One third of gay asylum seekers in US from Jamaica

| 15/02/2011

(Washington Post): Despite its image as a laid-back island paradise for American tourists, Jamaica still criminalizes sodomy and has long been regarded by human rights activists as virulently anti-gay. The US government doesn’t track how many people are granted asylum on the basis of homophobia or what countries they are from. But of the 92 gays and lesbians who won asylum in 2010 with the help of Immigration Equality, an immigrant gay-rights group, 28 were from Jamaica – meaning that nearly a third were from a single country ranked 138th in world population. Advocacy groups say they also regularly see asylum seekers from other English-speaking Caribbean countries, such as Barbados and St. Lucia.

"The Caribbean is the part of the world where we see the highest number of cases," said Victoria Neilson, legal director at Immigration Equality, which estimates that it handles about half of all successful asylum cases brought on behalf of gay and lesbian foreigners.

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