Gay rights campaigners across the world are pilling the pressure on Theresa May to suspend deportations of gay and lesbian asylum seekers until a review into the Home Office rules is completed.
Over 162,000 people worldwide have signed an petition calling for a halt to the deportations, amid concern at the case of Nigerian lesbian asylum seeker Aderonke Adejumoke Apata, who faces being returned to her home country despite the fact homosexuality can be punished by stoning in some areas.
"The asylum system is systematically set up for people to fail," she said.
"We are treated as liars and must prove our innocence. The burden of proof is on the applicant as we are guilty from the onset because we are routinely not believed and our credibility constantly attacked."
The Home Office is currently undertaking a review of gay and lesbian asylum cases after MPs found asylum seekers were having to show officials sexually explicit photos of themselves to prove their sexuality.
Last week Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the damage done to children who have been abused by members of the clergy and asserted that sanctions must be imposed to tackle the problem of child abuse within the Church. It is the first time a pope has ever taken personal responsibility for the abuses committed by the Church’s priests.
In a speech made during a meeting with the International Catholic Child Bureau, a non-governmental child rights group, Pope Francis stated, “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.”
The statement is being described as Pope Francis’ strongest stance on the issue thus far. It comes after a scathing United Nations report lambasted the Vatican earlier this year for failing to protect children from child abusers within its ranks and for turning a blind eye or covering up cases of molestation and rape over the decades.
Measures taken by the Church to stop child abuse
The Vatican confirmed in January that Pope Benedict XVI had defrocked almost 400 priests in a two-year period due to child abuse allegations. Since taking over the papal office Pope Francis has vowed to continue the changes instigated by his predecessor.
THE NHS is spending millions of pounds a year on running chaplaincy services which offer spiritual care and religious support to patients.
Health boards collectively spend about £3.7m a year on the internal departments, including paying salaries of full-time "generic" NHS chaplains who are tasked with providing support to all who ask for it.
In addition, the NHS has made payments of almost £600,000 to churches to attend to the religious needs of individual patients in the past three years, figures obtained by The Herald under Freedom of Information laws revealed.
More than 85% of spending on the external bodies went to the Roman Catholic Church, largely in exchange for priests to come in to hospitals and perform sacraments such as the last rites, which NHS chaplains are not able to carry out.
Scotland's largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said its in-house chaplaincy department was allocated a budget of £632,665 in 2013/14, with the service "providing non-denominational support to our 38,000 staff and all our patients".
It also pays £75,000 per year to the Archdiocese of Glasgow and the Diocese of Paisley in exchange for "on-call" priests, "to provide the Sacramental ministry that Roman Catholic patients and families expect".
Christians are increasingly reluctant to express their religious views because they are being “turned off” by the “disturbing” and “very damaging” rise of religious fundamentalism, the Attorney General has said.
Dominic Grieve said that atheists who claim that Britain is no longer a Christian nation are “deluding themselves” and must accept that faith has shaped this country’s laws and ethics.
He said that 1,500 years of Christian values are “not going to disappear overnight” and said that many people remain believers even if they choose not to go to Church.
However, he warned people are being discouraged from openly declaring their beliefs because of the “deep intolerance” of religious extremists of all faiths, including Islam and Christianity.
He told The Telegraph: “I do think that there has been a rise of an assertiveness of religious groups across the spectrum. That is why those with softer religious views find it disturbing and say they don’t want anything to do with it.”