NUS activist who was forced to ‘prove’ his sexuality granted asylum

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A member of the NUS Black Students’ Campaign Committee who was brought before a hearing on his asylum in the UK, and asked to “prove” his sexuality, has been granted asylum.

Serigne Tacko Mbengue, an asylum seeker who was forced to flee his home country of Senegal after being tortured, arrived in the UK several years ago, but spent 18 months in detention centres, and has fought deportation since.

The Home Office has now dropped the case, meaning Tacko, as he is known, can stay in the UK.

An appeal hearing against the UK Border Agency’s decision to deport Mr Mbengue, was delayed back in November. 

Antonia Bright, an organiser for Movement for Justice, told the Huffington Post, that she thought the case was “ridiculous”.

“The Home Office didn’t have to give a reason as to why they changed their mind,” she said.

“The Supreme Court is clear if you’re perceived to be gay, you will be in danger. Tacko is publicly out, everyone who knows him personally knows he’s gay. He is well known as an LGBT representative and an open campaigner for LGBT rights.”

Senegal specifically outlaws same-sex sexual acts, and regularly prosecutes men accused of homosexuality. Gay men face routine discrimination in society, and sending him back to Senegal could put him in direct risk of serious discrimination and persecution.

Bright continued: “It would be highly dangerous for Tacko to return to his home country. As an open activist he would be known as gay in Senegal.

“It’s an impossible task to prove you’re gay. The Home Office could just keep saying they don’t believe you. He had friends, a family member, former partners, the student movement, testifying for him. What do you have to do to prove your sexuality?”

Facebook event set up to assist Tacko’s fight described this struggle as one not only for LGBT rights in the UK and Senegal, but also for making Britain a place where oppression is fought rather than being condoned or ignored.