Categories
WORK WITH US

REFUGEE ADVOCACY LEAD

Job Title: Refugee Advocacy Lead

Location: Office-based; open to flexible working arrangements from anywhere in England, with a preference for Manchester, London, Birmingham or Leeds, with some travel including to partner meetings.

Hours: Full time (37.5 hours/ week Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm)

Salary: £22,000 per annum (subject to annual cost of living review)

Leave: 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays rising after 24 months by 1 day after each year of service to maximum of 28 days per year

Contract: 1 year fixed term contract with possibility of extension depending on funding availability

Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer

Closing date: 5pm, Saturday, 25 June 2022

Interview date: Weeks commencing 4 & 11 July 2022. Interviews will be held in person, in 2 stages.

African Rainbow Family is looking for a dynamic Refugee Advocacy Lead passionately committed to upholding the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum at a critical time for the future of the asylum system and the rights of refugees.

We are a small but friendly and specialist team that campaigns for the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum from African heritage and wider BAME. We work with an extensive network of frontline partners to advocate for progressive change in the asylum and immigration system. We are based in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, London and Cardiff.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Advocacy

  • Lead and manage the advocacy service and manage cases of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum especially those of a complex nature.
  • Ensure service users have access to quality, pro bono or legal aid legal representation
  • Work with the CEO, Move-On and Integration Officer, Campaign and Communication Officer and Advocacy Assistants and consult with service users to develop African Rainbow Family’s advocacy support services in line with the changing needs and demands of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum.
  • Oversee empowerment events and support delivery of other teams’ events, ensuring all events achieve a professional standard and high quality.
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments and prioritise people to receive ARF’s services.
  • Work with legal partners, other ARF’s centres’ staff and volunteers to organise monthly asylum meetings.
  • Provide one-to-one advocacy, emotional or practical support in person or over the phone

People management and supervision

  • Recruit, train and manage a team of volunteer advocates to assist with delivery of social events and other services and respond to queries to the office.
  • Oversee and organise training for staff and volunteers within the advocacy team
  • Manage a team of part time Advocacy Assistants across our other centres– Advocacy Assistants, working one day a week in each centre.
  • Provide supervision to volunteers and Advocacy Assistants.

Benefits include:

  • 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays
  • Equipment to support remote working.
  • Flexible working policy.
  • Pension scheme.
  • Development and growth opportunities.
  • Free parking at our office.
  • Paid staff day off on their birthday
  • Paid 2 duvet days a year
  • Salary review
  • Employee reward scheme
  • Employee wellbeing support
  • Paid Sick leave after 6 months

Attachments

HOW TO APPLY: Download the job description and person specification from here, application form here and our Safer Recruitment Policy here. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to recruitment@africanrainbowfamily.org. For more information on this role or for an informal discussion please contact Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO: 07711285567. If you know of someone who might be interested in this vacancy, please ask them to get in touch.

You may wish to check our other job opportunities here.

We welcome applications from people of all abilities/disabilities and backgrounds as we believe that each person brings their own valuable experiences to what we do. We encourage people with lived experience of the UK asylum system to apply. The successful candidate must have the right to work in the UK, will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check and to disclose all non-protected criminal records at the point of conditional job offer.

Categories
WORK WITH US

CAMPAIGNS & COMMS OFFICER

Job Title: Campaigns and Communications Officer

Location: Office-based; open to flexible working arrangements from anywhere in England, with a preference for Manchester, London, Birmingham or Leeds, with some travel including to partner meetings.

Hours: 37.5 hours/ week (Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm)

Salary: £20,000 per annum (subject to annual cost of living review)

Leave: 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays rising after 24 months by 1 day after each year of service to maximum of 28 days per year.                      

Contract: 1 year fixed term contract with possibility of extension depending on funding availability.

Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer

Closing date: 5pm, Saturday, 25 June 2022

Interview date: Weeks commencing 4 & 11 July 2022. Interviews will be held in person, in 2 stages.

African Rainbow Family is looking for a dynamic Campaigns and Communications Officer, passionately committed to upholding the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum at a critical time for the future of the asylum system and the rights of refugees.

