highlights the need for greater dignity and respect within the asylum system. LGB claims are inherently complex and while we welcome the comprehensive Home Office guidance around sexual orientation, the report highlights the need for this guidance to be consistently and rigorously applied.

"The report also raises serious concerns about training and practice within the detained fast track system, an entirely inappropriate setting for complex claims around sexuality to be decided.

"Along with the need for greater respect and dignity, there is an urgent need for improved country of origin information on the experiences of LGB men and women, a need to better monitor cases on grounds of sexual orientation and improved decision-making within the Home Office in these cases."

Read our information leaflet for LGBTI people seeking asylum in the UK.