Ugandan Woman Branded by Iron for being a Lesbian faces deportation from United Kingdom

05/31/2011, by Melanie Nathan
The Guardian UK is reporting a case similar to many others, which we have reported upon in the past. The Asylum claim of a Ugandan lesbian, attacked by three men in her home country, has been refused by UK immigration authority.  In fear of  fraud, the UK authorities have been known to refuse asylum to gays and lesbians who apply for such based on the oppression and physical harm they have suffered.

Funeral of murdered Ugandan Gay Activist, David Kato 2011

Sadly, we must report yet another such case; this Ugandan woman was branded with a hot iron in her home country as a punishment for her sexuality, and is now facing forced removal from the UK.

Last week, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said that the coalition had ended the practice of deporting people to countries where they face persecution because of their sexual orientation.

But Betty Tibikawa, 22, who is detained in Yarl’s Wood immigration removal center in Bedford, is awaiting removal directions after her asylum claim was refused.

Human rights organizations have consistently documented abuses against gay men and lesbians in Uganda and say that it’s one of the most dangerous countries in the world for gay people….. READ MORE 

This is yet another outrage.  I am hoping that the attorneys on behalf of Ms. Tibikawa will read about the work I did in my prior BLOG – at Lezgetreal.   In a similar case, Brenda Namigadde also a lesbian from Uganda was about to be deported. I wrote her story.  After I had published the piece about Ms. Namigadde,  David Bahati called me to pass a message on to Brenda to tell her to come back to Uganda and she would be safe. I then asked Mr. Bahati if he believed that Namigadde was in fact a lesbian. To which he responded with certainty “yes.”

This information was sent in my affidavit to the counsel in the United Kingdom. On the basis of this assertion by Bahati,  the danger to Ms. Namigadde was established, rendering the United Kingdom’s opinion that she was not a lesbian, invalid.

You will note the Guardian goes on its report to refer to Brenda Namigadde’s case by referencing “BN” – The Courts in the UK ordered its media not to publish Brenda Namigadde’s name because of the impact it had in influencing the Ugandan authorities toward a perception that she is indeed a lesbian, when they had denied to believe  her assertions about her sexual orientation.  The Court was angered at the media role.

“Another Ugandan lesbian, BN, was due to be removed from the UK in January but her removal was halted following intervention by her lawyers. Her case is due to be heard in the court of appeal in July.

David Kato, a gay Ugandan activist, was murdered earlier this year. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. An anti-homosexuality bill calling for more punitive measures against gay people was due to be voted on by the Ugandan parliament last week but was not discussed. It could be brought before parliament again later in the year.”

By Melanie Nathan
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