Immigration & Refugees
1 min

Another immigration hiccup

BY NOREEN FAGAN – Once again a petition has been launched calling on immigration officials in the United Kingdom to stop the deportation of a gay Ugandan.

This is the third time this year authorities have held the fate of a Ugandan gay in their hands. In January it was Brenda Namigadde and in June, Betty Tibikawa.

Now it is Robert Segwanyi's turn.

Segwanyi’s one-way ticket back to Uganda has been booked; he is scheduled for deportation on Thurs, Aug 18 on a Kenya Airways flight.

According to the immigration judge who denied Segwanyi’s asylum appeal, Uganda poses no threat to gays and lesbians.

That has to be a joke. Uganda has the unfortunate reputation of being one of the most homophobic countries in Africa. Its government is completely intolerant of homosexuality and is infamous for trying to pass what is widely known as “Kill the Gays” bill.

Paul Canning, an avid blogger on LGBT Asylum News, launched the petition on change.org. In three days, slightly more than 2,500 signatures have been collected, and they are still coming.

Canning also started a petition asking Kenya Airways to refuse to fly Segwanyi. He was inspired by Air France pilots who declined to fly another rejected asylum claimant, Joseph Kaute, to Cameroon, where he faced five years in prison for being gay.

Great inspiration, wrong airline. Kenya Airways' response was a simple denial of responsibility.

“Sorry, we cannot do that. The flight has already been booked and we are not the ones who did it. You should be asking those in charge of that case.

One can only assume that the airline cares more about being paid for the seat than protecting human rights.  

Segwanyi’s fate is up to UK immigration authorities. We can only hope that mounting pressure from activists all over the world will make the officials realize that the reason gays apply for asylum is because they fear for their lives in their home countries.

 

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