In a collective effort comprising 246 human rights organizations, including prominent entities such as BiPride and BiPhoria, a letter has been addressed to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The coalition has joined forces to emphasize the importance of honoring international law and safeguarding the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and women migrants. This letter, spearheaded by Stonewall and supported by organizations like Amnesty, Oxfam, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Refugee Council, and Women For Refugee Women, underscores the UK’s obligation to protect vulnerable communities worldwide.
A Stand Against Dangerous Rhetoric
The call for action comes in response to recent remarks by Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, which have been widely criticized for their dangerous and inflammatory nature. Alphonsine Kabagado, the Director of Women For Refugee Women, condemned Braverman’s speech, characterizing it as racist and unfounded. Braverman’s suggestions that LGBTQ+ and women migrants might be making false claims for protection or seeking asylum based solely on discrimination have been met with stern disapproval. Advocates argue that many individuals within these communities face persecution, including torture, gender-based violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and rape, making their need for asylum genuine and urgent.
Championing the Plight of LGBTQ+ and Women Refugees
The coalition’s letter directly addresses the Prime Minister, emphasizing the UK’s commitment to protecting LGBTQ+ individuals and women fleeing persecution. It counters recent remarks suggesting that LGBTQ+ and women refugees might not be entitled to protection, asserting that international refugee law clearly encompasses these groups. LGBTQ+ people and women frequently endure persecution in their home countries, forcing them to seek refuge to preserve their lives. The coalition highlights the undeniable reality that LGBTQ+ individuals and women refugees often encounter additional barriers and challenges, including the need to prove their sexual orientation or gender identity.
A Call for Compassion and Commitment to International Law
As the coalition of human rights organizations underscores, only a small percentage of asylum claims in the UK in 2022 cited sexual orientation as a reason for seeking protection. Criticism has arisen over the Home Secretary’s targeting of this minority group, which appears to lack genuine concern for international law or refugee protection. The letter reminds the UK Government of its previous commitments to support LGBTQ+ people and women in perilous situations, notably during the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. The coalition urges Prime Minister Sunak to reaffirm the UK’s dedication to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as its commitments to safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and women worldwide. Ultimately, the call is for compassion, respect for international law, and protection of those facing persecution who are entitled to asylum.