Asylum Seekers

What is an asylum seeker?

An Asylum Seeker is a person who has left their native country and who is seeking asylum in another country due to risk of persecution as a result of their race, religious and/or political views, sexual orientation or membership of a particular social group.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender asylum seekers would be person’s fleeing persecution, and often torture, from their country of origin as a result of negative societal attitudes and practices against same sex attracted and/or gender diverse people, and governments who endorse and promote harmful cultural practices.

The European Convention on Human Right prevents the UK government from returning anyone to a country where there a risk to them and they are likely to experience serious harm such as a violence, torture, imprisonment or death. In order to claim asylum, a person would have to demonstrate to the Home Office through the asylum process, that the conditions in their country for those who are open, or perceived to be open about their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex, amount to persecution within their country of origin.

In order to be granted asylum, a person will need to satisfy the criteria set by the Home Office that they are a Refugee as described in the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. If you believe that you meet the criteria for asylum, you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to start your asylum application.

The Rainbow Project is currently working with a range of asylum seeker and refugee support networks. If you are an asylum seeker and wish to access support, The Rainbow Project can provide:

Co-cultural Counselling

-Gay Ethnic Group Social Support.



Personal development

-Signposting to asylum seeker support agencies  

-asylum process support.

You can contact our Migrant and Ethnic Minorities Officer – Chougher Maria Doughramajian by:


Telephone: 028 9031 9030

Mobile: 075 9748 4944

Useful contacts:

Migrant Help Northern Ireland

Free asylum helpline (open 24/7/365): 0808 8010 503      

Out of Hours for Urgent Trafficking Queries Only  – 02890 448449



Migrant Justice Project


Belfast City Mission
Tel: 02890 320557

Northern Ireland Law Centre
Tel: 02890 244401



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