Ugandan Lesbian Brenda Namigadde Remains in Great Danger of Deportation
Melanie Nathan- February 03, 2011;
Brenda Namigadde is a lesbian who remains at great risk for deportation back to Uganda, a Country where gays and lesbians are criminalized and subject to harsh treatment at the hands of the authorities, public and family members.
Brenda’s story touched the world last week, when activists dived into action to prevent her return to Uganda; and she was pulled at the last minute from a deportation flight to Uganda, through extraordinary efforts of activists and legal representatives in the United Kingdom. But it does not end there.
Scheduled for a hearing this week, her Counsel in the United Kingdom managed to postpone her hearing to Monday 7 February, 10am in the Royal Courts of Justice, London. But that still yields barely enough time to accomplish what may be impossible. Extraordinary measures are yet again called for.
The concern is that the hearing officer may not hear the nuances of Brenda’s case – such as the fact that regardless of specific hard to come-by evidence, pointing to her lesbian activities in Uganda 8 years ago, she is nonetheless at great risk of harm and even death, if returned to Uganda next week.
Brenda is known to be a lesbian and the evidence is in the statements or outing of lovers past and new, as the system in the UK requires, but it does reside in the simple fact that the anti-gay hounds and hunters, believe that Brenda Namigadde is a lesbian.
To – the United Kingdom authorities and officials – let this article stand – and I would be willing to travel to the UK to testify if need be- that David Bahati, the member of Parliament who is the author of the Anti homosexuality Bill set for passage in Uganda this month, contacted me after reading the first article about Brenda Namigadde’s refusal for asylum and removal situation. I have already been quoted widely in the international press and others have called Bahati to confirm and I reiterate here:
“David Bahati: Brenda is welcome back to Uganda- she will be safe if – -she repents for being a lesbian – -she renounces homosexuality, and –and she does not engage in that behavior again
Melanie Nathan: What if she arrives in Uganda, Mr. Bahati and cannot say or do any of the above requirements; will she go to jail?
David Bahati: Yes she will
Melanie Nathan: So you are saying that she is a lesbian and will be treated as one when she returns if she does not comply fully with the above statement?
David Bahati: Yes, that is correct.”
Activists and humanitarians are calling for the UK authorities including the Home Office will consider this enough evidence of Brenda Namigadde’s homosexuality – the fact that right now in this moment UGANDA and its anti-gay machine consider Brenda Namigadde to be a lesbian. She is a lesbian and she is in danger if deported. Her danger is heightened by the fact that Bahati accused her of bad mouthing Uganda; and yet further by the fact that David Kato was murdered a mere 18 hours after my conversation with Bahati, by a person we believe was planted in his home to carry out an ordered hit, and a set up.
It is a great irony that in order to survive Brenda is expected to still prove in the UK that she is a lesbian and at the same to disprove that she is not a lesbian in Uganda.
Legally speaking, Brenda has been the victim of a combination of factors that have all but served to victimize her further; her case did not receive the due diligence or expertise required in its initial stages and it became a fast track case which belies the time needed for the presentation of important evidence.
Often lesbians and gays are not taken at their word and hence have to go to great lengths to prove their sexual orientation – not an easy task when one has spent many years thousands of miles away from home – shamed and fearfully hiding one’s sexuality.
Here are some updated actions of behalf of Brenda Namigadde:
The United Reform Church, which represents one hundred thousand people in 1600 congregations, has issued a statement of support for Brenda. Simon Loveitt, the public issues spokesperson of the United Reformed Church, said:
“Deporting Ms Namigadde to the life-threatening persecution she fled eight years ago because of her sexual orientation is counter to the gospel values of love-informed justice and compassion which Christians subscribe to.”
“It is also contradicts the tradition of providing sanctuary to persecuted minorities and individuals over centuries in the UK and runs counter to the unanimous judgement of the UK Supreme Court last July, which ruled that homosexual asylum seekers should be granted refugee status if being repatriated would result in them being forced to conceal their sexuality.”
The South Australian MP Ian Hunter has written in support of Brenda to Home Secretary Theresa May. He said: “As a well known lesbian Ms Namigadde will face serious threats to her safety should she be returned to Uganda.”
Brenda’s MP Andrew Slaughter has put down a motion in the British Parliament supporting Brenda. It reads: “That this House is concerned by the imminent proposed deportation of Brenda Namigadde, who has claimed asylum because she fears persecution based on her sexuality; believes the atmosphere in Uganda towards homosexuality, driven by inflammatory rhetoric, puts gay and lesbian citizens at risk; deplores the recent murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato; notes that a politician in Uganda had demanded Ms Namigadde repent or be punished; believes that widespread publicity about Ms Namigadde’s sexuality has placed her at severe risk of harm; is worried by persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people around the world; and calls on the Government to exercise its powers to allow Brenda Namigadde to remain in the United Kingdom.”
British people can use the TheyWorkForYou.com to contact their MP and urge them to sign the motion.
Later today allout.org will launch a fresh push to get the British government to intervene.
We need our readers to comment and to keep an eye out for our ALLOUT campaign……
By Melanie Nathan
Ugandan Lesbian Brenda Namigadde’s Deportation is set for 9.20PM from London
By Melanie Nathan; January 28, 2011-
Today is Brenda Namigadde’s removal day. She is booked for Entebbe, Uganda via Nairobi, Kenya at 21.20 hrs on Flight VS671 (Virgin) and then KQ412 (Kenya Airways). The UK Border Agency should respond today to the fresh claim for asylum put in by her solicitor on Monday. This may happen at the last moment But, the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, does have the power to stop the removal.
