By Melanie Nathan, March 12, 2013.
Activists in the United Kingdom are blaming the United Kingdom Border Agency for deporting an asylum seeker who has now according to Pink News, died in Uganda, “after she claimed she was at risk of homophobic persecution,” if she returned.
When it comes to LGBT Asylum the UK is all talk and no real action. While the United Kingdom’s government purports to support LGBT asylees, in truth they fail them, certainly when it comes to the Home Office and the consideration that ought to be given to asyless from all over the world, especially Africa and more especially, Uganda.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) deported Jackie Nanyonjo to the African country on 12 January, despite promises that they would improve asylum chances for LGBT people. According to reports, she fought strongly against the deportation order and continued to resist the decision, “becoming ill in the process, during her transit to Uganda’s Entebbe Airport.” (Pink News):
Jackie Nanyonjo died in Uganda on Friday 8 March. It said in a statement: “When Jackie arrived at Entebbe Airport the ‘escort’ party handed her over to the Ugandan authorities, who held her for many more hours without any medical attention.
“When family members finally met her, long after the flight had landed, Jackie was in terrible pain and vomiting blood; they rushed her to a clinic, but in a country with widespread poverty and limited medical facilities they were unable to get the medical attention Jackie needed.
“Since Jackie was in hiding as a known lesbian, protected by relatives, every trip to a doctor or hospital involved a risk to her life and to the safety of her family. They were condemned to watch the agonising decline of Jackie’s health and strength over the next two months.”
Human rights campaigners have arranged for a protest to take place outside the Home Office in Westminster, central London, from 12.30pm on Thursday 14 March.
This is an outrage; speaking to ugandan activists today, I was informed that Jackie had not made contact with them in Uganda as she may have been too afraid, having already been exposed through the deportation process. In tandem with the reports, activists agree that Jackie was forced into hiding because she had been exposed as a lesbian and hence feared exposure and probably could not obtain the medical attention she needed.
The deportations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers have not ceased are continuing, despite government pledges to ensure their refuge in the United Kingdom.
This case ought to cause outrage as it exemplifies the dangers in such deportations, which seem to occur all too often.
Traumatized refugees who have fled homophobic persecution and violence should not be subjected to further intimidation at the hands of the government where they seek safety and this, all too often, is what occurs by virtue of the treatment the asylum seekers are subjected to by the UK authorities. The deportation process Jackie endured is evidence of this inhumanity. This death could have been prevented. Jackie should be alive and well and living in the United Kingdom. An investigation should be launched.