UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. “A Report From UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group. Failing the Grade: Home Office Initial Decisions on Lesbian and Gay Claims for Asylum.” London: UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, 2010.

  • Category: Reports
  • Source: NGOs
  • Subject: Discretion,Asylum/Refugee,Discrimination,Documentation status,Gay,Gender Identity,Homophobia,Homosexuality,Law/Legistation,Lesbian,LGBTI,Religion,Refugee Camp,UNHCR,Violence
  • Place: Cameroon,Congo, Democratic Republic of the,Ghana,Kenya,Libya,Morocco,Nigeria,Tanzania,Uganda
  • Year: 2010
  • File: failing_the_grade_uklgig_april_2010
A review of 50 refusal letters reveals several troubling reasons why sexual identity claims are denied on a regular basis. These include: −  A lack of understanding of what sexual identity actually is which leads to decisions requiring asylum seekers to conceal their sexual identity and live a clandestine life in order to avoid persecution – referred to as being “discreet”; −  Falsely assuming that internal relocation is a viable option for lesbians and gay men in countries where homophobia is prevalent; −  Failing to appreciate the ways in which multiple discrimination and persecution impact on lesbian asylum seekers and inaccurately equating the lack of Home Office country of origin information about human rights abuses of lesbians with an absence of such persecution; −  A false belief amongst case owners that a lack of documented evidence on the application of existing laws criminalising same-sex sexual behaviour, equates to a lack of persecution; −  Disbelieving a person is lesbian or gay due to the decision maker’s misconceptions about sexual identity; −  An unrealistic and speculative belief that asylum seekers are lying because they recount having engaged in so-called “risky” sexual or nonconforming social behaviours that then lead to their persecution; and −  Reliance on Operational Guidance Notes in refusal letters in general and specifically reliance on Operational Guidance Notes that conflict with the Country of Origin Report for a specific country. While not intended to be an exhaustive discussion of these complicated issues, this report attempts to raise awareness and suggest ways in which these claims can be better understood, particularly at the initial decision making level. Specific suggestions for improvement are contained in the recommendations.