|Uche Nnabuife, another gay Nigerian named in a newspaper|
A Nigerian gay asylum seeker has appealed against the Italian government’s decision to deny him refugee status.
Joshua J. was supposed to leave the Italian territory by 12 May 2011 after his application for asylum was rejected by the Asylum Commission in Caserta.
The Commission held that there were no concrete threats and persecutions against homosexuals in Nigeria.
Joshua fled Nigeria in 2008, where he risked torture and death after a Muslim family of the man he was in a relationship with found out about him. The family threatened to kill him, and reported him to the police.
Italian authorities have given Joshua several expulsion orders which he has failed to obey for fear of being sent to jail, whipped, and possibly murdered by family members of the man he was in a relationship with.
EveryOne Group, Certi Diritti Radical Association, Arcigay - Italian national lesbian and gay association, CGIL “New Rights” Area and No Peace Without Justice, have sent an urgent appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs and to the Ministry of Equal Opportunities, as well as to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to act so that Joshua can be granted refugee status.
Joshua who now lives in the province of Teramo, applied for refugee status on 2nd November 2010. “Joshua is wanted by the Nigerian police because of his homosexuality,” say the co-presidents of EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, and the Secretary of Certi Diritti Radical Association, Sergio Rovasio.
In February 2008, the Nigerian Observer published an article about Joshua together with his photo, after the police issued his arrest warrant. The police even set a reward for anyone with information that may lead to Joshua’s arrest.
Joshua has now been issued a temporary Permit of Stay valid for three years which will be renewed throughout the appeal process.
While happy of this achievement, Mr. Pegoraro says it is too early to consider it a victory because no one knows how the case will end. He, however, hopes that at the end of the appeal Joshua may be granted the protection he deserves.