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Pride Month - Challenges for LGBTQI refugees in the UK

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Pride Month is celebrated every year in June, when members of the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex + additional identities) community and their allies come together in solidarity to celebrate their culture and freedom, and to call for further rights globally.⁣

During this year’s Pride Month, it is important to remain cognisant of challenges currently facing the LGBTQI+ community. Such challenges are magnified for LGBTQI+ refugees who are already in vulnerable situations and facing discrimination.⁣

One such challenge has been presented recently by the UK home secretary, Priti Patel, with her plan to offshore refugees on a one-way ticket to Rwanda. In this new £120m scheme, paid for by the British taxpayer, there has been an alleged failure to identify risks facing LGBTQI+ people who have fled life-threatening situations in their home countries.⁣

A point of concern is that there is evidence of ill-treatment and abuse faced by LGBTQI+ people in Rwanda.⁣

Although homosexuality was decriminalised in Rwanda in 2010, the LGBTQI+ community remain stigmatised in society. For instance, Human Rights Watch reported last year that Rwandan authorities rounded up and arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people before a high-profile international conference.⁣

Despite this, the UK government’s assessment of Rwanda’s human rights record states that there were “not substantial grounds” for believing LGBTQI+ people would be at risk of treatment contrary to article 3 (freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European convention of human rights.⁣

The United Nations has firmly opposed the UK-Rwanda deal, saying offshoring schemes like these evade international obligations under the Refugee Convention and wealthy nations should provide their share of safety for asylum seekers.⁣

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