Home Secretary asks for review of how Home Office handles asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation - ICS Legal Blog

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Home Secretary asks for review of how Home Office handles asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation

Home Secretary Theresa May has asked the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, to review how the Home Office handles asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation, BBC News reported on March 28th.

The review comes in light of a February report in the Observer about how Home Office officials were under fire for using explicit and “shockingly degrading” lines of questioning when interviewing gay and lesbian asylum seekers.

According to BBC News, Theresa May said some gay and lesbian asylum seekers were being asked “inappropriate” questions.

The Guardian reported on Saturday that in a letter to the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, May wrote: “We do need to establish that the risk of persecution is real, and this will often depend on whether the sexual orientation of the asylum seeker is as claimed. We seek to establish this at interview through questions about sexual orientation, not sexual behaviour.”

The letter continued: “It was disappointing therefore to discover that we may not have followed our guidance in at least one case, which was brought to the attention of the media recently and where inappropriate questions appear to have been asked. We are committed to treating all asylum claimants with respect and dignity and we want to continue to improve on current practice in this area.”