We are a small but friendly and specialist team that campaigns for the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum from African heritage and wider BAME. We work with an extensive network of frontline partners to advocate for progressive change in the asylum and immigration system. We are based in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, London and Cardiff.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Campaigning

  • Work collaboratively with and support local campaigns and networks working on asylum and refugee issues, in keeping with the aims and values of African Rainbow Family;
  • Strengthen existing networks by building campaigns capacity and expertise and broadening the engagement of additional local groups and activists;
  • Support and encourage LGBTIQ people with direct experience of seeking asylum to engage in campaigns;
  • Proactively identify influencing opportunities and mobilise support to capitalise on them;
  • Collate local evidence and case studies in support of identified UK-level campaigns and ensure these issues inform UK policy debates;
  • Support local organisations and networks to campaign on local issues where appropriate including working to influence local authorities, the UK Government, Members of Parliament, and UK Government Departments;
  • Share campaigning ideas and suggestions of best practice from other regions and nations;
  • Lead on the development and delivery of specific African Rainbow Family campaigns at a UK level.

Communications

  • Responsible for developing and leading key aspects of African Rainbow Family’s communications strategy.
  • Proactive and reactive press and PR, managing our digital infrastructure including email, social media, internal and stakeholder communications, storytelling and content creation.
  • Working with all teams in the organisation,
  • Responsible for building on the reach and reputation of African Rainbow Family with a focus on our key audience targets and people with lived experienced who are the foundation of African Rainbow Family.
  • Take the lead on creating engaging digital content and play an important role in the development of African Rainbow Family’s social media strategy.
  • Show sensitivity, kindness, be empathetic, collaborative and creative
  • Able to take African Rainbow Family to the next level.

Benefits include:

  • 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays
  • Equipment to support remote working.
  • Flexible working policy.
  • Pension scheme.
  • Development and growth opportunities.
  • Free parking at our office.
  • Paid staff day off on their birthday
  • Paid 2 duvet days a year
  • Salary review
  • Employee reward scheme
  • Employee wellbeing support
  • Paid Sick leave after 6 months

Attachments

HOW TO APPLY: Download the job description and person specification from here, application form here and our Safer Recruitment Policy here. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to recruitment@africanrainbowfamily.org. For more information on this role or for an informal discussion please contact Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO: 07711285567. If you know of someone who might be interested in this vacancy, please ask them to get in touch.

You may wish to check our other job opportunities here.

We welcome applications from people of all abilities/disabilities and backgrounds as we believe that each person brings their own valuable experiences to what we do. We encourage people with lived experience of the UK asylum system to apply. The successful candidate must have the right to work in the UK, will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check and to disclose all non-protected criminal records at the point of conditional job offer.

Categories
WORK WITH US

REFUGEE MOVING-ON & INTEGRATION OFFICER

Job Title: Refugee Moving-On and Integration Officer

Location: Office-based; open to flexible working arrangements from anywhere in England, with a preference for Manchester, London, Birmingham or Leeds, with some travel including to partner meetings.

Hours: Full time (37.5 hours/ week Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm)

Salary: £20,000 per annum (subject to annual cost of living review)

Leave: 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays rising after 24 Months by 1 day after each year of service to maximum of 28 day per year.                      

Contract: 2 years fixed term contract with possibility of extension depending on funding availability

Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer

Closing date: 5pm, Saturday, 25 June 2022

Interview date: Weeks commencing 4 & 11 July 2022. Interviews will be held in person, in 2 stages.

African Rainbow Family is looking for a dynamic Refugee Moving-On and Integration Officer, passionately committed to upholding the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum at a critical time for the future of the asylum system and the rights of refugees.

We are a small but friendly and specialist team that campaigns for the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum from African heritage and wider BAME. We work with an extensive network of frontline partners to advocate for progressive change in the asylum and immigration system. We are based in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, London and Cardiff.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide inspirational implementation, development, monitoring and evaluation of ARF’s Refugee Move-On and Integration processes.
  • Provide strategic direction to achieve funding targets and outputs.
  • Completing an initial needs and risk assessment for each person referred to service.
  • Providing person-centred and culturally sensitive support to beneficiaries.
  • Developing a personalised plan of support for each person and ensuring that the plan of support is reviewed regularly.
  • Completing online or paper forms for employment, welfare benefits etc.
  • Provide strategic direction to achieve funding targets and outputs.
  • Manage project systems and procedures, and ensure professional best practice and compliance with internal and funder requirements.
  • Monthly and annual reporting: collating beneficiary data, management and financial management reporting to the Chief Executive Officer.
  • Giving advice and support on a range of issues including housing, finance, education, employment, health and immigration, as required.
  • Supporting people with budgeting / registering with care providers / creating social networks / advocacy/ volunteering / training / employment opportunities etc.
  • Signposting to other relevant external agencies and referral partners as appropriate.

