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Asylum: Religion

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of those who sought asylum cited a life threatening response to a change in religion as the main or a contributory factor in their application in each of the last five years. (290193)

The UK Border Agency does not collate data on the reasons why individuals have claimed asylum. The requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of case files belonging to individuals who have claimed asylum in each of the last five years.

Information on asylum is published annually and quarterly. Asylum Statistics United Kingdom and the Asylum Bulletin are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made for those seeking asylum to have their initial interview conducted by a person of a specific religious affiliation. (290194)

UK Border Agency case owners are trained to deal professionally and impartially with all types of asylum applications and a case owner’s faith should have no bearing upon his or her handling of an application. It would not be practical or desirable to exclude case owners from interviewing applicants due to the faith of either party. The UK Border Agency values the diversity of its workforce and it would be unacceptable to discriminate against those of a certain faith or ethnic background.