A Nigerian LGBT activist who previously sought asylum to live in Britain says Suella Braverman’s refugees treaty proposals would have seen him killed in an impassioned plea for the Home Secretary to reconsider.
Braverman used a speech in Washington about the UN Refugee Convention to argue that being gay is not enough to claim asylum.
The Home Secretary said that it is not “sustainable” to keep an asylum system “if in effect, simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection”.
She added that “where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary”, but was quick to suggest that this stance is not a viable long-term solution for Britain given the swathe of illegal migrants attempting to reach its isles.
Bisi Alimi has hit out at Suella Braverman
PA / GB NEWS
Braverman’s comments have been seized upon by her critics, including Labour MPs such as former cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw.
Another critic is Bisi Alimi, an LGBTQ+ activist who fled Nigeria in 2007 after coming out on a TV show in 2004 in response to rumours about his sexuality.
He was granted British citizenship in 2014, and is concerned that many suffering persecution in their home country as a result of their sexuality could suffer a worse fate than he was subject to.
“We have a backlog of over 100,000 people who are claiming asylum”, he told GB News.
“We have lawyers, doctors, nurses and care workers, people who will contribute to our challenged NHS at the moment are on our waiting list, not allowed to work and not allowed to contribute to the development of the United Kingdom.
“I feel like that is what we should be talking about now. To speak to the issue of presumption that because somebody is presumed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, that is not enough grounds for them to claim asylum.
Bisi Alimi speaks on GB News
“If my case had been based on the presumption of the current Home Secretary, I would have been killed.
“We expect people to show that their life is in danger, but we’re using Western civilisation barometer of what danger means.
“In the UK, what danger means is something like the police are after you or the court of law is after you, but in many countries, especially on the continent of Africa, this goes beyond the state.”
Chris Philp, a minister in Braverman’s Home Office, has defended the Home Secretary by asserting that some people falsely claim to be persecuted.
He told Times Radio: “When I was immigration minister, I came across a number of cases when people had claimed to be gay, produced photographs of them and a sort of same-sex partner and it turned out on further investigation it was a sibling, it wasn’t a same-sex partner at all.”
According to Home Office data, sexual orientation formed part of the basis for an asylum claim in 1% of all applications in 2021.
That was 77% fewer than in 2019, when sexual orientation made up 5% of all applications, and 7% in 2017.
The Government is facing hindrances in its bid to quell the high levels of unauthorised migration, namely with its Illegal Migration Act.
The reforms have been criticised by the UN’s refugee agency and are also tied up in the courts, with a deportation flight yet to take off.