Benefits include:

  • 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays
  • Equipment to support remote working.
  • Flexible working policy.
  • Pension scheme.
  • Development and growth opportunities.
  • Free parking at our office.
  • Paid staff day off on their birthday
  • Paid 2 duvet days a year
  • Salary review
  • Employee reward scheme
  • Employee wellbeing support
  • Paid Sick leave after 6 months

Attachments

HOW TO APPLY: Download the job description and person specification from here, application form here and our Safer Recruitment Policy here. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to recruitment@africanrainbowfamily.org. For more information on this role or for an informal discussion please contact Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO: 07711285567. If you know of someone who might be interested in this vacancy, please ask them to get in touch.

You may wish to check our other job opportunities here.

We welcome applications from people of all abilities/disabilities and backgrounds as we believe that each person brings their own valuable experiences to what we do. We encourage people with lived experience of the UK asylum system to apply. The successful candidate must have the right to work in the UK, will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check and to disclose all non-protected criminal records at the point of conditional job offer.

Categories
WORK WITH US

REFUGEE ADVOCACY ASSISTANTS

Job Title: Refugee Advocacy Assistant x 4

Location: Office-based; open to flexible working with a preference for London, Birmingham and Leeds, with some travel including to partner meetings.

Hours: Part time (8 hours/ week, Monday to Friday – day to be arranged)

Salary: £21,547.5/annum pro rata (Actual: £4,596.80/annum, subject to annual cost of living review).There is opportunitand salary increase subject to funding.

 Leave: 23 days annual leave including Bank Holidays rising after 24 months by 1 day after each year of service to maximum of 28 days per year.                      

Contract: 1 year fixed term contract with possibility of extension depending on funding availability

Reporting to: Advocacy Lead

Closing date: 5pm, Saturday, 25 June 2022

Interview date: Weeks commencing 4 & 11 July 2022. Interview will be held in person, in 2 stages.

African Rainbow Family is looking for four dynamic part time Refugee Advocacy Assistants passionately committed to upholding the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum at a critical time for the future of the asylum system and the rights of refugees. Each Advocacy Assistant will be local to either Manchester or London or Leeds or Birmingham and work one day a week at our centre local to them.

We are a small but friendly and specialist team that campaigns and advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum from African heritage and wider BAME. We work with an extensive network of frontline partners to advocate for progressive change in the asylum and immigration system. We are based in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, London and Cardiff.

Key Responsibilities

  • Registering prospective new service users to and, when possible, making referrals to African Rainbow Family’s Moving-On and Integration and/or Campaign services, solicitors etc;
  • Providing non-legal and general information and signposting regarding the asylum process;
  • Visiting people in detention to provide support and collect or deliver documents for solicitors and others;
  • Liaising with solicitors in connection to specific cases e.g. attending legal appointments with vulnerable people seeking asylum;
  • Facilitating and enabling service users to write their personal statements (this process may take several sessions), writing letters of support, writing case reports on the background and current life of the claimant;
  • Providing one-to-one support when people are in vulnerable situations;
  • Making referrals to Freedom from Torture, Helen Bamber Foundation, Medical Justice etc.;
  • Working with doctors, social workers, mental health professionals and others supporting people seeking asylum;

Benefits include:

  • 23 days pro rata annual leave including Bank Holidays
  • Equipment to support remote working.
  • Flexible working policy.
  • Pension scheme.
  • Development and growth opportunities.
  • Flexibility around other commitments for part-time staff.
  • Paid staff day off on their birthday
  • Salary review
  • Employee reward scheme
  • Employee wellbeing support
  • Paid Sick leave after 6 months

Attachments

HOW TO APPLY: Download the job description and person specification from here, application form here and our Safer Recruitment Policy here. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to recruitment@africanrainbowfamily.org. For more information on this role or for an informal discussion please contact Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO: 07711285567. If you know of someone who might be interested in this vacancy, please ask them to get in touch.

You may wish to check our other job opportunities here.

We welcome applications from people of all abilities/disabilities and backgrounds as we believe that each person brings their own valuable experiences to what we do. We encourage people with lived experience of the UK asylum system to apply. The successful candidate must have the right to work in the UK, will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check and to disclose all non-protected criminal records at the point of conditional job offer.

Categories
JOB VACANCIES

JOIN OUR TEAM!

