May 19, 2023

The UK's Migration Bill to process asylum seekers in Rwanda puts LGBTQIA+ people at risk, warn charities

The UK government's plan to send asylum seekers who arrive via the Mansh Channel or in the back of a lorry to have their applications processed in the "third countries" including Rwanda. The Migration Bill has been repeatedly stalled by legal issues since it was announced in April 2022. LGBTQIA+ asylum charities have warned that the UK's Illegal bill, which would allow for the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda or any other unsafe locations for LGBTQIA+ people, would put them at further risk of harm, as Rwanda has a history of discrimination and abuse towards the LGBTQIA+ communities. Maria, a Rwandan woman who struggled with accepting her sexuality due to her Christian upbringing, hoped that the UK deal would bring change to the LGBTQIA+ communities. However, increased visibility is putting stress on queer people in Rwanda, leading to incidents of outings and harm. Innocent, a gay man from Rwanda, who arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker after a priest tried to change his sexual orientation, has previously spoken about why he was forced to leave his home country.

`Despite The Home Office acknowledging in its official foreign travel advice that LGBTQIA+ people can experience queerphobic actions in Rwanda, Home Secretary ‘’Suella Braverman’’ has defended the policy. Rainbow Migration, an LGBTQIA+ charity, has urged the government to focus on creating a compassionate and caring asylum system that treats people with kindness. The Home Office has stated that everyone will be individually assessed, and no one will be relocated if it is unsafe or inappropriate for them.