The Supreme Court has given hope to gay asylum seekers in the UK by rejecting government policies that expect gay refugees to hide their sexuality.
The UK’s home office has repeatedly returned lesbian and gay asylum seekers back to their countries of origin insisting that they can avoid homophobic attacks or persecution by simply not being open about their sexual orientation.
In a case involving a refugee from Cameroon and another from Iran, the Supreme Court upheld the men’s right to appeal against their repatriation.
“To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny him the fundamental right to be who he is,” said Lord Hope who read out the judgement.
“Homosexuals are as much entitled to freedom of association with others who are of the same sexual orientation as people who are straight,” he added.
The case had been contested by the previous government, but the new coalition government responded favourably to the judgement.
“I welcome the ruling of the supreme court, which vindicates the position of the coalition government,” said Home Secretary Theresa May.
“We have already promised to stop the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution,” she added.