The government has said it will not introduce a time limit on detention and refused to recognise that LGBTQI+ people are at risk of harm in immigration detention centres. The refusals are part of the government’s response to the inquiry by parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee into immigration detention.
The UK is the only country in Europe not to have a time limit on immigration detention. Every year unknown numbers of LGBTQI+ people fleeing persecution on account of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics are locked up for indefinite periods of time in detention centres where bullying, abuse, and harassment are rife.
Several UN bodies have raised concerns about the detention of LGBTQI+ people and the lack of a time limit in the UK. In July, the government also rejected calls for a time limit by parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Last week, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) launched the #LendYourVoice campaign to raise awareness of the discrimination and dangers that LGBTQI+ people face in detention centres. Throughout September 28 LGBTQI+ celebrities and influencers are sharing the stories and injustices faced by of LGBTQI+ people in detention. Celebrities and influencers involved in the campaign include Great British Bake Off star Rav Bansal, author Juno Dawson, comedian James Barr, model and activist Jamie Windust, and singer and performer Toya Delazy.
Leila Zadeh, executive director of UKLGIG, said, “The government is exposing LGBTQI+ people to harassment and abuse inside detention centres. Detaining people indefinitely is additionally damaging to people’s mental health. There is support from across political parties for a time limit and we urge the government to treat people fairly and humanely”.
To add your name to the #LendYourVoice campaign and call for a time limit, go to timelimit.co./28days