Home Secretary urged to spare gay man from Uganda deportation
A group campaigning for a gay man denied asylum in the UK have said that next week’s Labour party conference is a perfect opportunity to pressure the government.
Simon Magorian of the John Bosco Nyombi Anti Deportation Campaign told PinkNews.co.uk that ” maximum pressure should be brought to bear for a radical rethink on asylum policy.”
He is asking readers to write to the Home Secretary about the issue and the specific case of Mr Nyombi.
The 38-year-old, who has been employed in the UK as a mental health worker since 2002, has had his plea for asylum rejected.
On Sunday he refused to get on a plane bound for Uganda at Gatwick airport and is being detained by the immigration authorities.
His supporters are hopeful he will be granted bail as they continue to argue that he should be granted asylum in the UK.
“The situation in Uganda has been deteriorating rapidly for the last two years,” said Mr Magorian.
“To expect people to remain obsessively secret about their sexuality is not reasonable but it does not even stand up on its own merits.”
Earlier this year, gay rights groups were taken aback by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s assertion that in many cases gay men and lesbians who are “discreet” are not in danger.
The British government has been accused of being more inclined to believe homophobic governments than human rights groups on the issue of how gay people are treated in that country.
“The argument that if you are discreet you have nothing to fear is palpably absurd,” said Mr Magorian.
“Now there are newspapers like Red Pepper which print the names and addresses of gays and lesbians in Uganda and demands action is taken against them.
“A protester at the recent conference on HIV was arrested and tortured by the police. The Prime Minister makes speeches demanding the campaign against homosexuals is stepped up.
“Ministers demand that they be subjected to life imprisonment, the maximum penalty under the Ugandan Penal code.
“The persecution of lesbians and gay men in Uganda is state led and executed by the forces of the state.”
Mr Magorian said that British government decisions are now predicated on refusing the maximum number of asylum applications.
He also drew attention to the case of Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker Prossy Kakooza.
“She was handed over to the police by her own family and was raped and tortured by the police,” he said.
“British government officials have been refusing her asylum claim on the basis that they were “the random action of individuals.”
“This would be a defensible argument if the men in question had been prosecuted by the authorities. They have not.
“I would like to urge everyone to write to their MPs newspapers and raise it with their community groups.
“Please make representations to the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.”
The treatment of LGBT asylum seekers by the government was attacked in a motion passed at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth this week.
“Conference calls on the government to halt the deportation of people to countries where their sexual orientation or gender identification may mean that they are threatened with the risk of imprisonment, torture, or even execution,” the motion read.
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A halt on government-sanctioned deportations of at risk LGBT people is now official party policy.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said after the vote:
“It is totally unacceptable for Britain to be deporting people to countries where they will face persecution, torture or death merely because of their sexual orientation.
“This country has a proud tradition of providing sanctuary to those fleeing tyranny and oppression.
“It is about time that practice was extended to gay and lesbian people escaping deeply unpleasant homophobic regimes.”