It’s been days since the five-year asylum reprieve for Mehdi Kazemi was granted by the British government, but they’re already at it again. This time Prossy Kakooza’s application for asylum has been rejected, the Home Office again suggesting that there is no evidence to suggest she is at risk of persecution for her sexual orientation in Uganda. It’s the same garbage as with Mehdi’s situation, with the identical issues highlighted by Peter Tatchell still in play:
- No training on sexual orientation issues for asylum staff and adjudicators
- No explicit official policy supporting the right of refugees to claim asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation
- No action to stamp out the abuse of LGBT refugees in UK asylum detention camps
- No accurate, up-to-date information on the victimisation of LGBT people in violently homophobic countries
- No access to adequate legal representation for LGBT asylum applicants
The government again denies the likelihood of persecution because of her sexual orientation, yet either chooses to ignore or is unaware of the Ugandan penal code as regards homosexuality, as well as:
you cannot settle in a new town without a reference from your previous village, and on the basis she is a lesbian, Prossy would be subjected to similar persecution wherever she went.
Is the Home Office ignorant of this social practice or, as in the case of many asylum seekers, was her case turned down because she’d been denied legal aid, making a fully nuanced case to the immigration tribunal almost impossible, as per Tony Blair’s policy in 2003? Either way, it’s a reminder that Mehdi’s reprieve didn’t represent any improvement in the asylum system whatsoever, it was down to having exploited a weakened Gordon Brown, nothing more. How very New Labour to hide bad behaviour under isolated good deeds.
Uganda outlaws male homosexuality, under laws originally imposed by the British colonizers in the nineteenth century. Offenders can face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Lesbians and gays are subjected to vigilante violence by homophobic mobs, especially in rural areas where most of the population live. Civil rights groups, including Amnesty International, have been critical of the Ugandan government for allowing the abuses to go on.
Clearly the Home Office’s information is at the very least not up-to-date, either wilfully or through incompetence. When people’s lives are at stake, neither is acceptable. Stay mad.
IGLHRC is concerned for the safety of leaders and supporters of the LGBT community in the East African nation of Uganda, after senior officials went on the public and private radio stations to call for the arrest of leaders of the country’s LGBT movement this morning. Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhinde and Minister of Ethics and Integrity Nsaba Butoro, were showing their solidarity with a coalition of conservative Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Bahai congregations—the Interfaith Coalition Against Homosexuality—that has called for the arrest, deportation, and even murder of gays and lesbians.