date: 7 July 2010
embargo: For immediate release
The TUC has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court today (Wednesday) to overturn the current UK policy of returning lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers to their countries of origin on the basis that they would be safe if they remain 'discreet' about their sexual orientation. The Court ruled that this constituted a denial of a fundamental right.
The TUC has supported campaigns by individuals seeking asylum from countries where homosexuality is illegal, where they face severe punishment including violent attacks from mobs and execution.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The Government has said that it would not return LGBT asylum seekers to countries where they face severe persecution.
'Today's ruling gives legal force to this policy, and means that the Home Office must abandon its shameful practice of using the 'keep quiet and you will be safe' argument to return lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers to persecution and death in their native countries.
'The TUC has written to the Home Secretary to seek a meeting to press for the policy and practice of the UK Border Agency to be changed immediately.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The Government's commitment on LGBT asylum seekers is available at www.equalities.gov.uk/pdf/424757_LGBT-factsheet_Web.pdf
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Congress 2010 will be held at the Manchester Central Convention Complex from Monday
13 September to Thursday 16 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/congress/tuc-18063-f0.cfm and returning a form. Applications must be in by noon on Monday 6 September. Any received later than that will be processed in Manchester and will cost £50.
Issued: 7 July, 2010