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Lesbian who was gang-raped after being unlawfully deported wins stunning court victory against Home Office

Josh Milton September 28, 2020
Home office LGBT+ asylum seekers

Protesters carry a placard at a demonstration to highlight conditions inside Brook House immigration removal centre, outside the Home Office in London on August 23, 2020. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty)

A lesbian who was unlawfully deported by the Home Office to Uganda where she was subjected to a horrific gang-rape secured a stunning victory in a heated Court of Appeal case Monday morning (28 September).

In a battle against Britain’s Home Office, the government department responsible for migration and security, the 27-year-old – known as PN – was brought back to Britain last year by court-order.

The courts at the time said that the Home Office’s rejection of her asylum claim was unlawful as the department did not give her enough time to rope together evidence for her case.

But the Court of Appeal dismissed the Home Office’s challenge, a ruling that will no doubt pave the way for scores of other claimants in similar positions, The Independent reported.

Speaking after the Court of Appeal judgement on Monday, the seeker said: “I feel so happy for this decision.

“When you are fighting so long for something it feels like you will never win and that is very frightening.

“This journey has not been easy and it is amazing to win against the Home Office who have put me through so much torture – I was waiting for this day to come.”

PN first vied for asylum in 2011, arriving in Britain and said that, because she is lesbian, her life is on the line. Uganda is gridded by an array of anti-LGBT+ laws which often force many of its queer citizens to seek asylum in neighbouring countries and beyond.

However, Home Office agents did not believe she was gay and, as a result, removed her from the country in 2013. Years later, she told The Independent that while in Uganda, she was targeted by a group of men who gang-raped.

“I was sleeping one night,” she said, “the people came, they banged on the door, they stole everything and they raped me.

“I was on my own in the room, I couldn’t tell the police as I don’t want them to know who I am.”

Lesbian asylum seeker wins right to stay in Britain after years-long battle with Home Office. 

The ruling was viewed by activists as the final “nail in the coffin” of the department’s fast-track scheme, a programme designed by officials to streamline cases. It didn’t.

It was shut down by the courts in 2015, bringing an end to the scheme which had a near 99 per cent rejection rate and saw refugees kept in detention centres during the process.

Indeed, countless testimonies from asylum seekers and their legal aids have detailed a department that “persecutes” LGBT+ people, leading to some human rights activists and lawmakers to denounce the body for its “humiliation” of rainbow refugees.

Reports have gradually revealed a Home Office playbook where department workers gauge a queer seeker’s application based on troubling methods, such as allegedly whether claimants are dependant on homophobic relatives. If they are, they can’t possibly be queer.

Moreover, the Home Office rejects four out of five LGBT+ claims – a figure that has steadily increased over the last few years.

More: asylum, asylum seeker, Britain, High Court, Home Office, Uganda

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