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Lib Dems condemn Home Office treatment of LGBT Christians

One of the Laws of the Universe is that, just when you think the Home Office can’t get any worse, any less humane, it does.

This weekend, Pink News reported on the appalling treatment of LGBT Christian asylum seekers.

One respondent said Home Office officials asked her questions including: “How can you be lesbian and Christian?,” “Isn’t the Bible against being gay?”, and “Doesn’t that contradict with your Christian belief or your belief?”

The report was based on 33 interviews with LGBT+ asylum seekers – 31 of these came from a Christian background and two were Muslims.

Another participant said: “‘In the application process, in my case, everything that I was doing I was doing it in secret, so I got to a point that Home Office is asking me ‘Where’s the proof?’ And it’s very difficult for me to come out with proof, because I’m doing this in a way that my will not find out who I am… I don’t have the right to work.

LGBT+ Lib Dems, Lib Dems 4 Seekers of Sanctuary, the Lib Dem Christian Forum and Lib Dem Immigrants issued a joint statement:

We condemn this ignorance and insensitivity of the Home Office.

We also note that the Home Office’s culture of disbelief has impacted both Christian people and LGBT+ people in the past and that this in turn is just a small part of the injustices that have led to the Liberal Democrats to call for the Home Office to be stripped of all immigration and asylum responsibility.

And Christine Jardine was furious in a piece on the Lib Dem website. 

Earlier this month, Liberal Democrats revealed that over the last three years the Home Office has refused over 3,100 asylum claims on the basis of sexuality, even though the people making them were from countries where consensual same-sex acts are criminalised.

Now, a report on LGBT African asylum seekers has found some being accused of “contradiction” by Home Office interviewers, because they are LGBT and Christian. One person even reported being asked, “How can you be lesbian and Christian?”

This Conservative Government is letting down every LGBT+ person

Imagine being forced to leave your home and making it to the UK, only to be told by Home Office officials that your very identity is a “contradiction”. Imagine having your religion used against you, to discredit your claim to asylum.

That is the culture of disbelief that both LGBT+ people and Christian converts face in the Home Office. Officials too often deny them asylum without any evidence; they simply assume that they are lying about who they are.

This Conservative Government is letting down every LGBT+ person and every individual in this country who cares about human rights.

The UK should be leading the campaign across the world against homophobia and transphobia. Instead, we have a Government that is turning its back and looking the other way.

Liberal Democrats demand better for LGBT+ people wherever they live.

We will establish a new, dedicated unit to handle asylum claims, free of political interference and without the Home Office’s culture of disbelief.

Liberal Democrats will fix our asylum system so that the UK provides sanctuary to those who need it.

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