LGBTI refugees

Mon, 03 Mar 2014

As with all LGBTI asylum cases, the biggest issue that asylum seekers face is proving their sexual or gender identity to the authorities.  Recently leaked documents have shown that some questions being asked by officials are inappropriate and degrading, focusing on sexual conduct. (Please click here for links to articles on The Observer, where  S Chelvan comments on gay asylum seekers who face humiliation).

S Chelvan, No5 barrister specialising in LGBTI asylum cases, said, "In 99 percent of asylum cases, harm is not in the bedroom - it's outside the home by the mob or the state. It's because they don’t conform to a specific stereotype of heteronormativity - or how a straight person 'should' be. That's what identifies them and makes them a target for the persecutor."

Chelvan believes that genuine LGBTI people will be able to prove it to officials. He established some guidelines ‘DSSH – Difference, Stigma, Shame, Harm’, which are designed to ensure officials ask the right questions. Chelvan explains, "Difference, stigma and shame can be found in the majority of LGBTI the world over, it is harm that makes an LGBTI a refugee."

Further details can be found in articles published this week on the Deutsche Welle and Aljazeera websites.  Chelvan is currently in discussions regarding the DSSH model with the Home Office. He will additionally be providing training on the model at an ESOL conference at the University of Leeds, on the 29th of March 2014, and in  Malta, on the 15th of May 2014.

Please click here to view S Chelvan’s profile.

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