Monday, 7 February 2011

Action alert: Gay Ugandan facing removal

Arms of the United Kingdom with Crown and GarterImage via Wikipedia

Update, March 8: Jamal's removal has been stayed and he has been released from detention .Lord Justice Sullivan specifically linked his case to that of 'BN'. He said:
In view of the claimant's appalling immigration history I grant a stay with great reluctance. I do so because I understand that a stay of removal was granted in a similar case BN (Uganda) , which is awaiting an expedited hearing in the administrative court. The applicants case in BN to be a lesbian was not accepted, but the issue raised in her case is the risk on return of a perceived homosexual as a result of press coverage in the UK. In the present case neither the Tribunal nor the Secretary of State has accepted that the claimant is gay, but (perhaps as a result of his own efforts) there are press reports in the UK which identify him as a gay man: see eg Guardian dated 5 February 2011. It would be sensible to defer his consideration of his application for permission to appeal pending the Administrative Court's decision in BN.
French group Tjenbé Rèd Fédération demonstrated outside the British Embassy in Paris for Jamal and fellow Ugandan 'BN' (PDF) on Saturday 26 February and again on Tuesday 1 March.

They said:
An Embassy representative came to hold, rather coldly, a semblance of a dialogue with our delegation. Meanwhile, at the obvious request of the Embassy, a supporter of TOTAL RESPECT was seen to be arrested by the police and then held in custody for three hours for an “identity check” by SARIJ (the judicial “welcome”, research and investigation service) at 210, Rue du Fbg-St-Honoré, Paris 8th arrondissement. They also confiscated two of the association’s posters at a cost of €20.
Update, February 8: Jamal was not removed last night. According to his solicitor he refused and Jamal says he was injured in the process.

Update, February 9: Jamal's story is recounted in Pink Paper, via The Guardian (the Guardian has not published its coverage online).

He told them that he was "very frightened" based on "how they treat you in Uganda if you have HIV, if you are a gay man."

His lawyer says his application for protection was refused before last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling, which said that queer asylum seekers should be granted refugee status if going home would result in them being forced to conceal their sexuality.

Following that judgement, he submitted fresh representations to the Home Secretary in November, asking her to review the decision and consider it line with the Supreme Court ruling, but this was declined.

He has new removal directions for Saturday 12 February. Flight KQ101 to Nairobi 8pm. This was reported in Pink News.


Source: NCADC

Jamal Ali Said is a Gay Ugandan man facing deportation from the UK on Monday 7th February, 7pm, on Kenya Airlines Flight KQ101 to Nairobi, for onward transfer to Entebbe.

He is at serious risk of persecution - potentially murder - and is need of urgent solidarity. You can help.

Less than two weeks after Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered, following a media campaign urging Ugandans to kill gay people, the UK Border Agency plans to deport Jamal. After almost 15 years in the UK, and despite overwhelming evidence that he qualifies for protection under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention of Human Rights, Jamal is in grave danger.

Jamal's legal representatives believe this planned deportation to be a serious miscarriage of justice. Jamal's application for protection as a gay man was refused before last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling (the case of HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) 2010). This ruling found that gay asylum seekers should be granted refugee status if going home would result in them being forced to conceal their sexuality.

Following that judgement, Jamal's solicitor submitted fresh representations to the Home Secretary in November, asking her to review the decision and consider it line with the Supreme Court ruling. Inexplicably, the refusal letter did not even mention this new evidence.

Despite support since 2005 from the Northampton Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Alliance, the UKBA has refused to accept that Jamal is gay. Jamal finds himself in a situation similar to that of Brenda Namigadde. Brenda is a Ugandan lesbian seeking asylum, but denied sanctuary because she has not been able to prove she is gay. This is far from uncommon. In culturally biased judgements, LGBT Africans routinely find that they just don't act "gay enough" for British judges.

LGBT Asylum News writes of the 2010 Stonewall report, which uncovered the poor decision making which leads to so many at-risk LGBT asylum seekers being refused sanctuary:

Stonewall said that:
"Many judges, like Home Office decision-makers, struggle because they have no reference points to help them understand the reality of gay peoples’ lives in the UK and in other countries."

"The feelings of shame, stigma and self-hatred that many gay asylum-seekers feel about their sexual orientation make it very difficult for them to answer these questions. Sexually explicit questions being asked by a figure of authority are even more difficult to answer. Applicants’ responses may therefore be vague or even evasive and these responses tend to be interpreted by judges as evidence that an applicant is lying and therefore may be used to dismiss an appeal."
Stonewall's report calls for judges to receive training on the effects of trauma and its impact on how people recount their stories at interview and in court and for The Judicial Appointments Commission to be asked by ministers "to take substantive steps to ensure that asylum and immigration judges start more effectively to reflect the communities they serve."

The government has promised that this culture within the immigration judiciary and within the UKBA would change. But many are cynical (or realistic) about how the system will react to efforts to change it.

Meanwhile, people like Jamal face deportation to places like Uganda, where the media and politicians are conspiring in an attempt to create a society where murder of LGBT people is not only tolerated but accepted in law. UK society has a moral duty to oppose such barbaric policies, and offering sanctuary to LGBT Ugandans is part of that duty.

Jamal's solicitors insist that he has a right to protection under the Refugee Convention, AND under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Jamal risks his life if returned to Uganda because of his sexuality; the United Kingdom government has an obligation under the 1951 Refugee Convention to protect Jamal from serious harm.

Jamal has lived in this country for 14 years and 8 months. He has no family to go to in Uganda after being away for that long. He should be allowed to remain here under Article 8 of the Human Rights.

We all have a moral duty to do whatever we can to show solidarity with Jamal, and to pressure the UK government to accept their legal duty to offer sanctuary. Please act now.

What can you do to help?

Support Jamal's campaign to release him from detention and to allow him to stay safely in the UK.

Click here for sample model letter

1) Write to the Home Secretary

Use the model letter, adapt it, or write your own, but please always include Home Office Ref - S1319898

Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF

Fax: 020 7035 4745


Please let NCADC know of any action you take on behalf of Jamal

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