IDAHOBIT: Feeling free and safe from harm

LGBTQI+ people that seek safety in the UK have had to flee violence and persecution in their countries of origin.

Sometimes they have fled countries where same-sex relations are against the law and punishable with prison sentences. Others have fled places where homosexuality is even punishable by death. And then there are LGBTQI+ people, with trans people at highest risk, who face a lack of state protection that often exposes them to hate crimes.

“I spent approximately 20 years of my life dealing with the prejudices, discrimination and transphobia, resulting from the lack of laws that would protect our lives and our human rights”.

Sasha, from Guatemala

 

Once they get here, they expect to feel safe and to have a chance to rebuild their lives free from violence and from homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia. However, instead of that, most of them encounter a long and often cruel asylum process in which their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is called into question. It also sends them to temporary accommodation and detention centres where they can face further abuse and isolation. And, depending on the route they took to flee violence, they soon might end up being sent 4,000 miles away to a place where they have no connections.

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) we need to come together to raise awareness of the violence and discrimination that LGBTQI+ people face around the world and the challenges that those seeking asylum face here in the UK.

Help us remind this government that we need a compassionate asylum system that allows LGBTQI+ people to overcome the traumatic experiences they’ve been through and finally feel free and safe from harm here.

You can do so by sharing the following post on Twitter and tagging Boris Johnson and Priti Patel (or share the blog with friends and colleagues!):

Sending LGBTQI+ people to Rwanda is not safe. If you care about the LGBTQI+ community, on #IDAHOBIT2022 I ask you, @BorisJohnson @pritipatel, to ditch this deal with Rwanda immediately and to treat LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in the UK with compassion and dignity. 

“Education and information are the greatest weapons we have to fight and eradicate ignorance, prejudice, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and absences of laws that are ending with the lives of human beings who only want to live in total freedom and with their own identity.”

Sasha, from Guatemala


Government expected to send LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum to Rwanda despite the evidence it has found of abuse

This government has now confirmed it will send LGBTQI+ people who come to the UK seeking safety to Rwanda to process their asylum claims, despite the evidence it has found of ill treatment.

In the Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) for the policy published last night, the government accepts that trans women can face torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, yet merely says that their relocation to Rwanda must be considered on a case by case basis.

In relation to sexual orientation, the EIA states that “investigations point to ill treatment being more than one off, but it does not appear to be systemic” and mentions that it will monitor the abuse of LGBTQI+ people in order to manage the risk.

Rainbow Migration’s Legal and Policy Director, Sonia Lenegan, stated that “the EIA accepts that LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda are subject to abuse, yet the government intends to send them there regardless”, and added that “this government should clarify as a matter of urgency the precise level of mistreatment of LGBTQI+ people that they find to be acceptable”.

 

Arrest, prosecution and detention of LGBTQI+ people

In the document setting out the country information on general human rights, there are pages of examples of the arrest, prosecution and detention of LGBTQI+ people. This evidence is dismissed on the basis of an interview with an organisation that by its own admission “doesn’t know about the difference in treatment of different LGBT+ groups” and denies the mistreatment and harassment of LGBTQI+ people, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

“It is notable that while other organisations that were interviewed by the UK government are named in the published interview notes, the “representatives of the LGBT+ community” that met with the Home Office on 5 April 2022 are not named, presumably for their own safety”, said Sonia Lenegan.

 

No evidence of deterrence

The EIA also states that they “do not consider relocation to Rwanda to be a penalty”, to which Sonia Lenegan said, “it is difficult to understand how the government squares that position with their assertion that the policy will act as a disincentive to small boat crossings, as this government has made clear is its intention”.

Despite the government pointing to Australia in the EIA as evidence that the policy will deter people arriving in the UK in small boats, the evidence relied on has been debunked several times.

 

Sending LGBTQI+ people into what is known to be a dangerous situation, with the promise only to “monitor” whether or not they are abused, is completely insufficient. The evidence published by this government makes it clearer than ever that it is unsafe to send LGBTQI+ people to Rwanda.

We are asking Priti Patel and Boris Johnson to ditch this deal with Rwanda immediately and to treat LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in the UK with compassion and dignity.


rainbow flag and black hands

Don't send LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum to Rwanda

Rwanda is a dangerous place to be LGBTQI+, but the UK government plans to send people seeking asylum there.

