Author: Adam Smith
A woman has claimed that she was told to ‘find religion and get cured of her sexuality’ by a British immigration official. Ugandan lesbian Awori was forced to leave her homeland after being called ‘evil’ and beaten for being gay.
The 37-year-old said she was detained for four hours the first time she put her first asylum application in. She told Gay Star News: ‘This man, he told me to change and stop being a lesbian. Is that really allowed? I thought they promoted diversity and equality. ‘This Home Office guy asked me to change. He told me to go to a church and repent and then I will stop claiming I am a lesbian.’
Statistics from the Home Office reveal in the past two years two thirds of the 3,535 gay or bi asylum applications have been turned down but the department denied sexuality has any role in determining . Awori added: ‘The UK hasn’t done enough. ‘They haven’t done enough to protect LGBTI people from Commonwealth countries.
‘They say they are promoting human rights, equality and diversity. If that isn’t given to everyone, then it doesn’t exist.’ However, the Home Office told Metro.co.uk the grant rate for Ugandan lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum cases is 55 per cent, which is slightly higher than the 48 per cent for all Ugandan asylum cases. After the Windrush scandal the Home Office is now coming under pressure to explain why gay people regularly get a raw deal from UK immigration services.
Dubbed the Rainbow Rush scandal justice campaigners are appealing for LGBT asylum seekers or immigrants to reveal their treatment at the hands of the immigration service. The last Home Secretary Amber Rudd was forced to resign due to the Windrush scandal when 57,000 people, who came to the UK from Commonwealth countries in the 50s and 60s, were suddenly considered ‘illegal immigrants’.
In 2015 a Nigerian woman claimed she was told by Home Office officials she could not be lesbian because she had children and last year Ugandan man Abbey Kyeyune was told he failed a test proving he was gay and would have to be deported. Afghan gay men were also allegedly told to ‘pretend to be straight’ by the Home Office when they were deported back to Afghanistan. A spokesman added: ‘This Government has a proud record of providing protection for asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. ‘The UK remains a world leader in its approach to handling asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. No one who is found to be at risk of persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation will be returned to their country of origin.’