May 21: How anti-gay laws affect refugees, asylum-seekers

LHuman Dignity Trust logoondon-based Human Dignity Trust has scheduled a “a thoughtful, provocative and in-depth discussion exploring the impact of laws criminalising consensual sexual identity on asylum and refugee claims.”

The roundtable discussion, titled “Pride and Persecution,” will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 21 in London.

Scheduled topics of discussion include:

  • Are discriminatory criminal laws at the root of most persecution which leads to LGBTI refugees?
  • Is it possible for LGBTI people to claim asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity from jurisdictions that do not criminalise consensual same-sex sexual conduct?
  • Is the simple fact that criminal laws are on the statute book enough to establish persecution?

Leading the discussion will be Sarah Spencer, Chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum and Senior Fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), Oxford University. Panelists will include:

  • Neil Grungras, CEO of Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM), the San Francisico-based legal and policy NGO that addresses refugee, asylum and migration issues in relation to LGBT communities
  • Jason Pobjoy, doctoral candidate in law at Cambridge University and co-author with Professor James Hathaway of “Queer Cases make Bad law.”
  •  Matthew Davis, solicitor, part-time judge and co-founder of UK Gay and Lesbian Immigration Group (UKGLIG).
  •  A representative from the UK Border Agency (UKBA)

The discussion will be held at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Lecture Theatre, 65 Fleet Street, EC4Y 1HT.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Chris Atkinson at [email protected].

The Human Dignity Trust, founded last year, seeks to overturn countries’ laws against homosexuality by challenging them in national and international courts.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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