“UK has been very supportive of the Uganda Gay rights movement and it will be an embarrassment that your office doesn’t live up to its expectations in protecting those that need the protection most from persecution..” Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera.
By Melanie Nathan, December 11, 2014.
Despite appeals and petitions the United Kingdom’s Home Office informed Judith Twikiriz that it will be issuing yet another deportation ticket to Uganda in the coming days. Now the person known as “the founding mother of the Ugandan Gay rights movement” and founder of FARUG, is speaking out to prevent the deportation.
Judith’s first flight out was missed due to renewed efforts with the Home Office , which were subsequently rejected. She has been helped by activists around the world, including Out and Proud Diamond Group in the United Kingdom and Private Courts International in the U.S.A. She is being sent back to the country where she already experienced torture and where she now faces certain persecution.
In an effort to prevent her imminent deportation, one of Uganda’s most famous human rights defenders, award winning lesbian activist, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, has written this crucial plea to the Home Office on Judith’s behalf.
In the letter Kasha alludes to the scathing hypocrisy of the Home Office’s treatment of Ugandan LGBTI asylum seekers, which flies in the face of a recent EU Court of Justice ruling.
Judith’s case was fraught with difficulties, much of which were due to cultural misunderstandings and poor representation, at the outset. The Home Office dismissed a petition that had obtained 1,500 signatures, in mere days. It is hoped that the points raised in Kasha’s letter will serve to stop the deportation, and allow for the matter to be reopened afresh. It is also hoped that Judith will be released from detention forthwith.
TO: Home Office
Home Office Ref No: T3012110
Re: Judith Twikiriz
RE: Lesbian Organisation In Uganda requests urgent intervention in Judith Twikirize deportation.
I am a Ugandan citizen of a sound mind from a renowned Human Rights organization in Uganda, Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) was formed in 2003 the oldest existing Gay rights organization in the country. We have been advocating for lesbians and LGBTI people for the past 11 years.
Over the years, we have been harassed, cajoled, insulted, discriminated against and have been referred to as beasts and on several occasions, have been called inhuman, insane, sick, immoral and not upright thinking members of the society. This persecution is on the increase and at an all time high at this time, as Parliament seeks to bring new legislation as soon as it can.
LGBTI people have been for long suppressed by individuals, families, media, police, churches and by top politicians. This has left many of us victims, homeless, jobless and hopeless.
It has made most of us economically and socially underpowered. There are increased assaults, evictions, firings, and even deaths among the LGBTI people from suicide, resulting from stigmatization and from HIV/AIDS and the like, resulting from discrimination even in healthy issues.
The homophobia is given voice by press, institutionalized by the Penal Code and impending new popular legislation, with mob justice given strength by politicians and religious leaders.
It is with great concern that we note the deportation order for lesbian asylum seeker, Judith Twikirize, Ref No: T3012110 and are writing this to urge the Home Office not to deport Ms. Twikirize back to Uganda.
- We know that Ms. Twikirize is a lesbian and if she is returned to Uganda is likely to be in great danger for the following additional reasons:
- Judith Twikirize is a known lesbian in Uganda, due to prior Red Pepper tabloid outings and recent publicity her asylum case in the UK has received, where she has admitted to being a lesbian – this information will be likely to be used to persecute her in Uganda if returned – this could lead to assaults, blackmail, impossibility to obtain a residence and work;
- A large majority of Parliamentarians, 256, have signed onto a petition to reintroduce a Bill similar to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, presenting onerous prison terms for LGBTI people, especially someone who has admitted internationally to being a lesbian;
- Her admission to being a lesbian and subsequent press reports could be used against her. Here are the widely read international articles, read also in Uganda, where Judith’s name is used, exposing her as a lesbian:Two Examples:
http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/witch-doctor-cut-me-age-10-cure-me-being-lesbian051214 ;http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/12/03/uk-about-to-deport-ugandan-lesbian-defies-new-eu-landmark-ruling/And others, including Pink News, and extensive social media coverage;
As well as a very public petition that received 1,500 plus signatures in just a few days – now widely seen and known in Uganda- https://www.change.org/p/secretary-of-state-hon-theresa-may-mp-urgent-petition-to-stop-ugandan-lesbian-judith-s-deportation?utm_campaign=responsive_friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&recruiter=23462939
- There is currently a strong wave of persecution against LGBTI people in Uganda;
- There are no resources here in Uganda to provide safe shelter where she can hide, food and medical care for Ms. Twikirize, all of which will be necessary for someone who has been outed and will not be able to seek work or find housing, due to the dangers and the new anti-promotion laws which are impending;
- If Ms. Twikirize is returned here she will likely be harassed and possibly harmed upon arrival at the airport. Thereafter there is no place where she can seek safe shelter here in Uganda.
You must be wondering why I am still in Uganda, regarded as the founding mother of the gay rights movement in Uganda as my Wikipedia pages states.
I have built strong security networks around me with very strong relationships with diplomatic missions and International allies because of my human rights work in defending sexual minorities. My visibility and International recognition is my protection which Judith doesn’t have . I am a registered Human rights defender by Frontline Human rights defenders in Dublin, Ireland with ID No 3095.
UK has been very supportive of the Uganda Gay rights movement and it will be an embarrassment that your office doesn’t live up to its expectations in protecting those that need the protection most from persecution. This is the time to show that you are not offering lip-service for PR in media. Judith’s deportation will be a betrayal to the support that you have continued to support those on the ground.
I was at the European Parliament this early December on the invitation of Ms. Ulrike Lunacek discussing on how the EU guidelines can be implemented in our various African countries. The same week was the historical EU Court of justice ruling on LGBT asylum. It is my wish that the UK doesn’t go against this court ruling.
Judith is a very hardworking who will contribute to the development of the UK given an opportunity to live from fear and persecution.
We are humbly requesting, that you reconsider this case for deportation and that you go to whatever lengths possible to ensure that Judith Twikirize is kept safely in the United Kingdom, where she is free to live authentically as a lesbian, and where she will not be subjected to the dangers that she faced and or will face here in Uganda.
Thank you for your kind consideration and urgent attention to rectifying this situation.
I declare that what I have written in this statement is true and I affirm it to be true as if I had sworn under oath in Court.
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera
COPY OF THE LETTER:
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