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Profile of the week

Matthew Davies

Position

I joined Wilson Solicitors LLP in 1990 and qualified as a solicitor in 1992. I became a partner in the firm in 1997 and specialise in immigration law.

Your Week

This month Ana González  and I were invited by the International Commission of Jurists to Brussels to attend an expert roundtable on sexual orientation based asylum claims. The meeting was made up of experts from across the globe.

Our role was to contribute to a discussion which will feed in to the drawing up of guidelines for practitioners, decision makers and judges who are involved in asylum claims based on sexual orientation.

When I first started working in asylum matters, over 20 years ago, those who feared persecution because of their sexuality were not recognised for refugee status. This was because to qualify for refugee protection you have to fear persecution for one of five reasons. Sexuality, at the time, was not considered to be covered by one of these reasons.

Much has changed since then so that now you can get asylum if you fear persecution because of your sexuality. The expert roundtable was an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss new ideas as well as reflect on how far we have come

Wilsons has a long tradition of being involved in the campaigns and legal challenges around these issues. Members of our immigration team provide free advice to the charity UKLGIG which provides assistance to those with asylum and immigration problems arising from their sexuality.

 Challenges

We have come a long way in the last 20 years but there is still much more work to be done. Persecution of sexual minorities has increased in many parts of the world in recent years. Difficulties remain in getting protection, not least how to show what your sexuality is and whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that your fear of persecution is well founded.

 Future

The immigration team at Wilsons will continue to represent and advocate on behalf of persecuted sexual minorities. A bunch of us will also be running the Pride Run 10K on 9th August to raise funds for the valuable work of UKLGIG. If you would like to support us here is our fundraising page.