MPs call on Home Secretary to protect Ugandan and Nigerian LGBT asylum seekers

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Twenty seven MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to protect asylum seekers fleeing homophobic persecution in Uganda and Nigeria.

The motion, proposed by Naomi Long, the Alliance Party MP for Belfast East, warns that Uganda and Nigeria’s decision to strengthen their laws against same-sex sexual activity has greatly impacted on the lives of LGBT citizens.

‘Repeat offenders’ of same-sex sexual activity can face life imprisonment in Uganda and Nigeria. 

The motion calls on the UK Government to make concerted efforts to contribute to the promotion of LGBT rights in both countries and for concern to be expressed that LGBT Ugandans and Nigerians “are being beaten by mobs, arrested by authorities and subjected to torture by those in power at detention facilities”.

Britain’s commitments, enshrined by European law, to protect those fleeing homophobic persecution are also mentioned in the motion. It goes on to warn “that the government has done nothing to end practices that discriminate against LGBTQ asylum seekers and prejudice their cases through demands that they prove they are gay and demeans the ordeals they go through”.

A direct appeal is made to Home Secretary Theresa May “to provide safe resettlement to present and future cases of LGBTQ asylum seekers from Uganda and Nigeria, recognising their political status and the serious threat to their safety, wellbeing and life.”

A protest is due to take place outside the Home Office on Friday for a lesbian asylum seeker who is due to be deported to Uganda this weekend.

The Home Office has come under renewed criticism over its policy on processing LGBT asylum claims.

Yesterday, the High Court ruled that fast track detention, a system used to process the vast majority of LGBT asylum cases, was “unlawful”.

Decisions to deport are often made before a claimant’s legal appeal has been fully exhausted.

Mr Justice Ouseley said the system carries an “unacceptably high risk of unfairness.”

On Thursday, the Home Office once again rejected claims of deporting LGBT asylum seekers.

Conservative minister Baroness Susan Williams recently admitted that the UK Government did not know how many asylum claims from Uganda were made on the basis of sexual orientation.

A review of UK LGBT asylum policy by Sir John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, will be published this month.