The government has announced that it intends to send people seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed there. This is extremely concerning for LGBTQI+ people seeking safety, as Rwanda is a dangerous place to be LGBTQI+.

Although same sex relations are not outlawed, there are no specific laws protecting LGBTQI+ people from discrimination and abuse. Rights like same-sex marriage or adoption and gender recognition for trans people do not exist. And there is widespread evidence of LGBTQI+ people being harassed, detained and beaten by security officials.

The UK Foreign Office’s own advice for tourists to Rwanda warns of “discrimination and abuse, including from local authorities”. And the situation for LGBTQI+ people there is so dire that Rainbow Migration has supported LGBTQI+ people from Rwanda seeking asylum here.

People who arrive in the UK seeking asylum have fled persecution or conflict, and sending them 4,000 miles away to a place where they have no connections will only cause them further suffering.

Sign the petition now to call on Priti Patel and Boris Johnson to abandon this shameful policy before it’s too late and to instead create a compassionate, caring asylum system.

rainbow flag and black hands

Open letter about plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda

Dear Prime Minister and Home Secretary,

As people with lived experience of the asylum system, refugee and migrants’ rights, anti-trafficking, human rights and civil liberties, access to justice, children’s rights, violence against women and girls’ (VAWG), arts and culture, international development, racial justice, criminal justice reform, democracy, data privacy and technology rights, disability rights, religious and faith, environment justice, and LGBTQ+ rights organisations and groups, we resolutely oppose the Government’s announcement regarding its plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda. This plan is fundamentally out of step with widespread public support for refugees in the UK. We demand that you scrap this plan, abandon the Nationality and Borders Bill, cease plans to overhaul the Human Rights Act and instead create humane and effective solutions for the protection of refugees.

Sending people seeking asylum to Rwanda will cause immense suffering, with the most vulnerable people bearing the brunt. This is a shamefully cruel way to treat people who have come to the UK to seek protection, fleeing persecution or conflict. The UK already accepts proportionately fewer refugees than many other countries. The relatively small numbers of people who seek asylum in the UK do so because they have some connection here – they may have family here, connections to a diasporic community, or English language skills. Many people come from countries that are connected to the UK because of war, invasion or colonisation. To send people seeking asylum to Rwanda is cruel and immoral, and is a breach of the Refugee Convention.

The proposals are modeled on the offshore processing policy operated by the Australian government in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, in which resettlement was essentially impossible and which was internationally condemned for resulting in the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of refugees.

Rwanda has a poor record on human rights. Its government persecutes independent journalists and opposition parties, and carries out threats and assassinations on people who have fled the country. Only last year at the UN, the UK government itself demanded “investigations into alleged killings, disappearances and torture”. The UK government itself warned about Rwanda’s restrictions on media freedom and civil society as recently as last year. Further, the situation for LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda is so dangerous that people have fled and applied for asylum in the UK. In 2021, the UK granted asylum to four Rwandan refugees – three men and one woman – so it is contradictory to claim that it is safe to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda.

This plan will result in more, not fewer, dangerous journeys – leaving more people at risk of being trafficked. Rwanda was previously involved in receiving people removed from Israel under a “voluntary departure” scheme between 2014 and 2017. Around 4,000 people were deported under that scheme to Rwanda and Uganda and almost all are thought to have left the country almost immediately, many attempting onward travel to Europe. Testimonies collected by the International Refugee Rights Initiative found that following their arrival in Rwanda from Israel, “people were being smuggled out of the country by land to Kampala within days.” Moreover, we note the Government’s statement (in its Equality Impact Assessment for the Nationality and Borders Bill) that in relation to their plans to use deterrence to encourage people to claim asylum elsewhere, that “evidence supporting the effectiveness of this approach is limited”. Where people remain undocumented in the UK without making an asylum claim due to their fear of deportation, they will remain vulnerable to labour exploitation. This plays directly into the hands of exploiters who use threats of deportation as a means to deter their victims from coming forward to authorities.

The cost of this plan will be astronomical. Australia’s offshore detention system cost more than $1 billion per year to detain at most 3,127 people. The UK government has promised £120 million to Rwanda for a “trial”. This would be on top of the costs of detention, transportation, escorting and legal and administrative costs. It is ludicrous that such vast sums are being spent on this plan at the same time the government has refused to help people hit by the cost of living crisis. Moreover, the carbon footprint of hundreds of journeys to a country 4000 miles away will be immense and cannot be justified at this critical moment in the climate crisis.