We are excited to be hiring for various positions: Advocacy Lead, Moving-On & Integration Officer, Campaigns & Communications Officer and 4 Advocacy Assistants. Could you be any of these? Then, we want to hear from you. Details below:

Please click on links below to apply for any of our job vacancies that might be of interest to you:

Click here for Refugee Advocacy Lead job application pack – £22,000 per annum (subject to annual cost of living review – 37.5 hours/week).

Click here for Refugee Advocacy Assistant job application pack – £21,547.5/annum pro rata (Actual: £4,596.80/annum – 8 hours/week).

Click here for Campaigns and Communications Officer job application pack – £20,000 per annum (subject to annual cost of living review – 37.5 hours/week)

Click here for Moving-On and Integration Officer job application pack – £20,000 per annum (subject to annual cost of living review – 37.5 hours/week).

Closing date for all positions: 5pm, Saturday, 25 June 2022

Interview date for all positions: Weeks commencing 4 & 11 July 2022. Interviews will be held in person, in 2 stages.

Benefits include:

  • 23 days pro rata annual leave including Bank Holidays
  • Equipment to support remote working.
  • Flexible working policy.
  • Pension scheme.
  • Development and growth opportunities.
  • Flexibility around other commitments for part-time staff.
  • Paid staff day off on their birthday
  • Salary review
  • Employee reward scheme
  • Employee wellbeing support
  • Paid Sick leave after 6 months
  • We Are a Living Wage Employer

HOW TO APPLY: Download the job description, person specification and application form from each position’s page as advertised here on our website. Read our Safer Recruitment Policy here. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to recruitment@africanrainbowfamily.org.

For more information on these roles or for an informal discussion please contact Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO: 07711285567. If you know of someone who might be interested in this vacancy, please ask them to get in touch.

We welcome applications from people of all abilities/disabilities and backgrounds as we believe that each person brings their own valuable experiences to what we do. We encourage people with lived experience of the UK asylum system to apply. The successful candidate must have the right to work in the UK, will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check and to disclose all non-protected criminal records at the point of conditional job offer.

Categories
CELEBRATING REFUGEE LESBIANS

LESBIAN VISIBILITY WEEK

ADERONKE APATA: Out & Proud Refugee Lesbian

It is Lesbian Visibility Week. African Rainbow Family is taking this week to educate to educate the public on the lives of Black and Brown coloured lesbian women who are either refugees or going through through through the asylum system.

A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to women emotionally, physically and sexually. Most definitions define lesbians as women who are sexually attracted to other women but they leave out the emotional part, the struggle to accept the love for women and themselves. Asexual women are lesbians too, so it is not just the sexual attraction that is present, it could be the physical attraction, or that you are attracted to personality as well.

VANESSA NWOSU: Out & Proud Refugee Lesbian

On several occasions or most times various people have argued about who can be called a lesbian. This is mostly seen in the LGBTIQ asylum system where lesbians are not believed to be lesbians due to stereotypes in characterising Black lesbians seeking asylum.

Characteristics such as being previously married and/or having children are used to discredit lesbians seeking asylum, who fall into these categories. These characteristics also affect the confidence of women who identify as lesbians but do not have those features. Most people wonder if there are any lesbian women or gold star lesbians still around today. It seems to be that the erasure of lesbian history attests to the fact that these characteristics do not fully describe who a lesbian is. Most people think women who are masculine-presenting are only lesbians.

“There are lesbians in different shapes, forms and colour.” Says, Aderonke Apata – Founder & CEO, African Rainbow Family.

On this day, it is important to note that there is no distinguishing factor that shows anybody’s sexuality. There are non-binary people who identify as lesbians, trans women who also identify as lesbians. There are women who are in arranged marriages who are lesbians and women with children who are lesbians as well.

Do you know that most women who have been previously married to a man but identify as lesbians are most times not believed by the Home Office?

This is one struggle that some of our (African Rainbow Family’s) service users face when they attend for their substantive asylum interviews and are asked questions like ‘have you been married before and to who/what gender’’? Such questions are as a result of the culture of disbelief in the asylum decision making system. It is however, forgotten that lesbian women can have children and/or could have been forced into arranged marriage to please the society and/or families.

This week we would love to make visible the lives of the people we support:

BENITHA KAMUHANGA: Out and Proud Lesbian Seeking Asylum

Everyone in African Rainbow Family also wants to put out a remembrance for one of our own, Kittanna Hendickson (Kate), a trans woman and a service user in one of African Rainbow Family’s centres in Leeds, who died this month.

