Saturday, 10 July 2010

BBC: Gay asylum seekers from Iran and Cameroon win appeal

Two gay men who said they faced persecution in their home countries have the right to asylum in the UK, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The panel of judges said it had agreed "unanimously" to allow the appeals from the men, from Cameroon and Iran.

They had earlier been refused asylum on the grounds they could hide their sexuality by behaving discreetly.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the judgement vindicated the coalition government's stance.

Under the previous government the Home Office had contested the case, saying it had taken sexuality into account when making its decisions.

Fundamental right

The five Supreme Court justices were asked to decide whether a gay applicant could be refused asylum on the grounds that he could avoid ill treatment by concealing his sexuality.

Previous attempts by the men to stay in the UK had been rejected by judges at the Court of Appeal who ruled that if the men could conceal their sexuality, their situation could have been regarded as "reasonably tolerable".

But the applicants said this tolerability test was contrary to the Refugee Convention, to which the UK is a party.

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