The staggering lack of detail in these plans demonstrates to us how ill-thought through the policy is in terms of its implications and impacts on people, families and lives. For instance:

  •  Will people be forced onto planes going to Rwanda if they do not want to go?
  • How will the government distinguish between those deserving residency in the UK and those in Rwanda? Will there be a legal procedure in the UK prior to any removal action being taken?
  • Will vulnerable people, including torture survivors, survivors of trafficking, children, and people with serious mental health problems, be sent to Rwanda? Will people who are coming to the UK because they have family members here, be sent to Rwanda?
  • Is it possible to claim asylum in Rwanda on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds – i.e. does Rwanda recognise LGBTQI+ people as being members of a particular social group under the Refugee Convention? If yes, how many cases on these grounds do they have per year and what is the grant rate?
  • How will the government guarantee access to legal advice and representation and access to a court of law?
  • Will there be any nationalities or categories of people that are excluded from being sent to Rwanda?
  • Can the government confirm that people on arrival would be provided with means to support themselves, accommodation, food and clothing?
  • Does the government’s repeated reference to ‘single men’ include those who have families that are still abroad and were hoping to be reunited under family reunion rules?
  • What is the estimated cost per person of the plan to send people to Rwanda?
  • What processes will be in place to identify and support victims of trafficking deported to Rwanda?The UK Government would, under law, remain responsible for protecting the people it sends to Rwanda from human rights abuses, including physical and sexual assault, persecution or cruel, inhumane or degrading conditions and treatment.Ultimately, these plans are fundamentally out of step with public attitudes towards refugees. While the Home Office has floundered in its response to Ukrainians and Afghans seeking safety in the UK, the general public has indicated that it welcomes refugees.The ultimate victims will be the most vulnerable in our society, who, in attempting to rebuild their lives after experiencing persecution, will be put at risk of experiencing further human rights abuses and taking their own lives. This will have a disproportionate impact on people from the Global South, who make up the majority of people arriving in the UK to claim asylum.This plan simply cannot pass – we urge you to scrap these plans and the Nationality and Borders Bill, which has not yet passed and has received strong opposition in the House of Lords. We also oppose the proposed overhaul of the Human Rights Act.Signed (we will send the letter on 14 April but keep updating this on a rolling basis)
    Bail for Immigration Detainees
    Liberty
    The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
    Rainbow Migration
    Haringey Migrant Support Centre
    Govan Community Project
    Focus on Labour Exploitation
    Good Chance Theatre
    Loraine Masiya Mponela, CARAG
    Race Equality Foundation
    Big Leaf Foundation
    Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)
    Julia Rampen, Media Director, IMIX
    West London Welcome
    The Pickwell Foundation
    Samphire
    Waging Peace
    Routes
    William Gomes, Director, The William Gomes Podcast The William Gomes Podcast
    Refugee Youth Service
    Micro Rainbow
    The Refugee Buddy Project
    forRefugees
    Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group
    Room to Heal
    VITA
    Ice and Fire Theatre
    Asylum Support Appeals Project
    Latin American Women’s Rights Service
    Right to Remain
    Voices in Exile
    Our World Too
    Stonewall
    Taskforce on Victims of Trafficking in Immigration Detention
    Asylum Welcome
    Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees
    Young Roots
    Praxis
    Streets Kitchen
    Kalayaan
    Our Second Home
    Migrants’ Rights Network
    Jesuit Refugee Service UK
    Medical Justice
    Law Centres Network
    Labour Exploitation Advisory Group
    Jesuit Refugee Service
    Herts for Refugees
    Boaz Trust
    Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
    Unlock Democracy
    HOPE not hate
    Refugee Compassion
    Best for Britain
    Souad Talsi MBE, Founder of Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre
    Merseyside Solidarity Knows No Borders
    Asian Women’s Resource Centre
    Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation-MEWSO
    Refugee Action
    Migrant Voice
    Amna
    Committee on the Administration of Justice
    RAS Voice ( Refugee and Asylum Seeker Voice)
    After Exploitation
    Polish Migrants Organise for Change (POMOC)
    Leicester City of Sanctuary
    Sussex Aid For Refugees
    Detention Action
    Helen Bamber Foundation
    End Violence Against Women Coalition
    Freedom United
    Southall Black Sisters
    René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights
    Unseen
    René Cassin
    Refugee Aid Network
    Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organisation (IRMO)
    African Rainbow Family
    Action Foundation
    Manchester Migrant Solidarity
    Children England
    People’s History Museum
    Bond
    Allies for Justice
    National AIDS Trust
    New Weather Institute
    Legal Aid Practitioners Group
    Sophie Hayes Foundation
    Another Europe is Possible
    City of Sanctuary UK
    Open Rights Group
    Stand Up To Racism
    Race Equality First
    UK Must Act
    Kent Refugee Action Network
    Sussex Aid For Refugees
    Childrens Law Centre
    Article 39
    Asylum Aid
    Asylum Matters
    Refugee Legal Support
    JustRight Scotland
    Asylum Matters
    Fair Vote UK
    Stand For All
    Hope for Justice
    Trinity Safe Space
    Quakers in Britain
    Statewatch
    Veecca for Fresh Grassroots Rainbow community
    350.org
    MERSEYSIDE REFUGEE SUPPORT NETWORK AND LIVERPOOL CITY OF SANCTUARY GROUP
    Mona Adam for Shaman PR
    Student Action for Refugees
    Jubilee Debt Campaign
    Teeslankas
    Foxglove Legal
    Together100 and Chorleywood4refugees
    Street Talk
    Birmingham City of Sanctuary
    Care4Calais Liverpool
    Unjust
    Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
    Street Talk
    RefuAid
    Advice NI
    RefuAid
    The Snowdrop Project
    BCHA (Bournemouth Churches Housing Association)
    ECPAT UK
    Share Knowsley
    Scottish Refugee Council
    Women for Refugee Women
    St Vincent de Paul RC Church Justice & Peace group
    Humanists UK
    Methodist Asylum Project, Middlesbrough
    Safe Passage International
    Lifeline Options CIC
    Disability Rights UK
    Birmingham Schools of Sanctuary
    Red Pepper magazine
    Freedom from Torture
    Solidarity with Refugees
    Greenpeace UK
    Mid Wales Refugee Action
    Channel Rescue
    Kanlungan Filipino Consortium
    Citizens of the World Choir
    Big Brother Watch
    FODI (Sunderland)
    Action for Refugees in Lewisham
    Migrant Help
    One Strong Voice
    Medact
    One September
    Medaille Trust
    Reading Refugee Support Group
    Reading City of Sanctuary
    St Agnes & St Aidan Parish
    The Equality Trust
    Shropshire Supports Refugees
    INQUEST
    Seraphus
    No To Hassockfield (Derwentside IRC)
    REACHE Northwest
    Volunteer
    People Not Borders
    Runnymede Trust
    BARAC UK
    BARAC UK
    JRAN
    Human Rights Consortium Scotland
    Nijjormanush
    Migration Justice Project, Law Centre NI
    Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network
    Cribs International
    Farnham Help for Refugees in the UK and Abroad
    Asylum link Merseyside
    SOLA ARTS
    Church and Peace
    Refugees Welcome Crawley
    Foundation ofJewish heritage and One Vision
    Social Workers Without Borders
    Defend Our NHS
    Christian Brothers
    Migrant English Project Brighton
    Farnham Help for Refugees in the UK and Abroad
    St Albans for Refugees
    Humanity Aid
    Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity
    St Dunstan’s Catholic Primary School
    Bekah Lucking
    Humans for Rights Network
    Voices in exile, brighton, trustee
    Refugees Welcome Crawley
    Women in Travel cic
    Wansworth welcomes refugees
    Brighton and Hove Freedom from Torture Supporters’ Group
    IKWRO-Women’s Righrs Organisation
    Farnham Help for Refugees in the UK and Abroad
    Savera UK
    Kalsi Solicitors
    Ekklesia
    Bristol Refugee Rights

