Saturday, 24 July 2010

UK: Abbey must stay campaign

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...Image via Wikipedia
By Alex Owolade

The UK Supreme Court has overturned the racist, homophobic policy of sending Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers back to countries where they face persecution and death; telling them to conceal their identity. On 7 July, in a landmark victory for the right of asylum, the Supreme Court ruled that the immigration authorities can no longer use this policy as the basis for denying asylum to LGBT refugees.

This decision is a long overdue acknowledgement that it is completely unacceptable and inhuman to force anyone to live in permanent fear, denying their own identity, and at constant risk of exposure, abuse, violence, torture or execution.

The Court's decision is a victory for the growing global movement that is fighting courageously for LGBT liberation on every continent. This movement has secured the first victory for the Equality Act, the new anti-discrimination law that was passed in April as a result of the struggles of Britain's black and Asian communities for real equality. The fundamental and inspiring principle of the Equality Act is the right of everyone of us to equality and respect and to be the people we are, whatever our race, culture, religion, gender and sexual orientation. In reality the decision of the Supreme Court recognises the full scope of this principle: it is an implicit acknowledgement that the right to equality and respect is undermined for everyone if it is limited to some people who live, work and study in this country and denied to others.

We have to look for cases and mobilise campaigns that set examples of using the Equality Act and the Supreme Court decision to the full. This is our opportunity to build the collective movement that can ensure that the promise of the Equality Act and the Supreme Court decision and is delivered, as a living material victory, for everyone of us who faces discrimination, prejudice and persecution. 
Our movement will be an integrated, independent movement that speaks the plain truth about racism, anti-immigrant prejudice, homophobia, and sexism, and fights for equal civil rights for all - regardless of the colour of our passports.

The demonstration at the Appeal hearing for Abbey Kiwanuka is the next step in building this movement. Mr. Kiwanuka lived openly and proudly as a gay man in Uganda, despite the abuse and threats he faced. His sexuality was common knowledge in his community and anti-gay bigots campaigned for his arrest. As a result he was imprisoned, beaten and tortured.

He now lives openly and proudly as a gay man in Britain and is an active fighter for LGBT rights in Britain and in Africa. The Home Office and the UK Borders Agency are opposing his appeal, despite the anti-gay murders and legislation in Uganda, because they want to limit the impact of the Supreme Court decision and the Equality Act, lower people's hopes and expectations, and stop the growth of a movement. We can thwart that plan by building the movement. A victory on 29 July will be a victory for all our struggles for equality.

Demonstrate at the hearing and fill the courtroom on 29 July: Abbey Kiwanuka Must Stay! Enforce the Right of Asylum and the right to equality for all!
  • Thursday 29th July @ 9am
  • Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, Taylor House, 88 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4QU (Near Angel tube)
Come to the meeting on Monday 26 July to prepare for the demonstration and discuss plans to build this struggle...

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