government advice

What Should Britain’s Rejected Refugees Do? Just Relocate to Somewhere Less Hateful

With all this Uganda and Malawi and Senegal hoopla, we’ve long wondered just how willing the United States would be to welcoming refugees from the African continent that Sec. of State Hillary Clinton says we’re going to protect? Well now here’s an answer as to Britain’s willingness to accept LGBT refugees: Uh uh.

A report from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group puts Britain’s acceptance rate for these asylum seekers between one and two percent. To be fair, a single country cannot accept everyone who applies for asylum, except the British government accepts other categories of refugees at much higher rates. As a whole, other groups are granted asylum some 27 percent of the time.

Why the discrepancy? Explains UKLGIG’s Angela Mason: “It seems clear that case owners making decisions about lesbian and gay asylum claims do not have training on the particular issues arising from persecution based on sexual orientation or identity. They are also relying on out of date information on countries of origin and too often ignoring the UNHCR Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The result is that lesbian and gay asylum seekers who are already experiencing persecution may also face discrimination in our own country. This is something that should not and need not happen.”

So what’s the British government’s solution for the persecuted? Move. Reports LGBT Asylum News:

The report says that two thirds of the cases were refused because UKBA staff said that claimants could ‘internally relocate’. It says that this is especially difficult for lesbians and gay men because, for example in the small island nation of Jamaica there is a culture of virulent homophobia which exists everywhere, with violence committed frequently (and us well documented) against lesbians and gay men.

Nine out of ten of the Jamaican cases reviewed were told to go home and relocate. Yet all the cases were claiming asylum precisely because they were ‘caught’ with a partner or were already perceived to be lesbian or gay. This, says the report “is an impossible no-win situation.”