March 17, 2023

LGBTQIA+ immigrants forced to share locked rooms with violent homophobes in the UK's detention centers

Immigrant detention centers in the UK are designed to hold immigrants who are awaiting immigration hearings, deportation, or removal. Recently, there have been shocking reports and alarming concerns raised by human rights organisations, legal advocates, and LGBTQIA+ groups about subjecting LGBTQIA+ migrants to harsh conditions and mistreatment.

Reports are indicating the disrespectful treatment of LGBTQIA+ immigrants in the UK detention centres, including being forced to share locked rooms with LGBTQIA+-phobic individuals who may be hostile and violent towards them and ignoring their complaints as well. The victims said that they had been targeted directly with different forms of violation such as verbal homophobic bullying, intimidating threats, spitting on the face, and even physical assault from other detainees in the immigration detention centers.

Many LGBTQIA+ migrants flee their home countries due to persecution or discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and have several mental health issues including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and so on, and that is exacerbated inside detention, or they may face similar risks there, especially with a long duration of the detention.

Besides, some of the authorities of the detention centers also have been accused to be neglectful or taking inappropriate even sometimes offensive reactions to homophobic actions reported by LGBTQIA+ detainees. Despite reporting the violations and mistreatments to staff, they were not moved to a new room. Those all make the system faces significant criticism.

These issues highlight the urgent need for greater protection and support for LGBTQIA+ migrants in the UK immigration system. Immigration detention centres are totally dangerous places for LGBTQIA+ people.  

In 2016, the government acknowledged that trans and intersex people are "particularly vulnerable to harm" and should not be detained - but gay, lesbian, bisexual, and non-binary people were not included. Regarding recent reports, it is expected that the government takes immediate action realising that detention is not safe for ‘’all’’ LGBTQIA+ people and it should be an end to the immigration detention of them.