Home Secretary Loses Bid To Remove Trans Asylum-Seeker To Singapore

Wed, 27 Apr 2016

The Home Secretary has lost in her attempt to remove a pre-operative trans woman to Singapore, where she would be forced to serve military service as a man, or punished with up to fifteen months imprisonment for refusing to serve. Military service only applies to men and not women in Singapore, where women are defined as cis-woman (born women) or post-operative women. If sent back to Singapore, the appellant, EFH would be forced to accept being treated as a man and live with men, including showering with them, or would need to undergo sex reassignment to evade service.  Punishment for refusing military service results in a fine and imprisonment, EFH’s refusal to be forced to modify, is on the basis that Singapore discriminates against her as they do not accept that she is a woman.

In a landmark determination, the Upper Tribunal has dismissed the Home Secretary’s appeal of a positive First-tier Tribunal determination, which had allowed EFH’s asylum and human rights appeal.  Lawyers for the Home Office argued that punishment for refusal to perform military service was not persecution, as it was not linked to discrimination. S Chelvan, counsel for EFH, sucessfully submitted that EFH's return to Singapore "would be returning a woman to her home country to be punished as a man".

There are currently no reported Upper Tribunal determinations on protection claims based on gender identity.

No5 Chambers’ Barrister S Chelvan was instructed by West12Solicitors.

West12 Solicitor's Press Release states:

 “For her, it means that she can now enjoy living a full life without compromise to her gender identity and to her personal integrity.  This is a basic right that is denied to her in Singapore.” 

Click here for Diane Taylor’s article in The Guardian

To view the press release from EFH’s solicitors please click here.

Upper Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (21 April 2016) (Home Secretary’s appeal dismissed)

First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (19 November 2015) (EFH’s appeal allowed)

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