Stop the Deportation of Ugandan Lesbian Nantale Prosscovia.
By Melanie Nathan, May 14, 2012.
Nantale Prosscovia, a Ugandan lesbian held in a Swedish prison, is facing deportation back to the life-threatening situation she fled 6 years ago.
Now a Petition has been launched on the site “GO Petition” to try and save her from this fate which could mean certain physical harm and even death. The petition notes:
We demand that the Swedish government sets her free and grants her asylum NOW.
Nantale left Uganda after the local authorities caught her in a sexual act with another woman. She was publicly ‘outed’ as a lesbian and her business was destroyed by an anti-gay mob as a warning to ‘quit her behaviour or die’. The police would not protect Nantale. With her mother’s help she managed to leave the country literally for her own safety, and for the safety of her family who would be at risk if they defended her.
In August 2007 she went to Sweden and applied for asylum on the basis of her sexuality, however this was refused: when Nantale left Uganda the situation for lesbians and gay men was getting worse, but this was not that well known internationally.
The Swedish government did not see anti-gay persecution as a reason to give her protection.
Nantale’s sexuality is well known in Uganda, as well as in Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands and other countries. She is being held in Hinseberg Prison in Frovi awaiting deportation.
If she is deported she faces imprisonment and torture solely because of her sexual orientation, in the country which criminalises homosexuality.
Sweden’s minister for international development, Gunilla Carlssen, has said that the Swedish government would consider cutting its $50million annual aid to Uganda if its government doesn’t reverse its “appalling” anti-gay policy.
It is sheer hypocrisy to stop aid to Uganda while sending human beings back there to suffer persecution. Nantale deserves to be able to live freely as who she is. The best and easiest way for the Swedish Government to demonstrate its commitment to LGBT rights is to release Nantale from prison and give her immediate Asylum.
It is difficult to fathom that the Swedish government would acknowledge the problem of persecution of gays and lesbians in this statement to cut aid and then in another breathe consider that gays and lesbians if returned back to Uganda would not suffer significant harm, enough to warrant asylum.
Notwithstanding the wording on the petition, it seems to me that Nantale should be released on the merits of her case and the fact she suffered and will continue to suffer persecution if she is returned to Uganda.
There is no question that Uganda is anti-gay and anti-lesbian and there is plenty of evidence to support that notion. A mere reading of the facts and stories reported on this website alone, including the commentary of public officials from the likes of David Bahati, the Ugandan MP who is promoting the Anti-homosexuality Bill, otherwise known as the “Kill- the- Gays- Bill,” which is still before the Ugandan Parliament awaiting passage, to the Minister of Interior’s threats at a Tourist Resort meeting attended by Gay people, will display ongoing danger for any gay or lesbian person in that country.
Nantale’s danger is further exacerbated by the fact that she has left Uganda and spoken out against the Country’s treatment of gays, a matter which in itself presents further danger to a person who is returned to a regime that is also notorious for torturing those who oppose it and speak out against it.
Note: While I have not independently verified the facts of this case, I have recently been contacted by two gay asylum seekers in Sweden who are not being well treated by the system there. It seems the liberal thinking of that country may not apply to those who suffer persecution from other countries. Perhaps we will report their stories in due course.
By Melanie Nathan
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