Consensual acts between same-sex adults are criminalised in 80 member states of the United Nations; homosexuality results in the death penalty in six of these countries. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people face execution, torture, rape and murder from people in their own community or from their government. Six months ago Stonewall published No Going Back, groundbreaking research which showed those facing persecution in their home country because of their sexual orientation were facing significant and specific disadvantages and being routinely deported due to systemic discrimination in the asylum system.
Carl Watt, Director of Stonewall Scotland, addressed the Scottish Refugee Council's annual conference in Glasgow on Friday 29th October, outlining some examples of the deeply shocking abuse and persecution that lesbian, gay and bisexual people reported facing in many countries such as Uganda, Jamaica and Iran, and the specific disadvantages their UK asylum claims faced due to their sexual orientation.
Scottish Refugee Council’s conference, titled ‘A Fresh Start: The new Government’s agenda for reforming the asylum system in the UK’ looked at advances made by the new UK coalition government as well as its current review of the asylum process.
In July the Supreme Court ruled that it was no longer acceptable to return gay asylum seekers on the basis that by being discreet about their sexuality, they could lead a life that was "reasonably tolerable".The ruling will have a huge impact on other Scottish asylum seekers who have previously had their case denied on grounds that they could be ‘discreet’ in their home countries.
Observations from those interviewed for the research include:
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