Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, is expected to say that being gay or being a woman can’t be enough to grant someone asylum status.
The latest anti-LGBTQ remarks from the Home Secretary are due to be made in a keynote speech on Tuesday (26 September). Braverman will speak at the centre-right think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC.
She is reportedly going to urge politicians to change the UN Refugee Convention saying it isn’t fit for purpose. The 1951 protocol has been signed by 146 countries.
“There are vast swathes of the world where it is extremely difficult to be gay” – Suella Braverman
In her speech, Braverman, according to The Independent, is expected to say: “Nobody entering the UK by boat from France is fleeing imminent peril.”
The outlet also reported that Braverman will say, “Let me be clear, there are vast swathes of the world where it is extremely difficult to be gay, or to be a woman. Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary.
“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if in effect simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin is sufficient to qualify for protection.”
Reacting to Braverman’s remarks Nancy Kelley, the former chief executive of Stonewall, labelled them “disgusting anti refugee homophobic muck raking.”
“Facts are important”
Speaking exclusively to Attitude, Dr. S Chelvan, the Head of Immigration and Public Law at 33 Bedford Row refuted Braverman’s claims that people could claim asylum based purely on being gay and facing discrimination in their country of origin.
“Discrimination must be a sufficiently serious violation of their basic human rights (2009 OO (Sudan) and JM (Uganda)),” he said pointing to the case of 2019 Attitude Pride Award winner, Kenneth Macharia, who “was afforded refugee protection on the basis of ‘a real risk of discrimination’ where the discriminatory laws lead to ‘a real risk of actual physical and sexual harm’.”
Dr. Chelvan, who has specialised in the field of LGBTQ+ asylum since 2001, continued: “I know of no reported cases where an individual has been able to be afforded refugee status, purely on the basis of discrimination based on being gay, or a woman.”
Taking aim at Braverman’s inaccurate depiction of the situation, he concluded: “Facts are important, especially when they are used to attack the UK’s reputation and obligation to be offer sanctuary.
“The Home Secretary should stop her cruel rhetoric”
Rainbow Migration, a charity that helps LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum, also added that it is “appalled” at Braverman’s latest comments.
The charity also pointed to government statistics showing that in 2022 only 2% of asylum claims included sexual orientation.
“It is already the case that LGBTQI+ people must face a well-founded fear of persecution to qualify for refugee protection in the UK. They also face the enormous challenge of having to “prove” their sexual orientation or gender identity to get refugee status.”
The charity also told Attitude: “Most of us welcome refugees and want to help people who are fleeing for their lives. The Home Secretary should stop her cruel rhetoric and instead create an asylum system that treats people with dignity and compassion.”
The government’s controversial plan to send refugees to Rwanda has stalled and finds itself stuck in the courts.
The Home Office was unable to comment.