Today the government announced  changes to the asylum system, which include proposals such as: 

  • Housing people in overseas reception centres while their asylum claim is being processed 
  • Requiring claims to be made immediately on arrival and all evidence to be submitted at the beginning of the asylum process 
  • Forcing people in detention centres who want to appeal decisions to refuse them refugee protection to go through a rushed process 
  • Curtailing the right to challenge decisions refusing refugee protection 

Responding to the government’s proposals, Leila Zadeh, Executive Director of Rainbow Migration, said:

“It’s already difficult for LGBTQI+ people who are fleeing persecution to get safety in the UK, and these cruel proposals will make it even harder. Many of them will have been hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity for a long time, and this government is asking them to overcome a lifetime of discrimination and fear to disclose that they are LGBTQI+ to a complete stranger immediately on arrival in a new country and expecting them to provide evidence at the same time.”

“Being shipped off to processing centres abroad will be tantamount to torture for LGBTQI+ people. As a form of institutional accommodation for large numbers of people, these centres will be fertile ground for homophobia, biphobia and transphobia to run rampant. The people housed there will be even more isolated and at risk, and unable to receive any support from charities like us.” 

 “Keeping people in such a dangerous environment will force them into the closet for their own protection. That doesn’t help when you have to ‘prove’ you are LGBTQI+ in order to be granted protection. This essentially amounts to a double punishment for LGBTQI+ people seeking safety.”

“These proposals make an already ineffective and inhumane system even more cold-hearted and cruel. This government should focus on creating a kind and compassionate asylum system, rather than on causing further distress to people who are only looking for a place to live in safety and dignity.”