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Written Question
Afghanistan: LGBT People
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the safety of members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan.

Answered by Nigel Adams

We will use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and the gains made over the last two decades. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights, humanitarian access, safe passage and preventing terror. Minister for Human Rights Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure safe passage. As the Prime Minister said in his statement of 6 September, we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on women and girls and other vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people, is of deep concern. The Taliban must respect the rights of all minority groups, both now and in the future and we will hold them to account for their actions. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.


Written Question
Afghanistan: LGBT People
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he can take to protect members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan.

Answered by Nigel Adams

Minister for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on women and girls and other vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people, is of deep concern. The Taliban must respect the rights of all minority groups, both now and in the future and we will hold them to account for their actions. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.


Written Question
Asylum: Afghanistan
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to allow members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan to seek asylum in the UK.

Answered by Chris Philp

The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.  However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge.  Whilst we acknowledge the increasingly complex situation in Afghanistan, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here.  Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.

While we do not allow asylum claims from abroad, all asylum claims that are lodged from within the UK, including those from Afghan nationals that are based on sexual orientation or gender identity, will be carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Those who need protection will normally be granted five years’ limited leave, have full access to the labour market and mainstream benefits, and can apply for settlement after five years.

We do not remove asylum seekers who have had to leave their countries because their sexuality or gender identity has put them at risk of persecution and no one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there. Enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are also currently paused while we consider the situation.

The UK’s new resettlement scheme will, however, offer a route welcoming Afghans most at risk who have been forced to flee the country, prioritising resettling women, girls and children to the UK. Further details on the scheme will be published in due course.


Written Question
Afghanistan: LGBT People
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect members of the LGBT community in Afghanistan.

Answered by Nigel Adams

Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. The UK also led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure for safe passage.

As the Prime Minister said in his statement of 6 September, we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion. The impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on women and girls and other vulnerable groups, including religious and ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people, is of deep concern. The Taliban must respect the rights of all minority groups, both now and in the future and we will hold them to account for their actions. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.


Written Question
LGBT People: Human Rights
3 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LDEM - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support LGBTQ+ people who are imprisoned and mistreated in countries with poor human rights records.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The UK has a long-standing commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. The UK is fundamentally opposed to all forms of discrimination and works to uphold the rights and freedoms of LGBT+ people in all circumstances. Our Embassies and High Commissions monitor and raise human rights issues in their host countries. We urge the international community to address discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to promote diversity and tolerance. We also work with allies and partners through the multilateral system including the Equal Rights Coalition, the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to stand up for and defend human rights.

We continue to evolve approaches to tackle serious human rights violations and abuses around the world. For example on 6 July 2020, the Government established the Global Human Rights sanctions regime which gives the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses.


Written Question
Egypt: LGBT People
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the increased numbers of arrests of members of the LGBT+ community in Egypt.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of LGBT+ people and to supporting the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT+ people around the world.

Egypt is a human rights priority country for the UK. We are concerned about reports of torture and mistreatment in detention of LGBT+ people in Egypt. We regularly raise human rights with the Egyptian Government, which is well aware of our position on LGBT+ rights and we call on the government of Egypt to uphold and protect the rights of everyone in Egypt. We monitor and will continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities and internationally.


Written Question
Egypt: LGBT People
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with its Egyptian counterparts on LGBT+ rights in that country.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of LGBT+ people and to supporting the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT+ people around the world.

Egypt is a human rights priority country for the UK. We are concerned about reports of torture and mistreatment in detention of LGBT+ people in Egypt. We regularly raise human rights with the Egyptian Government, which is well aware of our position on LGBT+ rights and we call on the government of Egypt to uphold and protect the rights of everyone in Egypt. We monitor and will continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities and internationally.


Written Question
Egypt: LGBT People
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Peter Gibson (CON - Darlington)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications of reports of the torture of LGBT+ prisoners in Egypt.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of LGBT+ people and to supporting the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT+ people around the world.

Egypt is a human rights priority country for the UK. We are concerned about reports of torture and mistreatment in detention of LGBT+ people in Egypt. We regularly raise human rights with the Egyptian Government, which is well aware of our position on LGBT+ rights and we call on the government of Egypt to uphold and protect the rights of everyone in Egypt. We monitor and will continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities and internationally.


Written Question
LGBT People
19 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2021 to Question 21124 on LGBT People, if he will publish the details of the targeted international LGBT rights programmes funded by his Department.

Answered by Wendy Morton

The UK government is committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT+ people. Our overseas missions prioritise engagement with local human rights defenders and we have consistently committed funding to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. In 2020/21 the UK committed £5.47 million to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. For more information on some of our programmes, see the FCDO's 2020 Annual Human Rights Report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999607/Human_Rights_and_Democracy_the_2020_Foreign__Commonwealth___Development_Office_report.pdf


Written Question
Philippines: LGBT People
2 Jul 2021

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he plans to take to challenge impunity for killings of LGBTI defenders in the Philippines.

