New statistics show that the number of people from Albania that were recognised[1] as being at risk of persecution due to their sexual orientation in the UK in 2022 more than doubled compared to 2021, it went up from five to thirteen people

Albania is one of the countries deemed ‘safe’ under the recently passed Illegal Migration Act. “By granting asylum to LGB Albanians, this government is acknowledging that Albania is a dangerous country for the community, where they can face life-threatening situations”, said Leila Zadeh, Executive Director at Rainbow Migration, and added, “However, when the Illegal Migration Act fully comes into force, LGBTQI+ people could be sent to Albania or any other of the 56 countries that this government considers safe”.

Hamez, a gay man who fled to the UK from Albania explained last year that: “It was very scary to go back to Albania. My family were pressuring me to get married, and when my parents found out that I was gay, my father chased me out of the house with an axe. I had brought shame on my family, and my father began to be physically abusive. I was hiding in the mountains, trying to find a way to escape my village. It is common for people to get beaten up or killed in my country if someone is found out to be gay.”

The statistics also show that the number of LGB people from Nigeria and Ghana that were granted asylum remained steady, 52 and 9 respectively, two countries that are also considered ‘safe’ (in respect of men) under the Illegal Migration Act.


More LGB Ugandans seeking refuge in the UK

According to the statistics, up to 54% of the applications received from Ugandan nationals were LGB applications. Over the last year and a half, we’ve supported more than 20 Ugandan LGBTQI+ people to seek protection here and we are concerned that the discriminatory law that was passed in Uganda a few months ago, under which LGBTQI+ people can face life in prison or even the death penalty, will mean many more will have no choice but to flee Uganda.

The Illegal Migration Act will make it almost impossible for LGBTQI+ Ugandans to find safety in the UK. If they do, they could be detained and later sent to another dangerous country for LGBTQI+ people.

“The inhumane Illegal Migration act should never come into force. Instead, this government should focus on creating a compassionate and caring asylum system that treats people with kindness” said Leila Zadeh.


[1] The experimental statistics show the number of asylum claims where sexual orientation was raised as a basis, or part of the basis, of the claim.