Deportations to Uganda of two UK lesbians troubling for global gay rights advocate Omar Kuddus
Gay Star News has been informed by GayAsylumUK that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has confirmed that two of the Yarl’s Wood Five have had their deportation orders issued and their flights booked to Uganda for their return on Thursday 20th September and Saturday 22nd September respectively.
Esther Sarah Nakyejwe (Home Office Ref: N1056934) is due for deportation back to Uganda on Thursday 20th September, on Flight no KQ101 (Kenya Airways) at 8pm from Terminal 4 at Heathrow.
Esther is a 43 year old Ugandan woman who came to the UK as a student in 2001, to join her sister and nieces and nephews in the UK. She incurred endless problems trying to sort out her visa with conflicting information being received from the home office , which continued until this year when she was given one weeks’ notice return back to Uganda.
Esther has been working for the NHS for the past 10 years as a health care assistant at various hospitals in London (Whipps Cross, Princess Alexander, and Newham) and had established a life and a home in England. She states that “she has nothing to return to in Uganda”.
Freda Nsumba is a Ugandan lesbian who faces persecution, arrest and abuse in Uganda if she is returned.
The UKBA has issued her with a ticket for Saturday 22nd September 2012 on Qatar Airways for her return to Uganda.
Her deportation is to be instigated by Flight QR76 & QR536 to Entebbe, Uganda – via Doha, Qatar at 16.00hrs on 22 September to Arrive in Entebbe at 12.55hrs on the 23 Sept.
GayAsylumUK was told by Freda that “I feel like[I] am being treated like a criminal; I feel like my sexual orientation is being assessed like a condition or sickness like it is a matter of debate”
"I have been detained for almost three months now and in my second week of detention, I was bullied and threatened by my former roommate whom I did report to the staff but nothing major was done, furthermore me and several other lesbians have had various homophobic attacks whilst in detention”
“I am not happy and I feel that I am facing the same problems that I have been running away from all my life, I have never been accepted and this is what am facing now.”
LGBT’s in Uganda have virtually no protections at all and both male and female homosexual activity is illegal. Prior to 2000, only male homosexuality was criminalized, but then under the Penal Code Amendment (Gender References) Act 2000 all references to "any male" was changed to "any person" so that lesbianism was criminalized as well.
A poll conducted in 2010, in the wake of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill, revealed that 11% of Ugandans viewed homosexuality as being morally acceptable.
In June GSN reported that Uganda’s Catholic bishops were calling for the revival of the notorious ‘kill the gays’ bill, despite previously opposing it. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for the execution of gays in the African country, was effectively shelved last year by the government, following sustained pressure from international donor countries
The Yarl’s Wood group has now grown from the initial two to five and now to 25 members. The women are growing not just in numbers but in strength and it is their action inside Yarl’s Wood. they not only support each other but learning from each other’s experience and discussing legal and campaigning tactics they have been able to fight against their deportation and have a singular voice.
Combined in their common goals they have been able to stay strong, petition for their deportation to be stopped and ask their supporters to demand that the airlines do not fly these women.
The relevant airlines can be contacted and opinions voiced regarding concerns of the deportation:
Qatar Airways: Phone 0208 846 8380, Fax 0161 838 5398
Kenya Airways: Phone Tel: 020 8283 1800, Fax 020 8283 1880
It is via public support that victories to date have been achieved and Alice Nji deportation stopped until 16th October when the UKBA is again going to try and deport her to Cameroon, for the sixth time on a commensal flight, Virgin Atlantic
Movement for Justice has a petition to END DETENTION, STOP THE DEPORTATIONS that can be accessed here:
Karen Doyle told GSN "It is not surprising that lesbian women have led the way in detention for a fight for all women; the truth is, that the oppression, abuse and persecution that lesbian women face is shared by so many women in detention who have also faced rape, forced marriage, being attacked by mobs, female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
In countries where LGBT people face persecution, women in general also face abuse and persecution with either the blessing of the authorities and/or little to no protection from the state. We stand with all those women of Yarls Wood and demand an end to detention and deportations. The women of Yarls Wood must be freed!"