Government proposals to offshore asylum claims to Rwanda will be particularly harmful to LGBTQI+ people

Government proposals to offshore asylum claims to Rwanda will be particularly harmful to LGBTQI+ people

Proposals to offshore asylum claims to Rwanda will be harmful to LGBTQI+ people

The government is expected to announce on Thursday that they intend to send people who are seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda and have their asylum claims processed there. A similar agreement with Israel resulted in most people who were transferred to Rwanda leaving, some subsequently making the dangerous journey to Europe. During that journey, people were trafficked and sold 

Last year, when Denmark passed a law providing for the offshore processing of asylum claims, outside the European Union, this was condemned by the African Union as “responsibility and burden shifting”. Despite this, this government has sought to introduce similar provisions in the Nationality and Border Bill.  

The agreement means that LGBTQI+ people who have fled life-threatening situations in their home countries, and sought safety and protection from the UK, will instead be sent to a country where it is not safe for LGBTQI+ people to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

There is widespread evidence of ill-treatment and abuse faced by LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda. For instance, Human Rights Watch reported last year that:  

Rwandan authorities rounded up and arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people, sex workers, street children, and others in the months before a planned June 2021 high-profile international conference.”  

People interviewed who identified as gay or transgender said that security officials accused them of “not representing Rwandan values.” They said that other detainees beat them because of their clothes and identity. Three other detainees, who were held in the “delinquents’” room at Gikondo, confirmed that fellow detainees and guards more frequently and violently beat people they knew were gay or transgender than others.”  

The situation for LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda is so poor that it is a source country for people seeking asylum in the UK based on their sexual orientation, albeit in low numbers, and Rainbow Migration has previously provided support to LGBTQI+ people from Rwanda. 

Rainbow Migration has been warning for months of the risk that the Nationality and Borders Bill creates for LGBTQI+ people in particular. In relation to offshoring, the government has said that even where they consider a country to be safe, they will take specific vulnerabilities into consideration. In theory, this could act as a safeguard against LGBTQI+ people being placed into an offshoring process, however a person’s sexual orientation is already frequently and incorrectly disputed, and the Nationality and Borders Bill will make it even more difficult for a person to “prove” that they are, for example, gay.  

In this context, and from our experience, we expect to see that where LGBTQI+ people do try to resist their removal to Rwanda, this government is likely to dispute that they are LGBTQI+ and will remove them anyway. We do not consider that there are adequate safeguards that can be put in place to prevent this, and we have not heard any proposals on how this government will avoid the harm that the agreement will cause to LGBTQI+ people. These proposals are actively harmful and an abdication of the UK’s responsibilities under the Refugee Convention, and they should be abandoned.  

Write to your MP.

Government proposals to offshore asylum claims to Rwanda will be particularly harmful to LGBTQI+ people

Rwanda is not safe for LGBTQI+ people

The government has announced that they intend to send people who are seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda and have their asylum claims processed there. This will include LGBTQI+ people who have fled life-threatening situations in their home countries.  

We find it extremely concerning as there is widespread evidence of ill-treatment and abuse faced by LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda. For instance, Human Rights Watch reported last year that:  

Rwandan authorities rounded up and arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people, sex workers, street children, and others in the months before a planned June 2021 high-profile international conference.” 

People interviewed who identified as gay or transgender said that security officials accused them of “not representing Rwandan values.” They said that other detainees beat them because of their clothes and identity. Three other detainees, who were held in the “delinquents’” room at Gikondo, confirmed that fellow detainees and guards more frequently and violently beat people they knew were gay or transgender than others.” 

Nizeyimana Seleman, Executive Director of Hope And Care Organization, a Rwandan group that works to increase educational opportunities and health services to LGBTQ youth and sex workers, is quoted as saying that: “Homosexuality is not criminalized in Rwanda, but many LGBTI people keep their sexuality and gender identity secret in an attempt to avoid rejection, discrimination and abuse, which in the long run inevitably denies them their basic human rights. 

The situation for LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda is so poor that it is a source country for people seeking asylum in the UK based on their sexual orientation, albeit in low numbers, and we have previously provided support to LGBTQI+ people from Rwanda.

The worrying reports come after last week, the House of Lords confronted MPs for a second time and amended the Nationality and Borders Bill again. On offshore processing, Lords’ amendments made it a requirement for the government to name the country where they plan to send people seeking asylum as well as to reveal the cost of the plans, and to obtain approval from Parliament before proceeding.  

These amendments won’t solve all the issues with the Bill, but they will certainly make this government think twice before sending LGBTQI+ people to remote offshore asylum camps.  

