UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. “Missing the Mark: Decision Making on Lesbian, Gay (Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) Claims.” London: UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, September 2013.

  • Category: Reports
  • Source: NGOs
  • Subject: Refoulement,Discretion,Asylum/Refugee,Documentation status,Gay,Law/Legistation,Lesbian,Religion,Sexual Orientation,Violence
  • Place: Cameroon,Gambia,Malawi,Nigeria,Uganda
  • Year: 2013
  • File: Missing-the-Mark.pdf
Since UKLGIG published its report “Failing the Grade”, the Home Office has made substantial efforts to improve the decision making process for lesbian and gay asylum claimants. Sexual identity claims are no longer routinely refused as in 2010, when UKLGIG found that 98% of claims were refused. Following the Supreme Court decision on HJ and HT and the enactment of the asylum policy instructions on sexual orientation issues in asylum claims, there has been an improvement in decision making at the initial stages.9 Lesbians and gay men with genuine claims are increasingly successful both at the Home Office and appeal levels. Where case workers do follow the policy instructions, they have demonstrated sensitivity and well-reasoned responses to lesbian and gay asylum claims. Whilst this report highlights some of the improvements in the process, the exact number of successful claims on the basis of sexual identity remains unknown. The numbers recorded by UKLGIG of claimants who have contact with the organisation clearly show that things have improved with only 18 lesbians and gay men granted asylum in 2008 and 25 in 2009. This figure jumped in 2010, undoubtedly due to the change in the law on discretion, to 70 lesbians and gay men granted asylum. In 2011 and 2012 the numbers decreased to 49 and 55 respectively, with 47 lesbians and gay men granted asylum as of August 2013. Out of circa 1,000 people who contact UKLGIG every year about claiming asylum, the number of lesbians and gay men supported by the organisation who eventually are granted asylum remains a small proportion. The numbers above are unofficial statistics collected on the basis of information available to UKLGIG and no doubt reflect only some of the successful claims. Although the Home Office collects statistics, these numbers are not published. The publication of statistics on the number of sexual identity claims refused or granted; whether decisions are made within or outside of detention and the countries of origin of the claimants would greatly assist UKLGIG in its efforts to provide updated and accurate research reports on LGBTI asylum in the UK. This report outlines some of the advances in decision making on sexual identity asylum claims, providing examples of good practice and highlighting some of the persisting concerns UKLGIG has identified in sexual identity claims for asylum. A review of 35 substantive interviews, 37 refusal letters and 50 Tribunal decisions reveals several troubling issues regarding the handling of sexual identity claims by some Home Office case workers and immigration judges.