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UK

Nigerian LGBT activist wins 13-year legal battle to be granted UK asylum

Meka Beresford August 12, 2017
Aderonke Apata

(Photo by Aderonke Apata/Twitter)

Aderonke Apata started her asylum application 13 years ago and has faced two rejections in the time.

The most recent rejection in 2015 came as the judge told her that they believed she was faking her sexuality.

(Photo by Aderonke Apata/Facebook)

Apata feared that if she was deported to Nigeria she would face severe persecution.

In an act of desperation, she sent the judge a private video of her and her partner having intercourse as proof of her sexuality.

The act attracted widespread support for her case and hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions in support of her bid for asylum.

On her campaigning Facebook page, “Asylum for Aderonke”, Apata wrote that after 13 years of “struggle” she had finally achieved the outcome she wanted.

Apaa said: “I’m extremely overwhelmed with joy and gladness to know that now I’m safe and can live freely as a human being!”

She went on to thank her family, friends, legal team, activists that helped her campaign and those who supported her cause.

“I cannot thank enough everyone. You have all contributed to this victory. It’s impossible for me to list all of you that stood by me as you run into millions! Do know that I appreciate you all,” she said.

She also took the opportunity to call on those who supported her to support others applying for asylum out of fear of persecution because of their sexuality.

“As you rejoice with me for being safe, kindly remember that there are many people still in the same position that I was in for over 13 years!

“I implore you all to stand with me and them to change the LGBTI asylum application system that seeks to persecute, dehumanise and demean people each step of the process for whom they are,” she added.

Apata became a staunch critic of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre after spending over a year there in 2014.

The activist described the facility as “a concentration camp” as people can be detained there for an indefinite amount of time. Asylum seekers “should not be treated as criminals,” she said.

Since being granted asylum, Apata has criticised the Home Office for how they handle cases of LGBT+ people.

She said: “The Home Office needs to catch up with the rest of the UK, drop its vile ‘proof of sexuality’ policy and move on from 1967. All LGBTI people seeking asylum in the UK want – like anyone else – is to be treated with fairness, dignity and humanity.

“Having been forced to flee by hate and intolerance at home, being branded a liar by the Home Office is demeaning and cruel for LGBTI people seeking asylum. I hope the Home Office will look back, reflect on my case and treat everyone with the decency and respect they deserve.”

More: Aderonke Apata, asylum, lesbian, LGBT, Nigeria, UK

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