Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The (genuine) right to remain

How other states treat their citizens is a matter of concern and on occasion they should be allowed refugee status if they somehow or other make it here if they were at risk of persecution.
A Jamaican lesbian has won the right to stay in the UK after immigration judges ruled she risks persecution if she returns to her home country.
The woman, who cannot be identified but lives in Stoke-on-Trent, was originally refused leave to remain in the UK by the Home Office.
She asked to stay on the basis she was an "out" lesbian and her home country is "deeply homophobic".
A tribunal has now ruled she can remain in the UK.
Her case was reconsidered by the Upper Tribunal's Immigration and Asylum Chamber in London where senior immigration judges said she was "entitled to refugee protection".
The case was identified by the judges as one of potential "country guidance" on the issue of the risks to lesbians returning to Jamaica.
The tribunal heard the woman became aware of her sexuality as a young girl.
Unable to be open, she had lived as a "discreet lesbian", socialising with a select group of women who organised meetings via an internet chatroom.
She told the tribunal that while out with this group on one occasion they were identified as possible lesbians because they were dancing together, rather than with men, and the DJ began playing hostile songs with anti-gay lyrics.
A group of men then threatened to "convert them" - implying they would rape them - and followed them out of the bar.
 A terrible thing it is to be threatened for what your lifestyle choices are and I do hope she can make something of her chance to remain. That said however, I also hope she is not going to be a burden to UK society simply by being a benefits drone and I also would hope that if she breaks the law for any reason, she's out and on the next plane home. I also realise the way the law and benefits system now works here that she could do either of those things and still remain here which doesn't strike me as fair at all. I also wonder what happened to the first safe country principle that's supposed to be used for claiming asylum rather than the first rich country rule that seems to be high on the agenda of a lot of refugees. Nor do I have any time for those who claim asylum as economic refugees, still this seems genuine and I have no problem with genuine, I do have a major problem in that the genuine seem to be well outnumbered by those who just wish to stay because this is a better place to stay rather than because they are genuinely being persecuted. I'm also wondering if claiming that your sexuality is an issue will take over from the "right to a family life" which seems to have been a favourite.
Like many others I have no problem with being a safe haven for genuine cases, I do however suspect that the legal profession is taking the piss with a good few cases and technicalities, not circumstances have allowed a good few to remain when really they should have been sent home.

2 annotations:

Sue said...

Jamaica? I'm sorry. It's hardly what you would call a "war zone". There are many dangers that face gay people even in the UK (Tower Hamlets for instance). The gay community either stay away from those areas or keep their sexuality private.

Being gay is dangerous in countries that put homosexuals and lesbians to death, not those that give gays a "bit of hassle".

English Pensioner said...

I wonder if they asked her to prove that she was gay; if there is no test, we could end up with the entire population of Jamaica (and several other countries) living here.