"She doesn't believe gay people have value"
In an address to a US think tank, Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, is set to debate the relevance of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
She questions whether seeking refuge due to concerns of discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation should qualify for international protection.
Braverman argues that the Convention, originally crafted after WW2, has evolved from safeguarding those fleeing persecution to those fearing prejudice.
Her comments have drawn criticism from the Labour Party, who accuse her of “giving up” on asylum system issues.
The Home Secretary will suggest in her speech:
“As case law has developed, what we have seen in practice is an interpretive shift away from ‘persecution’, in favour of something more akin to a definition of ‘discrimination’.
“And a similar shift away from a ‘well-founded fear’ toward a ‘credible’ or ‘plausible fear’.
“The practical consequence of which has been to expand the number of those who may qualify for asylum, and to lower the threshold for doing so.”
According to the Centre for Policy Studies, over 780 million individuals worldwide could potentially qualify for asylum under the current interpretation of the Convention.
This includes people fearing persecution based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, social group, or political beliefs.
The UN, however, reported a significantly lower count of 35 million registered refugees in 2022.
Despite the geographic distance, Braverman’s comments are expected to ignite discussions in the UK.
A further extract of the speech says:
“Let me be clear, 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 status quo, where people are able to travel through multiple safe countries, and even reside in safe countries for years, while they pick their preferred destination to claim asylum, is absurd and unsustainable.”
While Braverman’s reform proposals face significant challenges, her speech initiates a debate on the UK’s migration stance.
Her remarks align with the government’s firm approach on the matter and could bolster her leadership ambitions within the Conservative Party.
However, there has been absolute chaos unfolding across the country toward Braverman’s comments.
Whilst the majority of the public disagrees with the Home Secretary’s comments, we wanted to understand if British Asians feel the same.
Professor Kishan Devani said on X (formerly Twitter):
“As a British Indian, I would like to put on record that many in my community reject Rishi Sunak, his right-wing Tory Party, & his divisive politics – being driven by the likes of Suella Braverman.
“We are all in this together & want a General Election now to save our country!”
He continued in another tweet:
“The likes of Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman & Priti Patel are an embarrassment to the British India/East African Asian community across our country.”
Imran Hussain MP responded to Suella Braverman directly, saying:
“Well, you’ve already tanked the economy, bankrupted everyone, and still not saved the country…”
Dr Amir Khan GP shared his thoughts on X:
“People get tortured and killed for being gay in some countries, for simply wanting to love someone from the same sex as them.
“This is homophobia loosely disguised as politics – it’s disgusting.”
Writer and professor, Pragya Agarwal, chimed in with her views:
“Does she even know how many countries prosecute, imprison, and execute people for being gay? 66 countries!
“Out of these, 12 countries impose the death penalty.”
Popular writer, Sathnam Sanghera, said on social media:
“Equally, being Home Secretary is not enough qualification to make you a serious person.”
We also spoke to some of the British Asian public to gather their opinions. Balvinder Sopal said:
“This woman…what world does she live in?
“She’s absolutely lost the plot and barely helps people from her own culture, let alone someone being gay.”
Roshan Singh, a worker in Birmingham, added:
“She doesn’t believe gay people have value. Join the dots, it’s getting boring now.”
Preety K, a student, expressed:
“It fits with the government policy about not caring for all citizens, irrespective of identity or sexuality.”
Another student, Deepak, originally from London said:
“People are in need of a better life but she is solely focused on power. I understand we can’t help everyone, but if we have the ability to do so, then why not?
“It’s the lack of empathy she has when speaking.
“As a female and a person of colour, you would expect her to relate to certain difficulties and hardships. But clearly not.”
Suhana Razia, a nurse, added:
“Of course, we can’t let people in who falsely identity as gay.
“But, what about those people who are getting killed for their sexuality? Why can’t they have a stronger screening process instead of turning their back?
“If I met Suella face to face, she’d definitely get a piece of my mind.
“All the Tories are the same, but I just can’t believe how distant these people are from basic human emotion.”
As reported by the BBC, in 2022, the UK received 1,334 asylum applications that included sexual orientation as a basis for the claim.
This accounted for 1.5% of the total 74,751 asylum claims submitted during that year.
The primary countries of origin for these applicants were Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria, all of which have laws criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts.
It’s worth noting that these asylum applications may not have been solely based on sexual orientation, as additional grounds could have contributed to the claims.
Furthermore, the available information does not provide insight into whether an applicant’s sexual orientation played a decisive role in the outcome of their asylum claims.