Another step deeper into the ‘charmed circle’. Gay asylum seekers cannot be deported to countries where they would have to hide their sexuality in order to avoid persecution.
Whilst I am against the piecemeal admission to the charmed circle, so perfectly described by John Ozimek, now Jane Fae, the decision, taken in isolation, is to be welcomed – as Judge Rogers said, what is protected is the applicant’s right to live freely and openly as a gay man.
However, the decision cannot be taken in isolation, for it was an important appeal against the desire of the UK borders Agency to deny leave to remain in the UK. This decision has effectively said that if you are gay, you are a protected species when it comes to deciding whether it is in Britain’s interests that you remain in the country.
The personal interests of someone originally outside of this community, trump the interests, carried out on our behalf by the UK Borders Agency, of our community interest.
Is Britain to admit all the people in Malawi, in Uganda, in Iran, in Cameroon, in a myriad of other countries, who have decided that it is in the interest of their community to outlaw homosexuality? In which case, we will acquire a remarkably unbalanced community.
It is one thing to pass laws in this country – with which I disagree – that admit classes of person, bit by bit, to the inner circle of those whose sexuality ‘we’ approve of, it is quite another to insist that we accommodate all those from other countries who have not yet campaigned so successfully to be admitted.
Had those two asylum seekers been outspoken proponents of sado-masochism this case would never have been decided in this way. It is precisely because the men were gay, and not advocates of any other non-approved activity, that they have been given a get-out-of-jail-card for the UK Borders Agency.
The majority of asylum seekers are young males, perhaps because of the arduous journey they make to arrive here. Can we now expect them to arrive two by two, hand in hand? Will someone point out to them that it is very common for men in the Middle East to walk hand in hand? How is the UK Borders Agency supposed to prove or disprove their sexuality? Will they soon be accused of ‘institutional homophobia’?
Human Rights law and Asylum law was never intended to provide a haven in Britain for everyone in the world living in a country whose laws they transgressed.
Our judiciary seem intent on turning a facility to accommodate the needs of a few genuine refugees from persecution and terror into an open border policy welcoming anyone who chooses to flout the law in their own land.
Lord Rogers went on to say:
If the tribunal concludes that the applicant would choose to live discreetly simply because that was how he himself would wish to live, or because of social pressures, e g, not wanting to distress his parents or embarrass his friends, then his application should be rejected. Social pressures of that kind do not amount to persecution and the Convention does not offer protection against them.
How very disingenuous, Lord Rogers, how many asylum seekers do you imagine will now say that if they went home, they would ‘choose’ to live discretely. None will be the answer.
Particularly since you go on to say:
On the contrary, the fact that he would feel obliged to take these steps to avoid persecution is, prima facie, an indication that there is indeed a threat of persecution to gay people who live openly. His country of nationality is therefore not affording him the necessary level of protection. So the receiving country should.
Game set and match Sir. Will you now provide asylum to all who claim that they would be persecuted for admitting adultery – perfectly acceptable in our community – but persecuted in some communities? for eveyone who has ever had an abortion?
Lord Rogers again:
The way he conducts himself may vary from one situation to another, with varying degrees of risk. But he cannot and must not be expected to conceal aspects of his sexual orientation which he is unwilling to conceal, even from those whom he knows may disapprove of it.
Why not? That is the very thing that is happening in Britain with the advent of the CRB checks, for the many people whose alternative sexuality is outside of the ‘charmed circle’ although not illegal.