KITTANNA HENDICKSON (KATE): Out and Proud Refugee Trans Woman

Kate was lively and always participated in all our meetings, and also contributed to our activities. It is a sad news for us and we pray that Kate’s soul rests in peace. Our thoughts are with Kate’s family and friends.

“Kate was a kind hearted person who enjoyed life and a lot of travelling. Kate was an out and proud trans woman, part of African Rainbow Family and gave love to everyone she came across.” Aderonke Apata continues.

“We remember you Kate, your story will not be forgotten’.’

We also hope that the health system is improved and accessible for trans women, non-binary people.

African Rainbow Family says: “Protect and respect the lives of trans, non-binary, lesbian women and gay men.”

End

BY NESSAKEM NWOSU – TRUSTEE, AFRICAN RAINBOW FAMILY

Categories
Uncategorized

African Rainbow Family: Impact & Learning Report 2020

Introduction

About this report

This report provides a brief introduction to Manchester Migrant Solidarity (MiSol) and African Rainbow Family (ARF) and an overview of the work the organisations have carried out in 2020. It describes the impact that MiSol/ARF’s work has had on its Members and what has been learned from this.

The report has been written by an independent consultant, Sophie Ahmad, with support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It draws on interviews with MiSol/ARF’s Founder and six of its nine Coordinators/Assistant Coordinators, and on a discussion group with 14 other Members (from MiSol in Manchester and ARF’s four branches in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London).

You can download the report here.

This is the first time that MiSol/ARF have produced an impact and learning report and the first time that Members have been invited to share their perspectives as part of an independent process. It is hoped that this report will be of interest to Members of MiSol/ARF, and their partners and funders. Although this has been a relatively brief, limited, exercise, it is hoped that it will prove useful in informing future approaches to evaluation and learning at both organisations.

We are very grateful to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for commissioning this independent report for us.

Categories
#BAME #Coronavirus #Covid-19 Asylum Seekers Campaign equality Health Human right Justice LGBT LGBT Rights Mental Health News Politics Press Release Protest UK Uncategorized Well Being wellbeing

MY TAKE ON THE NEW ASYLUM ASPEN CARD DEBACULE

An Aspen Card, as described by Privacy International  “is a debit payment card given to UK asylum seekers [people seeking asylum] by the Home Office. The Aspen Card provides basic subsistence support, but purchases on the card are closely monitored by the Home Office, making it an insidious surveillance tool.”

I believe that changes should not be made if there is going to be major failures. I liken the changes made to the Aspen card by the Home Office to the COVID-19 vaccine. Trials are made but the vaccine is not used immediately until there is 99% confidence in its success rate. With the Home Office Aspen cards, the opposite is the case.

On 21 May 2021, the Home Office basically introduced the change from one Aspen card provider, Sodexo to another, Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) and did not trial it to see how effective it would be. Instead, PFS issued cards en mass to people seeking asylum. This seemed like a trial and is failing in all ramifications.

I would like to reiterate that most people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom are given £39.63 a week as subsistence and also not allowed to work till their case is determined. This could take years. The £39 a week subsistence is not enough to cover basic needs. Now most people seeking asylum have not received the new Aspen cards. Where some have received them, there is no money in them. Some of these cards are being sent to wrong addresses or recipients.

This is absurd because this has been going on for weeks now and individuals/families are having to go without food or rely on food banks. More details can be found in the Guarding news:“Thousands of asylum seekers go hungry after cash card problems”

Charities such as African Rainbow Family and other organisations are being overburdened with this issue. These Charities are speaking out but as usual, just like the demands to increase the support, this demand is being kept in a waiting list or queue with the rest of our demands.

I call this inhumane because we should call a spade a spade. I am calling for the Home Office to look into this immediately!

You can make a donation towards food parcels for people seeking asylum here.

A big thank you to African Rainbow Family and other organisations that are supporting people seeking asylum with food parcels. I do urge people to support by raising their voices, donating and so on.

You can make a donation towards food parcels for people seeking asylum here.

End

BY NESSAKEM NWOSU – TRUSTEE, AFRICAN RAINBOW FAMILY.

Categories
#BAME Diversity equality Freedom Gay Health Human right Justice Lesbian* LGBT LGBT Rights News Refugees sexual orientation Solidarity Trustee Uncategorized

Join our Trustee Board!

We are recruiting for new Trustees to join our Trustee Board!

