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                               News & Views Monday 23rd February to Sunday 1st March 2015

UKHO Policy Instruction - Sexual Identity Issues in Asylum Claims

1.1 Purpose of instruction
This instruction explains how caseworkers should conduct asylum interviews in claims made on the basis of sexual identity. This is to ensure that the relevant information is obtained in order to make a balanced decision as to whether or not the claimant meets the threshold for an asylum or human rights claim. The interview should be a sensitive enquiry into the development and exploration of the claimant's sexual identity and the extent to which it is relevant to the assessment of the need for protection. It should not be an enquiry into any explicit sexual activity.

It provides specific guidance on:

- how to approach consideration of asylum claims made on the basis of sexual identity;

- the additional considerations decision-makers should have in mind when assessing claims for asylum that could include issues to do with sexual identity;

- how to take sexual identity issues into account when looking at the persecution experienced and whether there has been a failure of state protection;

- how to objectively consider future fear within the legal, political and social context of the country of origin.

In all interviews caseworkers, as representatives of the Home Office, are expected to maintain high professional standards and treat claimants with respect and sensitivity throughout. This instruction replaces the previous guidance entitled 'Sexual Orientation Issues in the Asylum Claim of June 2011. It must be read in conjunction with the main asylum policy instructions, in particular:

- Assessing Credibility and Refugee Status;

- Conducting the Asylum Interview;

- Gender Issues in the Asylum Claim; and

- Gender Identity Issues in the Asylum Claim

This instruction applies to all parts of the Home Office (including the Asylum Intake Unit) which consider asylum claims brought on the basis or part-basis of sexual identity.

UKHO publication Refworld, <>23/02/15

Asylum Information Database, Country Report: United Kingdom

Topics Access to procedures | Access to procedures | Asylum-seekers | Asylum-seekers | Legal representation / Legal aid | Legal representation / Legal aid | Reception | Reception | Refugee status determination (RSD) / Asylum procedures | Refugee status determination (RSD) / Asylum procedures | Right to education | Right to education
Published on Refworld, <>23/02/15

LH and IP (Gay Men: Risk) Sri Lanka CG v. SSHD

136. On 12 April 2012 the appellants were served with decisions to vary leave to remain and with decisions to remove. In light of Adamally & Jaferi [2012] UKUT 00414, such decisions could not properly be made at the same time. (The position has since changed, by amendment of s.47 of the 2006 Act on 8 May 2013.) In these proceedings, the removal decisions were withdrawn by the respondent. The matter makes no difference to the substance of our decision.

137. The decision of the First-tier Tribunal has been set aside. We remake the decision as follows: the appeals, as originally brought to the First-tier Tribunal, are dismissed on all grounds.

(1) Having regard to the provisions of articles 365 and 365A of the Sri Lankan Penal Code, gay men in Sri Lanka constitute a particular social group.

(2) 'Gay men in civil partnerships' in Sri Lanka do not constitute a particular social group for the purposes of the Refugee Convention. The Sri Lankan authorities' failure to recognise alternative marital and quasi-marital statuses such as civil partnership or homosexual marriage which are available in other countries of the world does not, without more, amount to a flagrant breach of core human rights.

(3) Applying the test set out by Lord Rodger in the Supreme Court judgment in HJ (Iran) & HT (Cameroon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] UKSC 31, in general the treatment of gay men in Sri Lanka does not reach the standard of persecution or serious harm.

(4) There is a significant population of homosexuals and other LGBT individuals in Sri Lanka, in particular in Colombo. While there is more risk for lesbian and bisexual women in rural areas, because of the control exercised by families on unmarried women, and for transgender individuals and sex workers in the cities, it will be a question of fact whether for a particular individual the risk reaches the international protection standard, and in particular, whether it extends beyond their home area.

(5) Where a risk of persecution or serious harm exists in an appellant's home area, there may be an internal relocation option, particularly for individuals returning via Colombo from the United Kingdom.

Published on Refworld, 23/02/15

Demonstration in Support of Maimuna Jawo & Josephine

Tuesday 24th February 2015 @ 1:30pm

Home Office Cardiff
31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB

Women Fighting to end FGM Must be Protected!

Organized by Movement for Justice...
We march today, we march tomorrow, and we keep marching to build a new Britain: diverse, integrated and equal. We aim to win. We tell the truth about racism, sexism and anti-gay bigotry and the growing inequalities within our society. We believe that every human being is entitled to a job, to education, to food, shelter and the other necessities of life, so that every one of us can live in dignity, proud to be who we are, encouraged and able to fulfill our hopes and aspirations.

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update 96
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 10th February and 24th February 2015 - Volume 96  <>here . . .

