Grink to firstname.lastname@example.org
Help yourselves. If this reminds you strongly of a blog entry I wrote in January, that's because it's depressingly similar.
Dear Home Secretary
I am horrified to see the news that once again, UKBA have decided to return a gay woman, Betty Tibikawa, to Uganda. She has scarring on her legs consistent with her account of having been branded as punishment for her sexuality. UKBA, with their customary logic, have refused her asylum.
Uganda is not a safe place for LGBT people or those who are perceived as LGBT. In January this year, only five months ago, David Kato was beaten to death in his home, after being pictured in a tabloid paper under the headline “Hang Them!” in an article calling for the murder of homosexuals. David Bahati, a prominent Ugandan MP, has been campaigning for an anti-homosexuality bill. Whilst it didn’t pass, it did foment public opinion and government condemnation of homosexuality.
If you google for Ms. Tibikawa’s name, you will find ten pages of hits, all of which describe her as a lesbian.
At that stage, it doesn’t matter where she is on the Kinsey scale. She is perceived to be a lesbian and as such will be at risk.
So UKBA are returning a Ugandan lesbian - at the very least a perceived lesbian - to a country which wants to introduce the death penalty for homosexuality, where the tabloids call for lynching (with "no regrets"), only a few months after a gay rights activist is murdered.
Any claimed commitment by your government to human rights cannot sound even slightly credible when Uganda's murderous homophobes have what amounts to tacit support from you.
When UKBA say they do not believe claimants are gay, they bolster Bahati's ludicrous claims that Ugandans are never homosexual, or if they are, that it is a "learned behaviour" that can be unlearned.
When representatives of our state say that homophobic attack is not a ground for asylum, they tell hatemongering tabloids that homophobic attacks are not that serious.
If you allow this removal to go ahead, you hand Bahati and his allies a powerful tool of silent support.
Commitment to LGBT rights (or any human rights) doesn't begin and end at home. It's also how we treat asylum seekers, and the messages we send to oppressive governments.
As the Home Secretary and the Minister for Equalities, you have a unique power. If you intervene to stop this removal, not only do you prevent one woman from being abused and tortured as she clearly has been in the past, but also to prevent more people from suffering in the same way, by indicating to governments abroad that this is not behaviour the UK supports.
Please intervene to stop this removal and to grant Ms. Tibikawa asylum.
- Another Ugandan lesbian facing removal