African Rainbow Family (ARF) is a small registered charity (registration number 1185902) that support LGBTIQ people of African heritage and the wider Black Asian Minority Ethnic groups. ARF was established in 2014 in the wake of some Commonwealth countries in Africa’s toxic and draconian anti-gay laws which seek to criminalise LGBTIQs for the preference of whom they choose to love. ARF provides practical support for LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum and campaigns for global LGBTIQ equality.

We need experienced members of the public to join our existing Board. We are particularly keen to recruit members who have one or more of the following skills:

  • Experience of managing a growing and dynamic independent organisation
  • Financial management – able to act as our treasurer.
  • Experience of managing press and publicity.
  • Experience in a secretarial role.

 For further details please click here or below for the Trustee’s Advert

To apply, please click here or below for the Application Pack

Closing date: 5pm Wednesday 30th June, 2021.

Need more information? Contact us at:

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

07711285567

Categories
Asylum Seekers Campaign equality Freedom Gay Human right Justice Lesbian* LGBT LGBT Rights News Refugees sexual orientation Solidarity UK

The Future of The Asylum System – UK

For explanation purposes, seeking asylum means seeking protection from strict laws, death penalties, inhumane laws and maybe wars.

photo credit: Vanessa

The asylum system which was designed literally to protect every now and then, seeks to go against the main purpose it was created for. I will explain how.

As a lesbian woman who has to prove that I am a lesbian in order to get protection here in the United Kingdom (UK), I have to provide evidence of my sexuality. How is it expected that someone running from a homophobic country and who has been in the closet for most of her life, to give evidence of that.

Also disclosing information about the women that one must have dated in hiding or even asking them for letters and/or any evidence to corroborate one’s story is in fact a security breach.

Some of us who are out or were outed, move out to enjoy the LGBT scene by going to pride, gay bars, speaking up against homophobia, racism and discrimination and it is no longer a secret. It means that if one ever goes back to one’s own country of origin, that person is risking their life.

Some people think that putting ourselves out there might just be for the asylum process but no, it is like getting out of prison and wanting to do everything that one could not do when in chains.

That is how an LGBT person seeking asylum feels in a country where they can be themselves even though the asylum process makes it hard for one to enjoy that.

The new rules, that are about to kick off are extremely difficult and absurd. They include:

  • Housing people seeking asylum in reception centres, potentially overseas, while their asylum claims are being processed.
  • Moving those refused asylum through a fast-tracked appeals process and curtailing the right to challenge refusal decisions.
  • Requiring all evidence to be submitted at the beginning of the asylum process, telling judges to “give weight” to evidence raised alter and requiring a higher standard of proof for these.
  • “Clarifying” what qualifies as a “well founded fear of persecution” and making it “much harder” for people to be granted refugee status based on “unsubstantiated” claims.

I wonder what intent Priti Patel, The Secretary of State for the Home Department, actually has for the future of the asylum system because it is not to protect anymore but to refuse protection.

Keeping people seeking asylum in reception centres is not safe especially for an LGBT person. More especially for a gay man, transgender, lesbian woman etc.

Already there have been complaints about abuse in the asylum housing system. Imagine how it would then be like in reception centres that might not actually be in the country that one has put in one’s asylum application for protection.

The idea of “requiring all evidence to be submitted at the beginning of the asylum process, telling judges to give “minimal weight” to evidence raised later and requiring a higher standard of proof” is impractical and outright wicked to say the least because it means as an LGBT person seeking asylum, if you do not have a proof of your sexuality from the start then you are not valid and could be turned away.

Let us be practical here, a lesbian woman from Nigeria or Ghana who is obviously running for her life or has been in hiding, dating a woman behind closed doors and looking for a way out, puts in her asylum application and is asked for evidence from the start when all she has is her story and stories of the homophobic laws in her country which can easily be found on the internet. How can she provide proof of same-sex personal relationships?

How unfair is it to this lesbian because sometimes even with all the proof and letters, one still gets their asylum application refused.

These proposals are so harsh and inhumane. When I look at the future of the asylum process for people like me who might want to live their lives devoid of fear, and if these proposals are passed it will become very difficult. It will in fact not be an asylum system that protects but a system that is toxic, blind to justice and human rights and/or lives.

I ask that people look into the different Home Office asylum proposals. Not just the ones that I spoke about but also the ones that stop children from uniting with their families. Speak up against these laws, show support and love for people in the asylum process because news like this can be heart breaking.

Join the cause to stop these laws. Donate to African Rainbow Family. Like and share this piece.

Ends.

By: Vanessa Nessakem Nwosu. 7th April 2021.

Trustee, Media Volunteer and Member

African Rainbow Family