October 23, 2014 – Reported by the Guardian.com – More than a tenth of Home Office interviews of gay and lesbian asylum seekers include “intrusive or unsatisfactory” questions about their sex lives, according to an investigation by the chief inspector of borders and immigration.
John Vine said the Home Office must eradicate unacceptable questioning in asylum interviews that query the validity of same-sex relationships or were likely to elicit sexually explicit responses.
The chief inspector cited examples of unsatisfactory questions that included asking why a gay asylum seeker felt the need to have sex every day when that was “not even normal in heterosexual relationships”.
In another case, an asylum seeker was aksed whether he had had “less than 100” sexual partners before his current boyfriend. In a third case, a gay asylum seeker was asked what a relationship with a man could provide that was absent from a hetreosexual partnership.
Vine was asked by the home secretary, Theresa May, to investigate the handling of gay and lesbian asylum claims after the Observer published extracts of an asylum interview this year, in which a Home Office caseworker had asked sexually explicit questions.
“None of the interviews in our sample contained sexually explicit questions of the type highlighted in the Observer article. We did, however, find some questions which, we considered, invited applicants to give sexually explicit responses that were likely to be irrelevant to their asylum claims,” said Vine.
“Other questions were either not relevant or appeared to be formulated to make claimants feel uncomfortable, for example by implying their sexual orientation was a deviance from a heterosexual norm.”
Vine said of the 112 interviews of gay and lesbian asylum seekers his investigation reviewed, about 12 or about 10% included intrusive or unsatisfactory questions. He said such questions were twice as likely to be asked in cases involving those who had been detained as part of the fast-track asylum process…