Monday, August 14, 2006

Asylum (Designated States)

From Lord Avebury P0613081

Tel 020-7274 4617

August 13, 2006

Dear Mr Byrne,

In the debate on the Asylum (Designated States)(No 2) Order 2005 on November 24, 2005, I asked Steve Bassam (col 1812) whether the Secretary of State would agree to refer the question of partial designation in respect of gays, in particular in the case of Jamaica, to the advisory panel, and he said this was

‘a valid point which I am sure will be relayed to the Home Secretary’.

However, I never had any official comment on the proposal, and would be grateful if you could let me know whether it was ever referred to the Secretary of State, and with what outcome?

I was reminded of this matter by an Amnesty International Urgent Action on Cameroon (AFR 17/003/2006 of July 7, 2006) about a group of young men who had been detained on account of their sexual orientation on Yaoundé. One of them died shortly after he was released, from an illness he had contracted before his detention, though one doesn’t imagine he received proper medical attention while in custody. Seven others were found guilty of practising homosexuality and two were acquitted, but all none spent 10 months in prison. Amnesty International comments that homophobia is endemic in Cameroon.

There is no regular COI report on Cameroon, but the number of principal applications from Cameroon in Q1 2006, the latest quarterly figures, was exactly the same as the number from Algeria, which does have a COI twice yearly report. On the RDS site there is a report of a fact-finding mission of January 17-25, 2004, according to which the British High Commission ‘knew of few, if any, cases of prosecution [under Article 347a of the Penal Code]’. Will you please see that a note is added to the mission report giving details of the Amnesty International UA, and of any other cases which may have been reported since January 2004? Otherwise, there is a risk that immigration judges and practitioners might be misled by the out of date statement quoted.

Yours sincerely,

Liam Byrne Esq MP,
Home Office,
2 Marsham Street,
London SW1P 4DF

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