Answered by Nigel Adams

The UK is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT+ people. We are fundamentally opposed to all forms of discrimination and work to uphold the rights and freedoms of LGBT+ people in all circumstances.

The UK remains concerned about reports of human rights abuses in the Philippines, including as part of the "war on drugs", and the treatment of some human and land rights defenders and journalists. We note with concern reports of the killings of LGBT+ activists. I regularly raise human rights with the Philippines Government and last discussed this issue with Philippine Foreign Minister Locsin on the 23 March. The British Embassy in Manila continues to support the LGBT+ community in the Philippines through events and advocacy.


Written Question
Hungary: LGBT People
24 Jun 2021

Questioner: Catherine West (LAB - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government has expressed concerns on the recent changes to LGBT+ legislation in Hungary to representatives of the (a) EU and (b) Hungarian Government.

Answered by Wendy Morton

The UK is concerned by measures that discriminate against the LGBT+ community in the law passed by the Hungarian parliament on 15 June. We firmly support the rights of LGBT+ people, and condemn discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which all citizens can live freely without discrimination, and where all citizens, including LGBT+ people, can play a full, equal and active part in an open society.

I tweeted my concern about this legislation on 21 June. The Prime Minister raised his significant concerns about human rights in Hungary, including LGBT+ rights, when he met Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán on 28 May.


Written Question
EU Countries: LGBT People
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Catherine West (LAB - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on threats to LGBT+ rights throughout the continent.

Answered by Wendy Morton

The UK Government is proud to defend LGBT+ rights worldwide through our global network. We work through existing international mechanisms and institutions to promote tolerance and non-discrimination against LGBT+ people and to address discriminatory laws. We regularly raise LGBT+ human rights issues with our EU counterparts, and as the current host of the Council of Europe's LGBTI Focal Points Network (EFPN). In May, the UK - in partnership with Cyprus - hosted a virtual conference to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) 2021 where we discussed domestic initiatives to advance LGBT+ rights and equality in Europe.


Written Question
LGBT People: Human Rights
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Black of Brentwood (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association Curbing deception: a world survey of legal restriction of so-called "conversion therapies", published in 2020, what assessment they have made of its findings, especially its strategies to restrict conversion therapy practices.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

The Government will ban conversion therapy. The ban will cover both sexual orientation and gender identity. How we ban these practices is a complex issue that we must get right. Officials continue to consult a range of organisations with diverse views. As well as this consultation, officials continue to assess the most up-to-date evidence, including that of the UN’s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course. The Government is working at pace on this issue and will outline its plans shortly.


Written Question
LGBT People: Human Rights
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Black of Brentwood (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity Report on Conversion Therapy, published in February 2020, what assessment they have made of its findings; and what plans they have this year to take forward the recommendation to ban conversion therapy.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

The Government will ban conversion therapy. The ban will cover both sexual orientation and gender identity. How we ban these practices is a complex issue that we must get right. Officials continue to consult a range of organisations with diverse views. As well as this consultation, officials continue to assess the most up-to-date evidence, including that of the UN’s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. We have also undertaken research to understand practices, experiences and impacts associated with conversion therapy and will publish this in due course. The Government is working at pace on this issue and will outline its plans shortly.


Written Question
Russia: LGBT People
22 Feb 2021

Questioner: Virendra Sharma (LAB - Ealing, Southall)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Russian counterpart on (a) the recent abduction of two gay Chechen men in Western Russia by uniformed Chechen security officials and (b) the wider treatment of LGBT people in Russia.

Answered by Wendy Morton

We remain deeply concerned about the continuing persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya. Persecution for being LGBT, anywhere in the world, is abhorrent. As we state in our Travel Advice, there are credible reports of arrest, torture and extrajudicial killing of LGBT people in Chechnya. In December 2018 the UK was one of 16 countries to invoke the OSCE's Moscow Mechanism, requiring an independent OSCE investigation. The OSCE Moscow Mechanism's independent 2018 report confirmed allegations of serious human rights violations in Chechnya against LGBT people and other groups including unlawful detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. We continue to urge Russia to implement the recommendations made in the Moscow Mechanism report and to end the climate of impunity for human rights abusers in Chechnya.

On 10 December 2020, we announced designations under our autonomous Global Human Rights sanctions regime, including those responsible for the ongoing torture and murder of LGBT people in Chechnya. We continue to raise our concerns about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya with the Russian Government at all levels. On 17 November 2020, I raised this with my counterpart, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov.