Border agency officers have been asking claimants to commit lewd acts in order to prove their sexual identity, it has been revealed.

The practice was criticised in a Commons committee report which saw asylum seekers waiting for up to 16 years for a decision.

But in the case of some who were fleeing from countries where they are persecuted because of their sexuality, there were many instances where they were asked to provide sexual photographs of themselves, to prove they are gay.

Some claimants were forced to provide photographic or video evidence of “highly personal sexual activity” to caseworkers.

MPs also reported that pregnant women were repeatedly moved around the country to satisfy bureaucratic requirements.

In addition, many asylum seekers were placed with sub standard or unstable accommodation, by private firms.

The report said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had raised concerns about the UK asylum process, and stated it was failing to find appropriate ways of assessing applicants.

Maurice Wren, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “The findings of this report reflect the grave concerns about the asylum system in the UK that we and many others have been highlighting for years.

“Failing to treat asylum seekers with dignity and, simultaneously, failing to deal effectively and fairly with their claims has created an expensive and counter-productive bureaucratic nightmare that all too often denies vulnerable people the protection from persecution and oppression they desperately need.”

There was evidence that far from improving, the backlog of asylum claims was actually getting worse. Some 32,600 claims which were supposed to be resolved in 2011 are still pending, leaving the applicants in a legal limbo where they are not allowed to work or claim benefits.

This lies in stark contrast to the predominantly false claims in the mainstream media, that asylum seekers are ‘living it up’ at the expense of the hardworking taxpayer.

There was also concern about the quality of the decisions made, with 30% of appeals succeeding in 2012.

Ironically, the report also revealed that instead of safeguarding the country, the system could actually make it easier for foreign criminals who are then able to ‘get lost’ in the system, because of its bureaucracy and sluggishness.

Jonathan Ellis, head of policy at the British Red Cross, said that many people who flee to this country still do not have enough to meet their basic needs.

He added: “We see many vulnerable people suffering in appalling conditions because they simply do not have enough to survive on as they battle through the asylum process – homelessness and hunger are the very real results of a system that is broken.”
According to the migration observatory, asylum applicants and their dependents comprised an estimated 7 per cent of net migration in 2011, down from 49 per cent in 2002, but up from 4 per cent in 2010.

It is also no coincidence that the vast majority of asylum seekers come from war-torn countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Libya and Pakistan.

The figures also show that resolution of crises as well as EU enlargement seemed to reduce the numbers of asylum seekers in the UK.

However, the vast majority of the worlds refugees are likely to flee to neighbouring countries with a culture similar to their own.

The root problem is that with war and global poverty being such a booming cash cow and control tool amongst the governments and their influencers, it is unlikely there will be any easy answers to the problem of immigration, not just in the UK but all over the world.

It is also true that some of the worst measures and regulations are first trialled on asylum seekers before being attempted on the general population. In the UK for example, the failed government proposals to introduce ID cards was first tested on immigrants and asylum seekers.

Therefore the sheer insanity of asking asylum seekers to ‘get dirty’ in a bid to prove they are gay, not only reeks of voyeurism and exploitation, but also sets a worrying precedent for the way UK citizens are treated.

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