It is therefore essential that we keep the pressure on MPs until the 20 of April, when the Nationality and Borders Bill returns to the House of Commons 

We are asking MPs to use their vote to protect LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, and to support the Lords amendments on offshore processing . Will you help by writing to your MP?  

You can find your MP and their email address on the parliament website and below is a template email you could use. Make sure that you include your full name and address at the bottom of the email to show you are a constituent – otherwise your MP is unlikely to respond. 

Dear {MP NAME},   

As one of your constituents, I am writing to you today because I am concerned about the effects that the Nationality and Borders Bill will have on LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in the UK.  

I understand that the government is proposing to send people who come to the UK seeking safety from persecution to Rwanda to process their asylum claims offshore. For LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, this will be a disastrous policy – there is widespread evidence from Human Rights Watch and others that LGBTQI+ people face discrimination and abuse in Rwanda and may have to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. We cannot allow people who have fled persecution because they are LGBTQI+ to be sent offshore and put in further peril.  

I am asking you to help stop this from happening by supporting Lords amendments 53B, 53C and 53D when the Bill returns to the House of Commons on the 20 of April 2022. 

Please let me know how you will vote on these amendments and if there is anything else you can do to help stop this from happening. 

I look forward to hearing from you.   

Yours sincerely,   

{YOUR FULL NAME AND ADDRESS}, 


Take part in our new survey!

We are carrying out research via survey monkey into how we can improve our communications messages.  Our aim is to talk clearly about the particular barriers and discrimination LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum and who have refugee status face, and how our solutions might inspire people to support our work.  Additionally, we would love to understand a little bit more about our audiences and supporters.

We really value your feedback and any ideas you would like to share, completing the survey will only take 5 to 10 minutes. Please be open and frank in your responses. All your answers are anonymous and confidential.

The survey will be open until 21 April at 5 pm.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your views.

Keep an eye on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as we will be sharing updates on this research very soon!

rainbow migration survey

Statement: We stand in solidarity with the trans community

We stand in solidarity with the trans community and join Stonewall, LGBT Consortium and others in withdrawing all support for this Summer’s UK Government-led Safe To Be Me conference. 

At Rainbow Migration we welcome and strive to provide a safe space for everyone who is claiming asylum based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. 

Many of our trans service users have fled violence in their countries of origin and we believe they should be treated with kindness and compassion by the UK, not fear that their rights to be themselves may be denied.   

If this Government is truly committed to ensuring the protection of LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum it must ensure that trans people are protected from the harms caused by conversion practices.


How to support LGBTQI+ Ukrainians

We are deeply concerned by the situation in Ukraine and have joined other UK charities in urging the Government to protect those fleeing any violence in the region.

At the moment, we are actively campaigning against the Nationality and Borders Bill which, if passed in its current form, will be harmful to LGBTQI+ Ukrainians and anyone fleeing life-threatening countries seeking safety here.

We are also working with partner LGBTQI+ organisations here in the UK, signposting LGBTQI+ Ukrainians to trusted LGBTQI+ support services.

Here is a list of ways in which you can help LGBTQI+ Ukrainians:

 


Last chance for MPs to really stand up for LGBTQI+ people seeking refuge

As thousands of Ukrainians flee their war-torn country every day, the compassionate response from people across Europe has been heartwarming. Here in the UK more than 150,000 people have offered to open their homes to refugees, showing just how badly our government misjudged the British public when drafting its #AntiRefugeeBill. We are a diverse and welcoming society, not one that wants to criminalise and impoverish those seeking safety here.

In this context it was great to see the #AntiRefugeeBill suffer some major defeats in the House of Lords this month. Although the Lords disappointingly ran out of time to vote against the increased standard of proof for asylum claims, they did oppose two important clauses that would have serious consequences for LGBTQI+ people: The one that would class LGBTQI+ people that don’t claim asylum right after arrival as a second class of refugee and ‘less credible’ (Clause 11) and the one that could send LGBTQI+ people to countries that are openly anti-LGBTQI+ to process their asylum claims (Clause 12).

The bill returns to the Commons tomorrow and this is the last chance for MPs to really stand up for LGBTQI+ people seeking refuge. To stop some of the most harmful aspects of the #AntiRefugeeBill, they need to support these vital amendments made in the Lords.

Please sign this petition that we co-signed or help us spread the word on Twitter today by retweeting us or posting using #AntiRefugeeBill.