Aderonke Apata who was told by a judge that she was faking her sexuality has won a 13-year battle to be granted asylum in the UK.
Ms Apata feared being killed or imprisoned if she returned home, but her application for asylum was rejected for a second time in 2015 after the judge said he did not believe she was a lesbian.
In an act of desperation, she sent a private video to the judge as evidence of her sexuality.
The “Asylum for Aderonke” Facebook page has now been updated to say her application had been successful and “she has been granted refugee status”.
Ms Apata has been a prominent gay rights activist, receiving a nomination for an LGBT Role Model Award as well as an Attitude Pride Award for her activism.
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Abbey Kyeyune, a gay Ugandan-born asylum seeker currently living in Manchester, is facing deportation to his place of birth, where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Mr Kyeyune says Home Office officials decided he had failed to sufficiently “prove” his sexuality.
He fled Uganda after his family members discovered that he was having a relationship with another man, and became physically violent towards him. Ugandan authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. He also discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested and detained because of his sexuality.
Updated guidance on LGBT asylum claims was recently published by the Home Office, which forbids “detailed questioning in regard to sexual practices” and requests for “sexually explicit evidence”.
However, Mr Kyeyune’s Home Office interview occurred before this new guidance was in place.
Gay Afghans can be deported to their home country, where homosexuality is illegal and “wholly taboo” and they must pretend to be straight, under new British government guidelines for handling asylum applications which have been denounced by human rights groups.
The guidance puts the Home Office at odds with United Nations guidelines on refugees, which specify that LGBT people should not be required to change or conceal their identity to avoid persecution.
The Home Office declined to comment directly on the new guidelines, saying only that each claim is considered on its individual merits, and in accordance with the UK’s international obligations. “Where someone is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in their country of origin because of their sexuality or gender identity, refuge will be granted,” a spokesperson said.
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Thousands of LGBTQ New Yorkers rallied yesterday in front of the Stonewall Inn against President Donald Trump’s executive orders, a week after Trump issued an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
A judge temporarily blocked the ban on Friday and the government has suspended enforcement of it.
“Let me remind people of why we’re here,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. “The pioneers at Stonewall were alone, but they fought and fought and eventually they won. We are gonna do the same thing!” Schumer led chants of “Dump Trump” from the podium as a rainbow flag waved behind him.
New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman recalled the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, when hundreds of gay New Yorkers rallied for equality in front of the iconic bar. He drew a parallel between the need to stand up for the rights of the marginalized then and now.
“It’s so appropriate that we are at Stonewall today, because we are here to say we stand up to oppression just like our LGBT brothers and sisters stood up to oppression that fateful evening: June 28, 1969,” he said, to cheers.
The number of refugees claiming asylum in Britain because being gay puts them in danger in their own country has increased by 450 per cent in five years.
1,115 people claimed asylum due to their sexuality in 2014 compared with just 200 in 2010. Most of the claimants were from Pakistan, with 748 claiming asylum because of their sexuality between 2007 and 2014.
Conservative MP David Burrowes said its very difficult for the Home Office to confirm the claimants are gay. “It is hard to prove your sexuality and ensure genuine claims are successful.”
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Uganda is one the most intolerant places in the world for homosexual people. Many have fled to neighbouring Kenya and are now refugees, waiting to be relocated to a country that will protect them, reports ABC.
Many of them now live in poverty.
The conditions are not much better than Uganda and it is a tough existence. Some turn to prostitution, others make handicrafts, but living and working in dense settlements means there are very few secrets. It is also dangerous.
Umar Walusimbi escaped from Uganda to Kenya.
“Now I’m also here in Kenya. Life is not OK.” Recently he was attacked while walking home. “They called me, “You gay — where you going? Give us money”. They slapped me, I fell down. They wanted even to burn me. They do everything to me.”
This cannot continue.
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I think this is the first time in 18 years that I have blogged a story from Luxembourg.
Of the gay refugees who do live in Luxembourg safe places, few are open about their sexuality, writes the Luxembourg Wort.
Asylum seeker Mano fled his war-torn home of Syria because of harassment and intolerance over his sexual orientation.
“I always knew I was different. I didn’t know what the difference was or what it was called, but I knew I had a secret to guard,” Mano said, adding: “That was a decade ago. Even in my worst nightmare, I didn’t dream that one day my beautiful country would implode. When I was 15, before I came to terms with my identity, my parents suspected something was ‘wrong’ with me and sent me to a therapist. He told them I was gay.”
Mano said when his family and the community where he lived in Idlib found out, they confirmed his worst fears about prejudice.
“Most of them believed—and probably still do—that gay people like me should be hospitalised, imprisoned and even killed. I felt desperately alone.”
Mano said he was saved by the Internet, where he learned there were other people like him who lived happy, normal lives.
Yes, if only your Activist had had the information freely available now on the internet when he was 14.
Germany’s first shelter for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite and intersex migrants is hidden away on a quiet, leafy road in Berlin, where dozens of migrants are kept under round-the-clock security to protect them from fellow migrants who are hostile to homosexuality.
“I wouldn’t want to be in a shelter with straight refugees,” said Bashar Taha, an ethnic Kurd from northern Iraq. “It’s too dangerous. Many people from the Middle East are very homophobic — people get beaten and even killed.”
Stephan Jakel, a therapist and the centre’s manager, said: “Many of our residents are traumatised.”
Most gay migrants coming to Germany hide their sexuality for fear of being attacked by compatriots, says Jakel. Others face such danger the state of Berlin has decided they are people with “special reception needs”. Shocked by the violence, including stabbings, suffered by gay people at the hands of their compatriots in refugee camps, German authorities initially offered separate accommodation in hotels and private apartments but specifically designed shelters are now preferred.
Security guards, including a veteran of the Berlin nightclub scene, have been chosen with care; only those showing sensitivity to gay issues are accepted.
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Valerie Ediage, pictured, a charity volunteer, claims he faces deportation because he has not done enough to prove he is gay. Mr Ediage arrived in the UK six years ago and said his life would be at risk if he returned to Cameroon. Homosexuals in the country can be jailed for up to five years.
The 30-year-old said he moved to the UK to escape persecution over his sexuality and now lives with his partner, who is also from Cameroon but was granted UK residency. He is awaiting the outcome of his latest asylum application but said he already supplied evidence including intimate photographs with his partner and support letters from gay friends.
Sweden’s justice watchdog has sharply criticised the the way in which a gay Ugandan man was sent home to face possible life imprisonment and even death, even though his case was under review. The man was expelled from Sweden three days after a court had ordered his rejected asylum claim to be reconsidered. Sweden’s Migration Agency neglected to inform the police, and the man was arrested and sent home.
Sweden’s Justice Ombudsman said the case highlighted the poor communication between different agencies, and criticised the responsible officer in the Stockholm Police for failing to check if there were any obstacles to deporting the man. The Migration Court was criticised for failing to inform the police, and the Migration Agency for failing to register the court’s decision on its systems.