In a letter, 246 human rights organisations have come together to ask the Prime Minister to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to protect LGBTQIA+ people and women globally.
Standing united, the organisations have come together in solidarity to write a letter to Rishi Sunak, urging him to honour international law and respect the lives of LGBTQIA+ people and women migrants after Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comments last week.
Produced by leading LGBTQIA+ charity Stonewall, the letter has been signed by organisations including Amnesty, Oxfam, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Refugee Council and Women for Refugee Women amongst others. The coalition has written to Sunak to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to protect LGBTQIA+ people around the world.
The letter rejects Braverman’s claim that LGBTQIA+ people and women refuges are misusing their identities to make false claims, and speaks of regret that the Home Secretary’s selective use of stats have “nothing to do with genuine concern or respect for international law, refugees or their protection.”
At the American Enterprise Institute, a centre right think tank in Washington DC, Bravermen garnered uproar after stating that fear of being persecuted over being gay and/or a woman is not reason enough to claim asylum in the UK.
Braverman addressed the rising numbers of people crossing the English Channel in small boats by controversially arguing that nobody doing so is “fleeing imminent peril”.
Braverman acknowledged that “there are vast swathes of the world where it is extremely difficult to be gay, or to be a woman. Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary.
“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if in effect simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin is sufficient to qualify for protection.”
The letter, dated 3 October, clarifies: “The undeniable and stark reality is that many LGBTQ+ people and women face persecution across the world. Countless LGBTQ+ people are often forced to flee their own countries due to a litany of human rights abuses including torture, ill-treatment, and denial of the most basic of rights to survive.
“Likewise, many women who apply for asylum have survived extreme harm, including gender-based and sexual violence, torture, ill-treatment, trafficking and sexual exploitation.”
Robbie de Santos, Director of External Affairs at Stonewall, said: “We all deserve a government with the compassion and will to protect the most vulnerable in society.
“Not only is the incumbent UK Government failing LGBTQ+ people domestically, with inaction on rising hate crime, but they are also failing the international community by indicated their disdain for international law – in the process bringing great shame on party and country.”
Refugee and Migrant Rights Director at Amnesty International UK, Steve Valdez-Symonds, said: “The Home Secretary’s verbal attack on the rights of LGBTQ+ and women refugees is deplorable.
“Not only did she once again stir utterly false prejudices against people seeking asylum, she also targeted refugees who often continue to face grave insecurity, hostility and violence – even long after escaping persecution and conflict. Ministers must stop their constant scapegoating and put their energy into repairing the utter wreckage they have made of the asylum system.”