Politics

Home Office admits LGBT refugees could face discrimination under Rwanda plan



H

ome Office documents have admitted LGBT refugees sent to Rwanda could face discrimination.

Under the plans, adults who come into the UK without authorisation could be considered for relocation to Rwanda.

Critics have raised concerns about Rwanda’s human rights record, with the Refugee Council describing the offshoring scheme as “cruel and nasty”.

In assessments published Monday night, Home Office documents state “investigations point to ill treatment being more than one off” but claim it is not systematic.

It states: “In relation to Rwanda, as analysed above there are concerns over the treatment of some LGBTQI+ people but we will continue to consider the impact on this group and take into account further evidence over the course of the partnership.”

Trans people may be particularly affected, it states, and said there was “evidence that transgender persons who are likely to be more visible than others in this group may face greater risk of ill-treatment such as arbitrary arrests and detention as well as degrading treatment”.

It also added there was evidence trans people may be “also more liable to sexual and gender-based violence”.

A separate document, a general assessment of Rwanda, states: “Lack of reporting of crimes against LGBTIQ+ persons, due to stigma and fear of harassment, results in limited information on how police respond to, and protect, such persons.”

The document detailed society treatment of LGBT people is “mixed”, with reports of “discrimination in employment, eviction, ostracism from family and threats of violence”.

However, the policy documents insist Rwanda remains a safe third country and that “monitoring arrangements will be in place” to manage the risk of anti-LGBT discrimination.

Rwanda does not have specific laws barring discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, although the policy documents state “various other constitutional and legal safeguards exist”.

On Tuesday, Policing minister Kit Malthouse said the Government was “confident that the first people will be going in the next couple of months.”

Priti Patel had insisted Monday the Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda sends a “clear signal” to deter people traffickers but it will “take time” to implement.

The Home Secretary said she would use “every tool and every piece of legislation at our disposal” to remove migrants who arrive in the UK “illegally”.

The first group of people will be told this week that they could be deported to Rwanda, the Home Office has said.

However, the government department has been hit with several pre-action letters over the controversial policy, which could set the stage for a legal challenge.



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