Conference notes that in the UK’s asylum application process, significant challenges are faced by asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conference welcomes that, as of the Supreme Court judgement in HI (Iran), the Home Office will no longer fail asylum claims where it is deemed that the claimant could avoid persecution by being required to conceal their sexuality or gender identity. However, conference regrets that the Home Office will still fail asylum claims where the decision maker makes a finding that the claimant conceals their sexuality “voluntarily”.
Conference believes that the open expression of a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity is a fundamental human right and reaffirms its support for asylum seekers who flee homophobic, transphobic and biphobic regimes. Furthermore, conference believes that concealment of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and their reasons for doing so, should be irrelevant to the refugee determination process.
Conference therefore calls on the UK Government to recognise all persons fleeing from regimes who would persecute them for their sexual orientation or gender identity as refugees, regardless of whether they choose to conceal these features of their identity and their reasons are for doing so. Conference further calls for review into the UK’s asylum application procedure with the aim of reducing the burden placed upon claimants fleeing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic regimes.