MPs to examine fairness of the UK asylum process
27 September 2021
MPs on the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee are to scrutinise the current UK asylum process, investigating how far individuals fleeing persecution are able to seek asylum in the UK in a safe and fair manner.
Noting reports that asylum claims by lesbian and gay people are rejected at a higher rate than other asylum claims [The UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group], the inquiry will ask whether those with certain protected characteristics (as defined in the UK’s Equality Act) are more or less likely to be granted asylum in the UK. It will also examine the mechanics of the asylum process to assess how far the Government is able to address discrimination or specific dangers for those with protected characteristics within the existing framework.
As part of the inquiry, Equality and the UK asylum Process, the Committee will separately scrutinise the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, looking at early evidence of how people with a range of protected characteristics are experiencing the scheme, and measures needed to support them.
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The Committee is therefore seeking written submissions by Monday 8 November addressing any or all of the following topics.
Asylum and protected characteristics
- What is the nature and extent of UK asylum claims based on discrimination or persecution relating to the protected characteristics?
- Are those with certain protected characteristics more or less likely to be granted asylum in the UK
- What is the nature and extent of the dangers for those with protected characteristics who are seeking asylum in the UK?
The asylum process for individuals with protected characteristics
- Is the UK asylum process safe and fair for those with protected characteristics?
- Are individuals with certain protected characteristics more at risk of harm or unfair treatment when going through the UK asylum process?
- Are particular protected characteristics given priority in the asylum process?
- What challenges do those with protected characteristics face on the basis of those characteristics if they are granted asylum in the UK?
- What specific issues do those with certain protected characteristics face?
- Do current domestic and international laws and conventions governing the UK’s asylum process provide effective protection against discrimination for those with protected characteristics?
- How is the Government addressing any discrimination or specific dangers for those with protected characteristics in the asylum process, and what more could be done?
- How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected those with protected characteristics who are seeking asylum?
Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme
- In what ways does the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme differ from other routes to claiming asylum?
- Are people resettled through the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme more likely to be facing persecution based on certain protected characteristics?
- What measures are needed to support people with certain protected characteristics arriving via the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme route?
- The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. The Committee encourages members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence.
Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, said:
"Given that many of those seeking asylum in the UK do so to escape persecution, it is essential that our own asylum process is a safe and fair space, free from discrimination. We will thoroughly examine the system in order to understand any existing inequalities and how these can be rebalanced.
It is also important that people with protected characteristics are safeguarded and supported whilst in the system. The UK must be a welcoming place for those fleeing discrimination, and a safe asylum process is vital."
Image: Crown copyright