UK About to Deport Ugandan Lesbian Defies New EU Landmark Ruling

Protest outside the Home Office on Friday Morning, 5th, requires urgent signing of this Petition- Please help save Judith! | PETITION: SIGN HERE and be sure to pass it along.

By Melanie Nathan, Dec 03, 2014.

Do Not Deport Judith PetitionThere is an urgent petition and plea to the U.K.  Home Office to stop the deportation of Judith T. Twikereza, a Ugandan lesbian.  The deportation order and refusal to grant bail comes on the heels of a new EU ruling that, if adhered to, could have served to save Judith. But because of the Fast Track process to deport Judith, activists may not be in time to stop the scheduled deportation and are asking the world to express outrage. The UK Government has said: “We don’t deport LGBT asylum seekers and we never will”. Is that a lie? A New EU ruling should protect Judith. Let us stop her Deportation NOW!

Judith is on a Fast Track process to deportation, with a ticket booked by the Home Office for December 08. The LGBT community is outraged by her inhumane treatment and the fact that the UK is sending her back to certain persecution and possible death.

The only hope for a Deportee is to resist deportation. A desperate Judith will be fighting back to physically resist her deportation, an action which has led to harm and even death of a deportee in the past, but until then, on the 8th, she needs the world to fight for her.

Judith, a lesbian, still bearing the scars of a torturous exorcism, escaped persecution in Uganda, and made her way to the United Kingdom. Despite the dangerous anti-gay climate and likelihood of physical attack, she is facing imminent deportation, because the United Kingdom does not believe who she is.

Judith has scars showing the sharp lacerations on her joints and the trauma of human degradation. When she came to England, she thought that she had come to safety- a new country where she would be treated with the basic dignity and kindness deserving of all human beings. But that was not to be the case.

In a ruling just issued yesterday, Dec 02, The Court of Justice of the European Union  issued a landmark decision on assessing the credibility of sexual minority asylum seekers. In A, B and C vs. Staatssecretaris van Veiligheiden Justitie, the Court disallowed inappropriate practices in evaluating the claims of asylum applicants claiming persecution based on their sexual orientation. ORAM hopes the Court’s ruling will bring about more consistent and humane treatment of these asylum seekers.

The Court ruled that EU states credibility assessment methods must comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights — particularly the rights to human dignity and to private and family life.

The Court takes the view that the mere fact of putting questions to an applicant for asylum may, to a certain extent, infringe the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

“In the first place, the Court of Justice states in its judgment given today that the declarations by an applicant for asylum as to his sexual orientation are merely the starting point in the process of assessment of the application and may require confirmation.

However, the methods used by the competent authorities to assess the statements and the evidence submitted in support of applications for asylum must be consistent with the EU law and, in particular, the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter, such as the right to respect for human dignity and the right to respect for private and family life.”

It is contended that Judith’s rights have been violated and that she should not be deported. The way in which her case has been treated and the resulting adjudication is sub standard and she should be taken off Fast Track and the manner in which the case was handled, her treatment and the result must be investigated further.

Judith is now suffering further trauma at the hands of the UK. She will be sent back to the country, Uganda, that tortured her.

She is now being sent back to that country where a new and even more onerous Anti-Gay Bill has been proposed. The injustice is searing.

Judith was subjected to inhuman interrogation. Despite being able to answer and provide everything the Home Office needed for her to be given Protection, her evidence was rejected, because of the ridiculous assertion that she obtained it, to get her asylum. The basis for her rejection is simply untenable and requires further investigation.

On 29th September 2014, Judith went to Croydon at the Home Office to appeal for asylum. She was taken to Colnbrook Remove Centre (Prison by another name) after 7 days; she was taken to Yarlwoods Immigration Detention Centre.

Despite Judith’s deteriorating health condition, it took 14 days for her to see a doctor.

On 14 October, Dr Rebecca Ward invoked detention rule 35 reports. The report clearly stated that, “a body map attached with your report shows marks on your body which are stated as being consistent with sharp cuts and laceration”

On 23rd September 2014, Judith had her interview. She provided a medical statement from her Doctor, Dr Opio, another statement from her therapist, supporting statements from her friends who knew about her sexuality, love letters, pictures and everything which supported her claim.

On 27th September 2014, her claim was dismissed. Among the reason Mr Roland Potts (Home Office Case Work) gave were:

  • You have submitted a letter from your, a trauma counselor at “room to heal”, it cannot be put in consideration because the counselor doesn’t state enough if she is qualified to make those finding.
  • You submitted a letter from your Doctor who states that you seem “to have undergone a difficult time in your childhood. The letter does not indicate your Dr.’s qualification.
  • You submitted a Rule 35 report as evidence of your being subjected to healing by the witch doctor. You were examined by Dr Rebecca Ward on 14/10/2014 and the report shows you have marks on your body which are ‘consistent with sharp cuts and laceration’. Therefore, whilst it is accepted that you may have been taken to a witch doctor whilst you were young and you were subjected to bleeding, however it doesn’t mean that you sustain it because of your sexuality”
  • It is accepted that your photo appears in the Red Pepper Newspapers, however the fact that this is the only article in the newspaper in which the font change means it must be considered as an irregularity.
  • You have submitted witness statement from your friends and pictures on prides, parties, protests, clubs but it is believed you did all this to boost your asylum claim.

