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Asylum: Religion

Question for Home Office

UIN 40100, tabled on 9 June 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for the Government's policy on asylum of the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, entitled Asylum report: inadequate assessment of religion-based claims, published in June 2016.

Answered on

15 June 2016

We are currently carefully considering the report and its recommendations. The report acknowledges the progress made by the Home Office with regards to guidance and training provided to its staff but highlighted the Group’s view that there were some discrepancies between the Home Office policy and practice.

The Home Office carefully considers all asylum claims on their individual merits and grants protection for those who genuinely need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In every asylum case the particular circumstances of the individual are considered in light of published country information, which includes issues relating specifically to religious freedoms.

Published guidance on the interviewing and consideration of religious claims is regularly reviewed and takes into consideration the views of religious groups and other stakeholders.

All asylum decision makers are currently receiving credibility training. This course trains decision makers on how to assess the evidential value of their interview questions (including when assessing religious based claims and religious conversion), the various reasons why someone may not come across as credible in an asylum interview and discusses issues such as speculation and implausibility. The 5-week Foundation Training Programme (FTP) for new decision makers trains staff on all aspects of the asylum decision making process, including religious based claims and religious conversion has been endorsed by the UNHCR.

Answered by

Home Office