LGBTI rights advocate Senthorun Raj will travel to San Francisco and London to learn more about LGBTI-based refugee claims around the world.

Raj, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby senior policy advisor, was awarded a Churchill Fellowship scholarship worth over $20,000 on Monday July 9. He will compare sexuality and gender diverse-based refugee claims in Australia, the UK and the US.

He said he was very grateful for the scholarship.

“I’m really looking forward to travelling overseas to meet some new people, to work with some new NGOs [Non-Government Organisations] and see what the experience is like in different countries.”

Raj studied a similar topic for his honours research, and said the Department of Immigration and Citizenship did not disclose the number of LGBTI-based claims made for refugee status.

“One of the critical problems is that there is limited public data available.”

He said “only a handful” of failed sexuality-based claims were appealed.

“We know that a lot of the decision makers or adjudicators are adjudicating these claims inappropriately,” he said, citing cases of refugee applicants who had been questioned on gay clubs, their social groups and the number of sexual partners they had.

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