UK Violence Against Women and Girls

House of Lords/House of Commons - Joint Committee on Human Rights

"Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights violation we face globally, whether in times of peace, conflict or post-conflict transition". (Ms Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.)

We undertook this inquiry to examine the United Kingdom's progress towards ratification of the Istanbul Convention. In doing so, we have heard how domestic violence transcends races, religions, communities and cultures. The scale, pervasive nature, and seemingly crosscultural ignorance, of violence against women and girls is deeply troubling to us.

Overall we think the UK is in a good position to be able to ratify the Istanbul Convention. The Home Secretary has shown personal commitment to this. Only one legislative change regarding jurisdiction is necessary in order to ratify, although several changes in practice are required to fulfil the Convention's positive obligations. Our key concern is that the Inter- Ministerial Group has insufficient powers. In addition, we have more focused concerns as set out below.

We heard a great deal of evidence regarding the importance of education as part of preventing violence against women and girls. We recommend that the Government urgently prioritises prevention programmes. Prevention programmes need to be targeted and specific to communities and victims, based on evidence. We also recommend that all schools could, and should, play a greater role in tackling cultural attitudes through a requirement to teach issues surrounding gender equality and violence. This would also help prevent the use of unacceptable cultural justifications for such crimes across British culture.

Download the full report from Refworld: <l> 23/02/15

Couple Get £21K for 'Sham Marriage' Mistake That Ruined Wedding

A couple wrongly arrested moments before their wedding ceremony have been awarded more than £21,000 in compensation. Police mistakenly believed the couple were holding a "sham marriage" for immigration purposes at the Guildhall in Londonderry in July 2011. Yanan Sun McElwee was awarded £12,500 and her husband Neil McElwee was awarded £9,000. A police officer told the court he deeply regretted what had happened.

Mr McElwee told the court he had met Yanan Sun, who is originally from China, in 2010. When they discovered she was pregnant ten months later, they decided to bring forward their wedding plans. He said all the necessary paperwork had been checked by their solicitor, who was among 50 guests who had arrived at the Guildhall for their registry office wedding. When they arrived they were asked to enter a small side room. Inside was the arresting officer, who was accompanied by four other officers. Members of the tactical support group were on standby.
Read more: BBC News, 23/02/15

Afghan Minister Demands Europe - Stop Deportation To Afghanistan

Newly elected minister for refugees and repatriation Mr. Hussain Alami Balkhi opposes all deportations to Afghanistan, especially women and children.

In an audio interview the Minister urges all the deporting countries to halt deportations to Afghanistan. The ministers says; situation in Afghanistan was getting better after 2011 that is why 'Memorandum of Understanding" (MOUs) were signed with some European countries including Norway to return those Afghans back to Afghanistan who are coming from safe provinces and they are able to return back to their own provinces.

In the MOU it was clearly stated that those refugees who are coming from dangerous provinces wonÕt be returned. It was also agreed in the MOU that women and children wonÕt be returned back to Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan has changed now. Most of those who are being returned are coming from the provinces that are very dangerous and those who are being returned canÕt go back to their provinces. That is why we oppose deportations from Norway and all other European countries to Afghanistan. As a result we returned a woman and two of her children back to Norway last week. But, unfortunately later we heard that they were mistreated on the way back to Norway.

Considering the current situation of Afghanistan we sent a letter through the foreign ministry to all those countries with whom the MOUs were signed to revise the MOUs and do not return anyone back to Afghanistan. whether they are single or with family, until we make new agreements. They shouldnÕt deport anyone because we canÕt take care of them here.
Read more: Abdul Ghafoor, wordpress, 21/02/15

Theresa May to Introduce "British Values" Test For Overseas Visitors
Under new plans from the Home Secretary, Theresa May, overseas visitors seeking to work, study or even attend business meetings in the UK would have to demonstrate their respect for ÒBritish valuesÓ by undergoing a test for visas. According to the Financial Times, the document that outlines these plans states: "We want to make clear to those seeking to visit, work or study in the UK, and those granted protection, that they need to abide by and respect British values throughout their stay in this country . . . We will make British values an integral part of applying for a visa.Ó

But how exactly the Home Office plans to make overseas visitors display their respect for this abstract principle of ÒBritish valuesÓ is unclear. Will visitors form orderly queues at visa centres, while they wait in turn to recite God Save the Queen? Or will they be given a Q+A format card, styled on the United StatesÕ homeland security questions Ð replacing "are you a member of a terrorist organisation?" with "on a scale of one to ten (one being 'utterly detest' and ten being 'crazy in love'), how would you rate Queen Elizabeth II?" I can imagine terrorists quivering at such a prospect.
Read more: New Statesman, <>20/02/15

Last updated 27 February, 2015