In response to the publication of the full coalition agreement, which includes a commitment to explore new ways of speeding up the asylum system, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“It is in everyone’s interests that asylum seekers who have fled war, torture and persecution get a decision on their claim quickly. But it has to be the right decision. Many attempts to speed up the system have in the past simply backfired – as the wrong decisions are made, and a lengthy appeals process begins.
“The important thing is to get decisions right first time – that’s the real key to speeding up the process. This means putting more resources into the system at the beginning – ensuring all asylum seekers have access to good quality legal advice from the word go, for example.
“We are very pleased to see that the agreement includes a commitment to stop the deportation of asylum seekers whose sexual orientation or gender identity has put them at risk. It is about time that refugees fleeing their countries because of persecution over their sexuality are acknowledged as being legitimately in need of safety here, in line with those fleeing other human rights abuses.
“All three party leaders signed our pledge during the election campaign and promised to remember the importance of refugee protection. This is what an asylum system is for – to identify those whose lives are in danger and who need our help, so we are able to give them a second chance and the opportunity to give something back.”