Immigration | News | United Kingdom

UK Home Secretary to Review Handling of Gay Asylum Claims After Reports of Interrogations Surface

Theresa mayFollowing reports of invasive interrogation procedures for gay asylum claimants, U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May has ordered a review of border officials’ handling of claims made on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Guardian reports:

"We do need to establish that the risk of persecution is real, and this will often depend on whether the sexual orientation of the asylum seeker is as claimed," said May. "We seek to establish this at interview through questions about sexual orientation, not sexual behaviour."

Previously leaked documents revealed the high burden of proof these claimants face. One male asylum seeker was asked a series of intrusive questions including: "What is it about men's backsides that attracts you?" and “What is it about the way men walk that turns you on?” The BBC also reported that, "in extreme cases claimants had handed over photographic and video evidence of 'highly personal sexual activity' in an effort to persuade officials."

"It was disappointing therefore to discover that we may not have followed our guidance in at least one case, which was brought to the attention of the media recently and where inappropriate questions appear to have been asked," said May.

"We are committed to treating all asylum claimants with respect and dignity and we want to continue to improve on current practice in this area."

The paper notes that MPs have previously raised concerns the process for lesbian and gay applicants, many of whom are fleeing persecution in their home countries, relied too heavily on anecdotal evidence and "proving that they are gay."

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  1. This happens in Canada too, unfortunately. I have a gay Kyrgyz friend who was sent back to Kyrgyzstan because the judge refused to believe he was gay. And now look at the news from Kyrgyzstan!

    Posted by: KevinVt | Mar 30, 2014 9:48:40 AM


  2. This happens because Asylum Claims agents are just as homophobic as everybody else. They forget what their actual job is when faced with a gay asylum seeker, and instead of asking relevant questions to determine the risk of going back to their respective country, Asylum Claims agents instead ask questions about sphincters, anal sex, penises, fellatio, etc. It's disgraceful on the part of the Asylum Claims Agents, but they function with relative impunity as we have seen. Sorry to say this woman isn't going to fix the problem.

    Posted by: Ron | Mar 30, 2014 1:55:17 PM


  3. The people in high government positions in the UK probably tend to be upper class. As they say, "it is so hard to get good help these days."

    That's the problem - the low level people processing the applications often lack the sensibilities of the people in charge, and (as anyone who works on user-interface code will tell you), it is really hard to figure out how idiots are going to screw up.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 30, 2014 11:26:19 PM


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