Asylum advice for LGBT refugees


 

This advice is for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees. However, much of the information will also be relevant to non-LGBT refugees. See below. The Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF) is unable to take on individual asylum cases – we are a very small organisation, with very limited staffing and resources. While we help asylum seekers get the right advice and support, we are not asylum experts or solicitors. The PTF Foundation can point you to people and organisations who can help you file a credible, effective asylum application or appeal.

 

UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group

If you are a LGBT refugee, have a look at the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLIGIG) forum for answers to many commonly asked questions:
http://www.uklgig.org.uk/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=5&sid=c71d35b328196f780c91bdd9676181f7

The UKLGIG are able to provide information, assistance and advice on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) asylum issues. They may also be able to help find you a solicitor.You can contact the asylum office of the UKLGIG on 020 7922 7811 (helpline) or 0207922 7812 (office), Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm.The general email address for UKLGIG is: admin@uklgig.org.uk.For full information about UKLGIG’s services and advice on asylum, immigration and foreign partner issues see: http://www.uklgig.org.uk/

Their full postal address is
UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG),
32-36 Loman Street,
London
SE1 0EH.

If they are unable to help find you a solicitor, for free legal advice you should try your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Law Centre who may be able to help.

 

Asylum Aid

Asylum Aid is an independent, national charity working to secure protection for people seeking refuge in the UK from persecution and human rights abuses abroad. Their website is: http://www.asylumaid.org.uk/ Asylum Aid provides legal representation for people fleeing persecution. Their email is info@asylumaid.org.uk. You can contact their advice line on 0207 354 9264 every Tuesday: 1.00pm-3.00pm, asylum, domestic violence, trafficking. 3.00pm-4.00pm statelessness. The general enquiry number is 0207 354 9631.

The address of Asylum Aid is:
Club Union House,
253-254 Upper Street,
London N1 1RY

 

No Going Back

No Going Back provide support and legal representation to people who are seeking asylum in the UK because they fear persecution in their own country due to their sexual orientation. They offer free legal advice for asylum claims. They also commission experts to produce reports to help individual cases and to highlight problems in particular countries. You can find more here: http://nogoingback.org.uk/.You can get in touch with No Going Back by email: info@nogoingback.org.uk or by phone 08456 808 442.

If you are requiring emergency legal advice or advocacy please call 07748 966211 or 07737 599713 at any time of the day. Please consider this line is for emergencies only.

The address of No Going Back is:
9 Carleton Mill
West Road
Carleton-in-Craven
Skipton
BD23 3EG

 

ReachOut

ReachOut is a support and advocacy charity for LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. ReachOut is located in Leeds in the north of England.
You can contact them by email: reachoutleeds@gmail.com, or call Jess MacIntyre on 07707809925
You can find a link to their website here: http://www.reachoutleeds.org/

 

Migrant Law Partnership (MLP)

The Migrant Law Partnership is a company with a social purpose, dedicated to providing legal advice and representation on immigration and human rights. You can contact them by filling this form http://www.migrantlawpartnership.com/index.php/ or by email: contact@migrantlawpartnership.com or by phone: 0207 112 8163.You can find a link to their website here: http://www.migrantlawpartnership.com/

The address of Migrant Law Partnership is:
13 Shoreditch Stables,
138 Kingsland Road,
London, E2 8DY

 

Movement for Justice

You are most likely to win asylum if you prepare a detailed, credible case (see below). But it may also help if you can have the support of an asylum campaign group, like the Movement for Justice (MfJ).

Their website is here: http://www.movementforjustice.org/

And you can contact MfJ here: http://www.movementforjustice.org/get-in-touch/

 

Contact your MP and MEP

We also suggest that you contact your MP and MEP for support. You can find out who your MP and MEP are – and email them direct – via this website: www.writetothem.com You can also phone your MP’s office at the House of Commons via the main switchboard: 0207 219 3000. Ask for the MP’s secretary or researcher.
Unless you are in detention, we recommend that you visit your MP at their weekly advice surgery. Your local Town Hall or library will be able to tell you when and where these advice sessions are held.
Below is a brief summary of how to prove your case for asylum and the evidence that you will need.

 

Information to include in correspondence

It is very important when you contact anyone for help (solicitor, MP etc) that you include your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, nationality, passport number and Home Office asylum or appeal reference number. If you are being held in detention, be sure to state which one and its address and phone number. Explain your case clearly in short, separate paragraphs. Conclude by stating what specific help you want.

 

How to prepare your asylum application – or appeal

To win your asylum claim/appeal, you need to write out a full, detailed personal account of the homophobic persecution that you suffered, and/ or you know other LGBTs have suffered in your home country, and/or that you fear you will suffer if you return to your home country.

You have to explain why you need asylum. It has to be very detailed and specific, with dates, places, names and so on. Vague, general statements are deemed not credible. They will be rejected. You need to write out several pages. It is best to type them in short paragraphs with spaces between each one.

You need supporting evidence. This can include written statements from friends, family and/or partners. They need to give their full name, date of birth, address, relationship to you and their statement needs to be signed, dated and witnessed by one or two other people (who also give their full name, date of birth, address etc). These statements need to confirm how long the person has known you, in what capacity and confirm that they know you are LGBT.

You also need love letters, postcards and romantic emails between you and a current or former partner(s) – and romantic photos of you with partner(s) in different locations; plus photos of you in bed together to show intimacy, romance and provide evidence that you are LGBT and have had same-sex relationships.

It can be helpful to have letters of support from your local councillor, MP, MEP, neighbours and other friends in the UK, who know you and can attest that you are gay, are a person of good character etc.

You can find out who your councillor, MP and MEPs are and email them direct via this website: www.writetothem.com You should also visit your MP at their weekly local advice session. You can find out the date, time and location via your local town hall or library. A personal visit will encourage the MP to take your case more seriously.

If you have done any community or volunteer work, it may help your asylum claim. You should get someone who knows about this work to write a letter confirming what you’ve done and stating that you’ve made a positive contribution to the community.

Supporting evidence can also include copies of newspaper reports (dated and sourced) about homophobia in your home country, reports from human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and news releases from LGBT groups International Lesbian and Gay Association and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission etc.

See Peter Tatchell’s website www.petertatchell.net
Look under International for any stories re homophobic persecution in your country.

 

Expert witness

You also need an expert witness who can testify to the nature and extent of homophobic discrimination and violence in your home country. An expert witness is an academic or human rights organisation official who has specialist knowledge of homophobic persecution in your home country. The expert witness can testify in court or can present a written submission to your solicitor.

If you are appealing against an asylum refusal, you need to present new evidence that you’ve not submitted before in your previous application. It can be any of the above-suggested evidence.

Finally, VERY IMPORTANT, your solicitor needs to present evidence of previous successful asylum claims by LGBT refugees from your country. These case precedents are vital to win a case.

Note: If you need an expert witness and don’t know of one, your solicitor (not you) should contact:
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA)
Lindsey House, 40-42 Charterhouse Street, London EC1M 6JN
020 7251 8383

The ILPA has a list of expert witnesses covering most countries in the world.