On 7th November, Judith’s appeal was heard. As new evidences, Judith had an appointment with Helen Bamber Foundation (Care for Victim), she had a report and analysis from a renowned Human Rights Defender, and she had 8 friends who commuted from London to testify for her. However, the Immigration Judge only allowed one witness to testify and dismissed all the other witness because they had written supporting letters not witness statements.

On 11th November 2014, Judith’s appeal was dismissed by the Judge stating that all the evidence she had produced was “self-serving.”

On 20th Judith legal adviser applied for a right to appeal in the upper tribunal, and asked for bail for Judith because her continuing detention was afflicting her health and welfare. Helen Bamber Foundation advised the Home Office to release her but they too, were rejected.

On 26th November 2014, she was told to prepare to go back to Uganda under removal orders. She was told that she had no further right to appeal.

Whatever evidence Judith submitted was seen as a fraud. There is absolutely no real basis for the officer to allege such fraud and it is all on the uninformed and biased assertion of one official. The photos, the love letters, the statements from the friends and even the Medical Report from their own (Home Office) doctor, were all dismissed.

Home Office say, Judith’s face will not be recognized if she relocate to another area even though Judith’s photographs featured in an article in the Red Paper, on Facebook and many online publications.

Judith also features in many video clips of the demonstration, chanting pro-gay slogans, which has been uploaded on YouTube and seen by many Ugandans.

If she is deported she risks being recognized, has no means to re start her life and no community or family with funds to shelter or support her. She will, in effect, be returned to the streets of Uganda, where she may suffer at the hands of those who will recognize her.

The UK Government says, “We don’t deport LGBT asylum seekers and we never will”. It is believed that many LGBT asylum seekers from African countries, like Judith, are deported every day back to the countries where they face persecution because of their sexuality. Many are not given a fair opportunity to explain their cases, present evidence and very few receive adequate legal representation.

Judith has been issued with a ticket, scheduled to be deported on the Monday 08th December 2014

NOTE:  An important aspect of the new EU ruling which ought to help many scheduled for deportation include the fact that  Court rejected several common practices by officials in these cases, some of which were applied in Judith’s case: Intrusive questioning about an applicant’s sexual acts, use of explicit evidence like films documenting applicants’ intimate sexual conduct, and physical or medical tests purportedly revealing one’s sexual orientation.

Another aspect impacting many applications is the part of the ruling where the Court held that a delay in asserting one’s LGBTI status does not necessarily indicate fraud, as allowances must be given to LGBTI applicants for the special kinds of difficulties they face.

Signing this petition for Judith will show the United Kingdom Home Office, that we are outraged and that we will no longer tolerate the abuse of LGBT people seeking refuge and asylum from persecution. If many sign the UK may reconsider how it treats all its LGBTI asylum seekers. We expect the UK to reconsider Judith’s case based on this ruling and the fact that she has been treated so unfairly.

Out and Proud Diamond Group will be organizing a Protest outside the Home Office on Friday Morning, 5th, and delivery of the Petition- your signatures are needed most urgently.

Please express your URGENT outrage by signing the petition. Share it with your friends. Let them tell the UK Government to stand by their commitment not to deport LGBT asylum seekers back to where they face persecution.

Please write to the UK Home Office  – Quoting Judith T Twikereza -Home Office Reference no: T3012110

PETITION: SIGN HERE and be sure to pass it along.

Updates 12/08/2014. (Midnight United Kingdom) This from OPDG working to help Judith:
“Our fresh court claim was refused despite the new medical report arguing why it took so long. We submitted the Judicial review to the Home Office today, but it was also refused. They advised the only thing to stop the flight was an injunction. We were surprised by it. Right now Judith’s phone is off we suspect she might be in the Van driven back to the detention.  Judith’s flight left without her. She refused to abide, lucky they had not booked people to go with her. ”

He also noted that the Home Office did not seem to care that almost 1,000 people signed the petition, noting that because no people were brought to the court, it meant nothing.

Now OPDG, helping Judith notes she no longer has legal aid and is need of $2,000 USD to proceed with her case. If anyone can donate money to this please e-mail me and I will provide direction – [email protected]

6 thoughts on “UK About to Deport Ugandan Lesbian Defies New EU Landmark Ruling

  1. Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    Read this then join me in signing the petition…

  2. Pingback: UK About to Deport Ugandan Lesbian Defies New EU Landmark Ruling | Daily Queer News
  3. Pingback: Marriage Equality Round-Up - December 4th
  4. Re the update: “He also noted that the Court did not seem to care that almost 1,000 people signed the petition.”

    Why would the Court look at a petition? Surely a court is supposed to look at legal arguments, and nothing else.

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