by Benjamin Butterworth, Pink News
There has been a sharp change in the numbers of LGBT people seeking asylum, according to new figures.
Numbers confirmed to PinkNews by the Home Office show a rise of more than 400% in five years.
1,115 people cited sexuality is a reason for seeking refuge in the most recent figures, referring to 2014.
That’s a rise from 2009 when there were just 200 cases relating to sexuality.
The government has previously refused to disclose how many asylum applications it has actually accepted from LGBT people fleeing homophobic countries, amid reports of degrading treatment and Home Office challenges.
People can seek asylum in the UK on the grounds that they face persecution in their home country because of their sexuality or their gender identity.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott told PinkNews: “One of the reasons that people are claiming persecution has been due to a series of African governments introducing the death penalty for homosexuality.
“Take the example of Uganda. Whilst we have made incredible progress, in many parts of the world there has been a rise in threatening behavior towards homosexuals and repressive governments have had a crackdown.
“Due to the work that aid organizations have done and civil rights campaigners – more people have felt that they can be supported and seek refuge.”