Brenda is the lesbian who has been denied asylum in the UK, having been put into a fast track system and hastily disposed of. It was sheer luck that she did not make last Friday’s removal flight, as her name was muddled with someone else. It was then that LezGetReal heard about her case and together with Paul Canning of LGBT Asylum News set in motion an extraordinary set of events and activism that has now placed Brenda Namigadde’s face on the front cover the UK and Global Press – today, the very morning of her rescheduled removal.
While we continue to work behind the scenes with activists and reporters around the world, including the BBC, Sydney Observer, UK Guardian, NY Times, activists are also preparing vigils at Ugandan Embassies and other actions. The amount of support and publicity gained in mere days is astounding. Melanie Nathan of LGR informed ALLOUT about the case and worked with the group to establish a petition. The US based equality Group GetEQUAL joined i n the efforts yesterday. The Petition to save Brenda is gaining 1,000 signatures an hour at this time.
The momentum stepped into fervor yesterday, not only because of the terrifying time crunch to save Brenda, but because of the impetus provided by the tragic murder of gay activist, David Kato, Wednesday.
UPDATING per LGBT Asylum News:-
Over 20,000 sign petition from 80 countries: ‘deluge’ of email
Does Foreign Office want Brenda saved, to weaken anti-gay Ugandan MP Bahati?
Shadow Home Secretary asked to interveneLondon Ugandan embassy vigil
The petition which sends email messages to Theresa May is now over 20,000. Her office has said they are “deluged.”
A vigil in memory of David Kato at 11am today (to coincide with David’s funeral)
at the Ugandan High Commission
, will demand that Brenda not be removed.
The Metro newspaper, which is distributed free at all London tube stations and in 14 other British cities mainly via public transport facilities, and has 3.5m readers, has Brenda’s story on the cover.
The BBC’s premier news program, Newsnight, covered Brenda in their coverage of the murder of David Kato last night. (iplayer, seven days to view, may have country restrictions).
One of the world’s most read bloggers, Perez Hilton, has covered Brenda. He cites The Advocate’s article and uses the unfortunate title ‘Gay Ungandan Woman Being Forced Back To Country Despite Violent Homophobic Murders!‘
Her “actual” sexual orientation has now become utterly irrelevant: Thanks to the Bahati call to Melanie Nathan, it is clear that the Ugandan authorities believe she is a lesbian, and with regard to her safety when she returns to Uganda, that is all that matters.
The high profile which this case has now attained means that she is at even greater risk of being targeted by the Ugandan government and made an example of. The case of David Kato is just one example of where this has already happened.
Other new coverage:
LezGetReal reports that the American LGBT activist group GetEQUAL has written to its members urging support for Brenda. Both also call on readers to contact the US State Department’s Uganda and UK desks.
You may have noticed that we have removed the picture which was at the top of the page. It was incorrectly identified as Brenda. The Guardian has also published a correction.
We will keep reporting though the day. In the meantime US activists and friends should continue to urge the US State department to make contact with the UK Home Office
[4:36:35 AM] Paul Canning: News reaching me just now:
[4:36:06 AM] Paul Canning: 30k petition just delivered to Home Office after Kato vigil”The priest/pastor has just gone into a diatribe calling for the salvation of all queer folk and how they should all stop doing the evil they do. Naomi and Kasha and some other activists are now confronting him. David is not even in the ground and the hate speech continues at his funeral!
- Uganda Lesbian DeportationTomorrow; HELP free her from being Deported to certain Death (lezgetreal.com)
- Tragedy as Gay Activist David Kato Murdered in Kampala, Uganda – Impact on Ugandan Lesbian Seeking UK Asylum (lezgetreal.com)
- UK Home Office Deporting Ugandan Lesbian to Certain Harm (lezgetreal.com)
- Notorious “Kill the Gays” Bahati Weighs in on Uganda Lesbian’s Urgent Deportation Fight (lezgetreal.com)
- Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton Condemns Murder of David Kato (lezgetreal.com)
By Melanie Nathan
More from Behind the scenes: Skype Chat between the two original activists on story:
Here is the Chat from early morning between San Francisco and London:
[1/27/2011 9:37:34 AM] Paul Canning: Mel, sending media enquiries your way. One just now from Al Jazeera
[3:14:40 AM] Melanie nathan: ok
[3:14:53 AM] Melanie nathan: anything happened
[3:15:34 AM] Paul Canning: yes, looks like Labour opposition will make statement
[3:15:54 AM] Paul Canning: petition going up at ~5k an hour
[3:15:58 AM] Melanie nathan: is she going to be pulled from flight to day and does she know to refuse
[3:16:38 AM] Paul Canning: my guess is May won’t cave but they’ll tell UKBA to allow the fresh claim – staying the removal
[3:17:06 AM] Paul Canning: the front page of MEtro (emailed 2u) is in EVERY tube station in London and ALL OVER the trains
[3:17:06 AM] Melanie nathan: ok so when will we know that stay is for sure
[3:17:28 AM] Paul Canning: dunno, probably last minute. That’s the usual tactic
[3:17:33 AM] Melanie nathan: urgh
- Rep. Baldwin Reacts To Murder of Ugandan LGBT Activist (lezgetreal.com)
- Gay Ungandan Woman Being Forced Back To Country Despite Violent Homophobic Murders! (perezhilton.com)
- Ugandan University Regrets Invitation to Editor of Hang the Gays Article (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Our duty to tell the truth about being gay in Uganda | Judy Adong (guardian.co.uk)
- Wikileaks: Uganda Caved On Kill The Gays Bill Quickly (lezgetreal.com)