Human rights groups have called on the British government to intervene in an asylum case which could see openly gay Alvin Gahimbaze deported to Burundi.
Refugee charity, ‘Everyone Group’ told Pinknews.co.uk:
“We have just received news that Alvin Gahimbaze, has been removed from his home by the British authorities and taken to a London detention centre to await deportation back to Burundi after the Border Immigration Agency turned down his application for asylum.”
Last year the government of Burundi criminalised homosexuality, punishing offenders with up to two years in prison.
“His life will be in serious danger if he is deported back to Burundi due to the ethnic clashes and the serious institutional homophobia,” the charity added.
EveryOne Group has contacted the British Home Office and is now appealing to the British Government to release Mr Gahimbaze as soon as possible and cancel the deportation order.
‘Alvin’, explain the group’s co-presidents, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, “is a young man from the Tutsi ethnic group who fled Burundi with his sister when he was still a boy. The rest of his family was massacred during the ethnic clashes and he has lived in the United Kingdom since 2000. Though his sister has been granted permanent residence in the UK, Alvin now faces deportation.”
Last year over five thousand people signed a petition that would end the deportation of LGBT asylum seekers to homophobic countries. The government defended its current position, explaining:
“Enforced returns to any country will only be undertaken where, after very thorough examination of the asylum claim, it is decided that the individual would not be at risk of execution, torture, unjust imprisonment, or other forms of persecution.
“Where an asylum application has been refused, there is a right of appeal to the Asylum Immigration Tribunal or an opportunity to seek judicial review through the higher courts.”
“The government recognises that the conditions for lesbian and gay people in some countries are such that there may be individuals who are able to demonstrate a need for international protection.
“However, there can be no presumption that each and every asylum seeker of a particular nationality who presents themselves as being lesbian or gay should automatically be afforded protection in the UK.”
Stonewall Housing says it has seen the number of asylum seekers and refugees approaching it for advice double in the last year.