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It hasn’t been a month since the murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, and the United Kingdom finds itself in the spotlight again for trying to deport another LGBT asylum-seeker to death in Uganda.
Uganda is notorious for its criminalization of homosexuality with an infamous Kill-the-Gays bill in the works. David Kato, a gay rights activist, was brutally beaten to death last month after winning a lawsuit against the newspaper that outed him. The murder sent shock waves through much of the country. That same week, Britain was planning to deport Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian asylum-seeker hailing from Uganda, claiming that she could not prove her homosexuality. After receiving thousands of messages from concerned citizens all around the world, her deportation was stayed and case reopened. But now the United Kingdom is forcefully returning Jamal Ali Said to Uganda despite the fact he faces serious danger in his country of origin.
The United Kingdom Border Agency refuses to accept that Mr. Ali Said is a gay individual, despite his attendance to a gay support group for more than one year. The agency clearly needs to re-examine its criteria for adjudicating claims from LGBT individuals. It requires names of past lovers and actual published material denoting a person is gay, which is hard to produce and only threatens to put more people at risk. Oftentimes, due to clandestine affairs and threats, LGBT individuals are not open about their sexuality. That does not mean they are not gay and not at risk of persecution and certain death in their respective countries of origin.
As a gay and HIV-positive man, Mr. Ali Said has expressed fear for what could happen to him if he was deported. In Uganda, gays and lesbians face a 14 year imprisonment by virtue of their sexual orientation. If the Kill-the-Gays bill is passed, HIV positive LGBT individuals not only face imprisonment but certain execution.
The London Chapter of The International Gay Rights Organisation (TIGRO) has launched a Change.org petition with 400 signatures so far, calling for a halt to the deportation of LGBT asylum-seekers to certain danger. We must condemn the decision of the UK Government and Border to deport Jamal Ali Said and tell them to immediately put proper procedures in place to protect LGBT asylum-seekers who face persecution in Uganda.
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