Report by the Home Affairs Select Committee urges government to ‘recognise that LGBTQI+ people are vulnerable in immigration detention’.
An inquiry into immigration detention by the Home Affairs Select Committee has criticised the government for not recognising lesbian, gay and bisexual people as adults at risk in immigration detention centres. The report drew on the experiences of LGBTQI+ people subjected to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination, abuse and harassment inside detention centres.
The Committee say the Home Office has a ‘shockingly cavalier attitude’ to immigration detention and ‘overseen serious failings in almost every area of the immigration detention process’. The inquiry found that the most vulnerable detainees are not being afforded the necessary protection.
The report also relays concerns that detention has a direct impact on the prospects of LGBTQI+ people in need of protection being recognised as refugees.
The Committee calls for the government to extend the recognition that it already affords to trans and intersex people as vulnerable in immigration detention to all LGBTQI+ people. It also calls on the government to monitor and publish statistics on the number of LGBTQI+ people it detains.
Leila Zadeh, Executive Director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), said,
“Placing LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in immigration detention centres is dangerous. There is a significant risk of LGBTQI+ people being locked up among people who may display the same discriminatory attitudes and hostility from which they have fled.
LGBTQI+ people also frequently struggle to be granted refugee status if they have to make their asylum applications from inside a detention centre.
The government should give greater consideration to alternatives to detention that allow LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum to remain in the community while their claims are processed”.
In its report, the Committee also calls for an end to indefinite detention and a maximum 28-day time limit.
Bojana Asanovic, Barrister and Chair of UKLGIG, said,
“Home Office decisions to detain people should be subject to review by a judge. We need a 28 day time limit on all immigration detention, which should be cumulative and integrate robust safeguards”.
Notes to editors
Immigration Detention: Fourteenth Report of Session 2017–19 by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee is available to download from the parliament website at https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/
No Safe Refuge by UKLGIG and Stonewall highlights the systemic discrimination, abuse and harassment that LGBTQI+ people face from both staff and other people who have been detained, available at https://uklgig.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/no_safe_refuge.pdf
UKLGIG has been supporting LGBTQI+ people through the asylum process since 2003. We provide psychosocial support, legal advice and information, and advocate for changes in government policy and practice.
Contact: Leila Zadeh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07434 655353