Home Office halts deportation of Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The deportation of a lesbian asylum seeker to Uganda has been halted.

A protest over the plight of Aidah Asaba took place yesterday outside the House of Lords.

Campaigners she fled Uganda for Britain in October last year after being abused by her family and community.

The 26-year-old claims to have been forced into an arranged marriage and has received death threats in Uganda.

Sexual Minorities Uganda and the UK-based African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group are both supporting her case.

Ms Asaba was told to prepare for immediate deportation on Saturday 24 May.

But she has now been granted a reprieve pending a review of a new asylum claim.

On Friday it was announced that Ms Asaba had been freed from detention as a result of the Home Office’s decision.

Edwin Sesange, from the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group told PinkNews: “Aidah Asaba’s flight has been cancelled and they are going to release her as they are reviewing their decision.

“We are delighted for the support that the public has given towards saving Aidah Asaba from being sent back to Uganda.

“We also thank the UK Government for agreeing to review their initial decision in light of the new evidence.

“We argue them to grant her a refugee status.”

Human rights groups, MPs and lawyers have frequently documented alleged cases of the Home Office deporting LGBT asylum seekers back to countries such as Uganda where they face violence.

The claims have always been denied by the Home Office.

In March, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a review into the handling of LGBT asylum cases.

Uganda is notorious for its widespread homophobic persecution.

A Ugandan law further criminalising same-sex sexual activity, allowing repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison, was given presidential approval in February.

For the first time lesbians in Uganda are now subject to the law as well.