Last week, in light of the news that Brunei has introduced death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex and adultery, I spoke in Parliament about the need to better support LGBT asylum seekers.
It’s important that we all voice our opposition to Brunei’s draconian and hateful new law. I was glad to see our Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, and our Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler, call on Theresa May to “take a leading role in condemning these laws and calling for strong action to be taken”.
Such persecution of LGBT communities abroad means that our own Government must take the lead in granting asylum to those fleeing oppression. Yet, in fact, the proportion of LGBT asylum claims that have been rejected by the Home Office has surged in recent years. Between 2015 and 2018, of the 5,316 asylum applications made on the grounds of sexual orientation, 3,776 were refused.
The Government’s callous approach to asylum cases has led the Home Office to order LGBT people to return to countries where they face persecution or, as in the case of Brunei, execution. This isn’t acceptable and I’ve called on the Foreign Secretary to raise my concerns with the Home Office.
I’ll continue to argue for a humane asylum policy that protects LGBT asylum seekers and all those fleeing persecution.