MSP calls on UK to grant asylum to Ugandans outed by newspaper

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MSP James Dornan is calling on Scotland’s Minister for External Affairs to ensure that the UK Home Office offers asylum to Ugandans outed by the Red Pepper newspaper.

Red Pepper’s list appeared under the headline: “Exposed!” with the line “Uganda’s 200 top homos named” underneath on Tuesday

“The media witch-hunt is back,” tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a prominent Ugandan lesbian activist who appeared on the list.

It also included names and photographs of several Ugandans who previously had never publicly disclosed their sexuality.

James Dornan, the Scottish National Party MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, has written to the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Minister, Humza Yousaf, urging him to ensure that the UK Home Office offers asylum to those Ugandans whose photographs and names were printed in the paper.

The MSP visited Uganda in 2012 with international aid agency, Glasgow the Caring City, to see more about the work that the charity does to support Uganda. He said that whilst he counts himself as a friend of the people of Uganda, he is deeply saddened by the decision of President Yoweri Musevni to approve the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Mr Dornan said: “This legislation has quite rightly provoked outcry from the international community. It seeks to imprison people for no reason other than the fact that they are gay, and it is right that Scotland speaks out against this along with people such as Desmond Tutu.

“I believe that people in Scotland will be outraged at this legislation, and at the horrific reaction of a tabloid newspaper which seeks to promote lynch mob tactics against gay and lesbian people. I’m confident that Scotland will make it clear to the UK Home Office that we are ready and willing to welcome anyone who requires refuge from this nightmare.”

Mr Dornan has also written to Uganda’s Ambassador in London, Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda.

The MSP said: “Scotland has a positive story to tell on LGBT equality, and that is why I have asked the ambassador to meet with me when she is in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games. I do not seek to lecture Uganda. I simply want to put forward Scotland’s story on gay equality and demonstrate the benefits of an inclusive, tolerant and equal society.”

Politicians and campaigners around the world have strongly criticised President Yoweri Musevni for signing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

The law calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

Lesbians are covered by the bill for the first time.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “serious concern” and dismay at the decision.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced his country would be reviewing its relations with Uganda, following President Museveni’s decision.

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton described the move as “draconian”.

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was “an abhorrent backwards step for human rights”.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “deeply saddened and disappointed”. 

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands on Tuesday became the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda. 

The UK Government confirmed to PinkNews that none of its aid goes directly to the Ugandan Government.